Claiming Compensation for Medical Neglect
Being in hospital is an extremely stressful thing for anyone to have to go through, but to then discover that you have been treated negligently by your doctor or the hospital staff adds insult to injury. If that negligence then leads to further health complications or even long term illnesses, you have every right to claim compensation.
Claiming compensation for medical negligence is something which is not just for the patient themselves and their family, but also to highlight any worrying issues relating to the care of patients in a particular hospital or by a particular doctor. Claiming compensation can lead to changes in the system and hopefully, to fewer incidents of the same nature happening in the future.
Medical negligence is often referred to as clinical negligence these days. It refers to the process by which a patient takes the medical profession to court for compensation. The patient needs to show that the doctor was negligent when it came to to the care of the patient and that the patient suffered harm as a result.
It must be shown that the medical professional acted in a way that others in the same position would not have - this is called liability. Causation also needs to be shown. This means that the harm was more than 50% likely to have been caused by the doctor or nurse.
Any compensation is worked out based on the loss of current and future earnings, mental problems such as depression and any reduced quality of life which is ongoing.
The Bolam Test
This test for liability is based on a landmark case and is used as the basis for working out if a doctor was to blame for the injury caused. This means that doctors are judged by the standards available at the time the injury was caused. If this standard procedure has been accepted as being normal, even if it is proved to be harmful, the doctor cannot be prosecuted. Doctors are therefore judged by their peers and not a higher authority.
The area of law surrounding medical injuries claims states that claims must be brought within three years of when the injury occurred or when the claimant realised they could claim compensation for their injuries. There are some caveats to this and they are laid out in the Limitation Act 1980.
Funding a case
These days it is very difficult to get legal aid for a claim of clinical negligence and it is more likely to be paid for by a conditional agreement with a solicitor. This means that the solicitor agrees to only receive payment if they win the case. In most cases any legal fees will be sought from the losing party, substantially increasing the amount they are expected to pay.
Your health is by far the most important factor when it comes to living a happy and fulfilled life. Therefore it is important to ensure you are properly compensation if you are a victim of medical negligence. You may be doing other patients a favour by bringing your case to the attention of the hospital involved.
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