Can I claim compensation for medical negligence?

Can I claim compensation for medical negligence?

Hello I’m Denise Broomfield, I am a solicitor
at Bonallack and Bishop and today I’m going to talk to you about medical negligence.
“What is medical negligence?” “Medical negligence and clinical negligence
– what’s the difference?” There’s not a great deal of difference, clinical
negligence used to be called medical negligence but it covers all, it covers dentists, and
physiotherapists and other medical practitioners so they just changed it to clinical to cover
all clinicians. “How common is medical negligence?”
Its more common than you’d think actually. I think people are now more aware of their
rights as patients and are more ready to ask questions than they used to be so there are
a greater number of claims. “What is medical negligence?”
It’s where a doctor provides care which isn’t of a reasonable competent standard, it doesn’t
have to be brilliant or top notch, reasonably competent standard and where that failure
of care has actually given that person an injury that they didn’t have before or which
has been made a lot worse by the lack of care. “Is it obvious when medical negligence has
occurred?” It can be, some cases are really straight
forward, for example sometimes a person will have surgery for the wrong parts of the body,
the left arm rather than the right arm, that’s obvious, in other cases its more difficult
to work out whether or not there’s been substantial care or whether the persons just been very
unlucky and had a bad result from a perfectly good operation.
“What kind of claims does medical negligence cover?”
Basically anything, anything medical from having problems with your teeth through to
being rendered paraplegic and spending the rest of your life in a wheel chair. We also
do claims for children, their parents come to us and we act for example, brain injured
babies, so a real mixed bag. “What do I need to prove?”
Well firstly you need to prove that the care that you got was not of a reasonably competent
standard and we do that by getting an independent doctor of the same discipline as medicine
that was relevant to your treatment to say whether or not that was a good standard. And,
secondly and more difficultly you have to prove that the lack of care caused you an
injury and that’s called causation and again an independent doctor will help you sort that
problem out. “Should I make a complaint?”
Making a complaint is a very good place to start initially because some hospitals will
come forward and say sorry, sorry we have this wrong and that makes, making a clinical
negligence claim far more easily. So we generally advise people to make a complaint first
“Will I need to go to court?” The final remedy is for you to go to court,
a lot of cases settle out of court, I think its about 95% of clinical negligence cases
actually settle out of court. If you’re making a claim for a child the court always has to
approve the settlement so you’ll have to go to court if you’re a parent acting on behalf
of a child, but yes you have to be prepared to go to court if it doesn’t settle and if
you’re not prepared to do that then it’s not really worth starting because that’s your
final venue.

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