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Medical Negligence Claims

We all rely on doctors and other health professionals to take care of us when we need them, but occasionally mistakes are made which can have serious consequences. Being able to recover compensation can help you to deal with the impact and start rebuilding your life.

We are ranked in the Legal 500 as specialists in medical/clinical negligence claims. We have extensive experience supporting people in a wide range of claims including complex cases involving serious birth, brain and spinal injuries.

'Ben Ellis is an excellent solicitor who brings the personal touch to his clientele whilst representing them effectively and with good objective judgment about how to prioritise their best interests.’

‘It is their pragmatic and problem solving approach to litigation that makes Chattertons unique. They are sensible; their advice is sound; and they never lose sight of the end goal: achieving a reasonable settlement for the client.’

We are happy to provide a free initial assessment to discuss potential claims, how we can help, and funding options including 'No Win, No Fee' agreements.

We have successfully represented clients in a wide variety of claims including:

  • Birth and pregnancy-related claims resulting in injuries to the baby and/or mother (including severe hypoxic brain injuries, cerebral palsy, failure to monitor CTG traces, and stillbirths)
  • Cancer misdiagnosis, delayed diagnosis or treatment (including breast, brain, optic nerve, bowel, liver, prostate, gastrointestinal and lung cancers, soft tissue sarcomas, and chemotherapy extravasation injuries)
  • Avoidable deaths/fatalities (including representation at Inquests)
  • Spinal injuries eg cauda equina syndrome and spinal dural fistulae
  • Mistakes during surgery including cardiac surgery and orthopaedics
  • Substandard aftercare including wound and infection management
  • Misdiagnosis or delayed treatment for issues such as kidney disease, ulcerative colitis, TVT mesh, and unnecessary surgery including hysterectomy
  • Total or partial loss of vision
  • Accident and emergency treatment including cardiac arrest, testicular torsion, and missed fractures
  • GP, Urgent Treatment Centre and Community Health care (including misdiagnosis, delayed diagnosis or delayed referrals)
  • Eye injuries (including retinal detachment and laser or lens replacement surgery)
  • Medication and pharmaceutical errors
  • Substandard respite and nursing home care including pressure sores/ulcers

We handle claims arising from both NHS and private treatment.

Medical or clinical negligence claims are complex and you should always seek advice from a specialist solicitor before starting a claim. There are strict time limits, so you should speak to a solicitor as soon as possible to ensure you have the best chance of making a successful claim.

Clients often ask us…

Clients often ask us…


What counts as medical negligence?

All members of the medical profession – including doctors, nurses and dentists – have a legal duty to ensure their patients are treated with appropriate skill and care. To bring a successful claim, you must prove that the medical professionals involved in your case behaved in a way no other reasonably competent medical professionals would. We also need to prove that you suffered significant harm as a direct result.

Not every case where there is a suboptimal outcome gives rise to a claim – not every health problem can be cured and often there are recognised risks and complications with surgical procedures for example. Proving that a clinical mistake was negligent can be complicated and is key to a successful claim.

Will my claim affect my access to treatment?

This is a common worry, but making a claim should never affect your access to medical treatment.

The claim will usually be against an NHS Trust (and handled by a national body called NHS Resolution) or private healthcare provider, rather than an individual medical professional. In practice, most claims are dealt with by lawyers acting for the defendant.

It would be against the law for a hospital, GP surgery or other healthcare provider to refuse to treat you or your family or to provide a substandard service on the basis that you have made a medical negligence claim.

What can I claim medical negligence compensation for?

There are two broad types of compensation you may be entitled to claim:

  • 'General damages' – compensation for pain, suffering and loss of amenity including the impact on your life. This can include compensation for both physical and psychological injuries.
  • 'Special damages' – compensation for other financial losses or expenses incurred as a direct result of the negligence eg loss of earnings for time off work, private treatment or therapy costs, purchasing specialist aids or equipment, paying for care, the cost of home adaptations or special accommodation, travel expenses to and from medical appointments and so on.

Exactly what you will be entitled to will depend on your particular circumstances and assessing this will be a key part of the claims process.

Does medical negligence compensation affect benefits?

Compensation for medical negligence can often be very substantial, so it can impact means-tested benefits if you do not get the right legal measures in place to avoid this.

To make sure your compensation does not affect your eligibility for means-tested benefits, we can assist you with setting up a personal injury trust. This allows you to use your compensation to meet your needs without affecting benefits.

Can I claim compensation for someone who died due to clinical errors?

Where a loved one has sadly died due to medical negligence, the personal representatives of their estate can pursue a claim on their behalf. You will normally have three years from the date of death to bring a claim. The compensation may include:

  • A fixed statutory bereavement award for close relatives (currently set at £15,120)
  • Funeral expenses
  • Loss of financial dependency e.g. if a partner or children were financially dependent on the deceased
  • Loss of care and services provided by the deceased
  • Compensation for the deceased's pain and suffering

What is the time limit for bringing a clinical negligence claim?

There are strict time limits for medical negligence claims. Generally speaking, court proceedings must be started within 3 years from the date of the mistake or when you first realised that a mistake might have been made, whichever is the later.

This is not always easy to determine. It could be the date when an operation went wrong, or it could be much later when another doctor picks up on a mistake for example. It is always best to seek legal advice as soon as possible so you do not miss the opportunity to bring a claim.

In cases involving children, the 3 year time limit does not start until they turn 18, meaning they will have until their 21st birthday to bring a claim.

If the negligence left someone without sufficient mental capacity to bring a claim (e.g. they were left in a coma) there is no time limit for bringing a claim unless they later regain capacity, in which case the 3 year time limit will run from that point.

If someone dies as a result of the negligence, the time limit is 3 years from the date of death (unless the 3 year time limit had already expired before they died).

The court has the discretion to allow claims to be brought out of time in exceptional circumstances.

How does a "no win, no fee" agreement work?

Provided your claim has reasonable prospects of success (better than 50%), there are two main funding options:

  • Many people already have insurance that will cover legal costs. This type of 'legal expenses insurance' is often included with home insurance policies for example.
  • A Conditional Fee Agreement (commonly known as a 'No Win, No Fee' agreement or CFA for short). This means you pay nothing up front or during the case and we will only charge you if your claim is successful. If you win, we guarantee that you will recover at least 75% of your compensation after all deductions for legal costs.

We can also arrange specialist insurance to cover medical experts’ fees and court fees, and the risk of having to pay your opponent’s legal costs. With this type of insurance, you will not pay a penny if your claim is unsuccessful. The insurance premium is not payable up front and only becomes payable if you win. If you win, the majority of the premium is usually payable by the defendant although the balance is payable by you and will be deducted from your compensation.

Contact our medical negligence solicitors

For a free initial assessment and to find out whether we can offer a Conditional Fee Agreement (commonly known as a 'No Win, No Fee' agreement), please get in touch with your local Chattertons office or use our contact form to request a call back.