Guide to Clinical Negligence Claims

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Who are BL Claims Solicitors

BL Claims Solicitors specialise in personal injury, clinical negligence and travel claims, providing our clients with hands-on support, nationally.

We are rated as one of the top firms in the UK and believe in speaking to our clients in jargon-free language and ensuring you're speaking to a highly qualified lawyer right from the outset

Clinical negligence claims arise when incorrect medical treatment is provided. Claims can be complicated and require specialist opinions. A list of typical claims can be found towards the end of the page.

Grounds for a claim

To bring a claim for compensation for clinical negligence, you (the claimant) must show:

  • Breach of duty: the treatment you received was below the standard reasonably expected of the relevant medical speciality and that such treatment would not be supported by a responsible body of practitioners of that specialism;
  • Causation: the breach of duty and the damage or injury complained of were directly caused by the defendant;
  • Damage: damages must be calculated in a form that the court can assess.

Clinical negligence claims require specialist legal knowledge and experience. BL Claims Solicitors has a dedicated and experienced clinical negligence team. We regularly bring claims against defendants and take cases through court proceedings and, if necessary, to trial. Our network of contacts includes doctors and experts who can help to support your claim.

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Compensation

If you are successful in your claim, you recover compensation which is split into two parts:

  1. General damages, which is compensation for pain, suffering and loss of amenity; and
  2. Special damages and future losses, which is compensation for any financial losses that you have incurred and will continue to incur such as expenses, lost earnings or medical expenses, as well as any care you have required.

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Initial steps in making a claim

To decide if you have a clinical negligence claim we will need to obtain and review your medical records and advise you whether we believe that you have sufficient prospects of succeeding with a claim. If there are, we will then write to the person responsible (the Defendant) to notify them that a compensation claim will be made.

We will then instruct an expert of the relevant medical discipline to provide an independent report dealing with the issues of breach of duty and causation.

Protocol letter (letter of claim)

When we have finished initial investigations and provided we still think there are good grounds to bring a claim, we write a formal letter to the party or parties involved in what is known as a 'Protocol Letter of Claim'. This gives details of the claim and the allegations of negligence. It must be sent to the defendant at least four months before you start legal proceedings, to give them time to investigate the incident and respond, either offering to settle, or stating why they will defend the case.

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The next steps

After sending the Letter of Claim, we will instruct an expert to see you and assess your injury and produce a further report on condition and prognosis. Such reports usually take between three to four months to obtain because doctors who do medico-legal work also have other clinical commitments.

When the medical report is available, this is the first opportunity we have to assess compensation. We will produce a schedule of loss dealing with all financial aspects of your claim. At this point we invite the defendant to offer compensation and to pay your costs. If you accept the offer, the claim is brought to an end.

If the other side defend your claim, or they make an inadequate offer or if negotiation is unsuccessful, then legal proceedings may need to be issued. They must generally be started within three years of when the negligence took place.

If your claim reaches this stage, then we will explain the steps involved at that time.

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How long do claims take?

A straightforward clinical negligence claim, where liability is admitted, can take as little as 12 - 18 months to reach settlement. Other cases can often take two to three years or longer to be concluded. It can depend on the availability of medical evidence and whether your condition is stable so that a final determination as to the value of your claim can be made.

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What will it cost?

We are very aware of the financial considerations in bringing a legal claim. In some cases, the cost implications may outweigh the likely compensation and you may decide not to proceed. In cases where the likely compensation will be under £1,000, you cannot proceed with legal advice because, win or lose, the court has no power to order your opponent to pay your legal costs.

We act for clients using Conditional Fee Agreements (CFA), commonly known as 'no win no fee', Legal Expenses Insurance, and some are privately funded cases.

Most children are eligible for legal aid to pursue a claim provided that the prospects of success and valuation of the claim are sufficient to justify proceedings.

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Typical claims

BL Claims Solicitors has many years of experience in dealing with a wide variety of claims, and has an excellent success rate. Some typical claims include:

Birth injury NHS complaints
Bladder and urogenital system injuries Plastic and cosmetic surgery
Bowel injury Poor nursing care
Delay in diagnosis Prescription errors
Negligent surgery Surgical items left in patients following operations
Incorrect interpretation of X-rays and scans Dental negligence
Missed broken bones Testicular tortion
Needlestick injuries Undiagnosed or misdiagnosed illnesses
Nerve damage Wrongful birth and conception

BL Claims Solicitors are here to help

If you would like to talk to someone and discuss a potential claim please call us on 0344 620 6600 anytime between 8am and 6pm Monday to Friday, or if you would prefer you can email us at info@blclaims.co.uk