Introducing Osbornes Medical Negligence Solicitors London
You may bring a claim for compensation against the NHS Trust responsible for the hospital rather than the individual doctors or a individual doctor if you received substandard medical care from a doctor, nurse, dentist or other medical professional .
Under English law, you can only claim compensation for injuries and associated financial losses if you can show that the proposed Defendant was ‘negligent’ and that this caused loss or damage to you. Negligence means making a mistake, which would not have been made by any reasonably competent professional in the relevant field. If some reasonably competent professional would have done the same thing, the claim will fail.
This means that we need to show that there was a breach of duty by the medical or nursing professional and thereafter and that this breach of duty caused you to suffer injury and losses. There is a test which needs to be met before we can prove breach of duty and we have to obtain copies of your medical records and send these to an independent medical expert who will review the records and advise as to whether or not you have a claim. The expert may also be able to comment on the causal link between your substandard medical care and your injury or we may need another expert if you case is complex.
Making a negligence claim
You can claim compensation for your injuries themselves (called ‘general damages’) and for any financial losses caused by the negligence (called ‘special damages’).
This is compensation for the pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life that resulted from the negligence. Without a medical report on the full effects of your injuries, we cannot estimate the value of that element of the claim. It is always better to have a medical report before agreeing compensation, so that everything is taken into account. Our medical negligence solicitors in London will also need to prepare witness statements from you and if necessary friends and family commenting on your difficulties.
In addition, you may be entitled to compensation for ‘special damages’, which may include medical fees, travel expenses, loss of earnings, care costs, and all other incidental expenses following the negligence.
Sometimes if a claim is disputed, the Defendant will offer reduced compensation as a compromise. If it happens, I will advise you on whether the reduced sum should be accepted, rather than going to Court and risking the possibility of losing.
Time limits on bringing a claim
There is a time limit for pursuing a claim for clinical negligence and this is 3 years from the date of the injury or 3 years from the date that you became aware that your injury was due to another person’s negligence.
Medical negligence claims are subject to strict time limits which if missed, means you could lose the opportunity to pursue your case.
The law governing the limitation period is set out in The Limitation Act 1980. In short, you must issue a Claim Form at Court within three years of the date of negligence or the date you first had knowledge of the negligence, whichever is the later.
Calculating the limitation period is fraught with complications so it is important to take legal advice as soon as possible, should you wish to bring a claim. There are particularly complex rules for assessing the “date of knowledge” of the negligence.
We would recommend you see a solicitor ideally no later than 12-18 months after the incident of negligence to avoid the problems which can be caused by delay and to give your claim the best chance of success.
The claim is recognised by the courts as being brought on the date the Claim Form is received by the Court and not on the date the Court staff issue the Claim Form.
Exceptions to time limit
There are exceptions where the standard 3 year time limit will not run until later, the most common being:
- If the injured person dies before the expiry of the limitation period then the claim is preserved for their Estate under Section 1 of the Law Reform (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1934. The limitation period is then extended to three years from the date of death or the date of the Personal Representative’s knowledge, whichever is the later.
- The limitation period for any claim brought by a child (defined as those under the age of 18) does not begin to run until the date of their 18th birthday which effectively means that they have until their 21st birthday to issue court proceedings.
- Where the person bringing the claim lacks mental capacity, there is no time limit for issuing court proceedings. Assessing capacity is not always straightforward and solicitors have to tread carefully when determining whether their client lacks the capacity to make their own decisions or not.
- The Court has power to exercise its discretion to allow court proceedings to be issued outside of the limitation period, but this is reserved for exceptional cases and there are very specific criteria set by the courts to trigger the Court’s discretion to allow a claim to proceed out of time.
To speak with our medical negligence solicitors, contact us on 0207 485 8811 or fill in our online enquiry form.