When Medical Treatment Goes Wrong

Clinical Negligence Article

01 December, 2011

The standard of medical treatment in this country is largely very good, but on occasion you may not be satisfied with your treatment, and there are different forms of redress.

The first is through the complaints procedure, and the second is a claim for negligence against the treatment provider for compensation. The aim of compensation is to put the affected person back in the position they would have been had the negligence not occurred. A successful claim would result in an award for pain suffering and loss of amenity, loss of earnings and other expenses. Compensation is awarded according to the extent of the loss caused by the negligence. As an example, you go to hospital and they negligently fail to spot appendicitis. That causes complications. You would have required an operation in any event, but the compensation ought to reflect the additional harm.

Factors such as age, your job, life expectancy, the potential need for future care, therapy and treatment, travel, medical expenses, aids and equipment and other foreseeable expenses, can be included in a calculation. Compensation is tailored to the individual.

If negligence results in death, damages can then be recovered on behalf of those qualifying people who come within a restricted category permitted by the law, and on behalf of the estate. The amount claimed will depend on the life expectancy of the deceased and whether they would have survived in the absence of the negligence. There may be a claim for dependency on behalf of a partner, or children reliant upon the earnings, and services as a wife, husband or mother, and for loss of pension, funeral expenses, and an award for bereavement.

Where the future is uncertain we are guided by medical opinion to predict what the future holds. A risk of developing epilepsy would result in a possible claim for "provisional" damages which would allow the case to be re-opened if the condition developed within a given time scale. A further operation with additional recovery time off work and care might fall into this category.

At Forbes our skilled team of solicitors aim to maximise the damages that you are entitled to and help you understand the process and timescales. Highlighting a problem draws attention to it and prevents the negligence from being repeated.

We have extensive experience of handling a wide range of clinical negligence cases and are one of only a few law firms in the North West with a Legal Services Commission Clinical Negligence Franchise.

We are happy to assess sensitively any query that you may have and offer a free initial consultation where funding options can be considered.

For further information and advice please email Leonie Millard or call 01254 872111.

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