Your Five Point Guide to Suing the NHS
Whilst medical negligence claims can be very difficult to succeed with, the legal system has protection in place for you to ensure that your rights are protected. Your opinion and evidence will be used against the expert opinion of the treatment providers, often the NHS, but to help you you will also use your medical notes and the evidence of an expert consultant. Therefore, at no point will you left on your own to fight the NHS. Perhaps the most important point is that if you take no action and the NHS were negligent, the same negligent treatment may be provided again and again in the future.
Medical negligence can occur during a variety of different treatments, from episiotomy to failed vasectomys or sterilisations, through to failure to diagnose a medical condition such as cancer, or by misdiagnosing a condition. Medical negligence can also include being prescribed the wrong medication or failure to obtain proper consent to the treatment to be provided.
Whatever the nature of the medical negligence that you believe you may have become a victim of, take these five important steps to see if you can make a claim for compensation and Sue the NHS.
The first step is to raise your concerns with your medical treatment provider. Making a formal complaint to them will start the wheels in motion. They will outline the procedure to you and explain the nature and extent of the investigation that they will carry out to determine whether medical negligence has occurred. Make a note of any discussions and ensure that any response you receive is also received in writing.
2. Medical Records
Ensure that you ask for a full set of your medical records. These can be vital in assessing whether negligence has occurred. You have a legal right to obtain your medical records, although a nominal charge can be made. However, this should not be the case if you have just NHS Medical Mice received medical treatment.
3. Find A Good Medical Negligence Solicitor
The next stage is to find an expert medical negligence solicitor to help you investigate the claim. They will have expertise in this area of the law and will know the right questions to ask. There are a variety of funding methods available from legal aid to no win no fee agreements, and initial enquiries should be completely free of charge. They will review your medical notes and obtain a report from an expert medical consultant.
4. Time Limits
You must be aware that there are strict time limitations attached to medical negligence claims. The standard rule is that you have three years from the date of the negligent treatment or failure to treat to start a claim against the NHS. However, this time limit can change depending on the circumstances, for example if you only find out about the negligence when something happens to you sometime later. Also, if you are not of full mental capacity at the time of the negligence (such as under 18), your time limit does not start to run until you have full capacity. The safest way of ensuring you remain within the time limit is to obtain early and urgent legal advice from a specialist medical negligence solicitor.
5. Proving Negligence
To be successful in your claim for medical negligence compensation, you must be able to prove both the negligence, and then that the negligence in question caused the injury or illness in question. The treatment or advice you received can be called negligent if it fell below medically acceptable standards. Causation is the breach of duty or negligence directly resulting in the injury that you have sustained. Your solicitor will establish this for you as proving negligence and causation is very technical.