Medical negligence is more complex than other legal areas, and it is burdened by many myths and misconceptions. This is only compounded by the pain, suffering and literal confusion many victims deal with. Here are nine commonly asked questions about medical malpractice cases. We’ll answer these common questions about medical negligence, and we’ll tell you when you need to seek expert legal advice.
Do I Have to Pay a Lot to File a Medical Negligence Case? What If I Can’t Pay?
Yes, medical negligence lawyers need to be paid. Yes, you may pay them for their time and effort up front. However, this is not the only funding model available.
For example, your trade union may pay the legal fees for your medical negligence case to pay for your medical bills and recovery. If dealing with a child who is suffering from a disability due to medical negligence, charities and legal aid may pay the legal fees so that you can receive the money you’re due for the child’s care. Most medical negligence claims in the UK are paid on a no-win-no-fee basis; medical negligence solicitors are paid a portion of your settlement if you win, while you pay nothing if the case is lost.
Will I Be Facing a Long Court Case?
In general, the answer is no. Fewer than two in a hundred cases go to court if you’re suing the NHS. If you’re suing a private facility or caregiver, you’re still unlikely to go to court, since it is cheaper and easier for both sides to settle. In the rare cases where it does go to court, you’ll have a medical negligence expert by your side handling everything from paperwork to dispositions.
If you file a medical negligence case, it is more likely you’ll be sent for further assessments of your condition than be asked to testify in court.
What Are My Options If I Cannot Get to the Solicitor’s Office?
You shouldn’t let difficulty travelling prevent you from consulting with a legal professional. Your claim can and should include the newly increased costs for travelling because you cannot drive on your own or the need to modify your vehicle to accommodate a wheelchair. And the best medical negligence solicitors will either arrange to visit you at your home or arrange for appropriate transportation to bring you to their office and all necessary assessments.
Should I Wait to File My Medical Negligence Case?
No, you should not wait to file a medical negligence case. For the average victim, you only have three years to file your case. If you wait for things to get better or hope that the issue will be resolved through a series of complaints, you could lose your opportunity to file a case. Conversely, if you sue for compensation now, you’ll receive compensation much sooner. Money to pay your medical bills, offset lost wages and renovate your home to accommodate you makes life so much easier.
What if it has been more than three years? Medical negligence UK law is limited to three years except in a few cases. Before you assume you cannot sue, you should contact a firm like the Medical Negligence Experts to ensure that it’s not too late to claim. These medical negligence solicitors have a convenient contact line which means you should be able to contact an expert quickly.
And know that you can file a medical negligence case even if you’re going through the NHS complaint process.
Will Filing A Medical Negligence Case Hurt My Quality of Care?
Some people are afraid to sue their medical practitioner or facility because they are concerned it will impact their quality of care. For example, they don’t want to sue the hospital that made an error during their last surgery in case it will lead to a denial of care or decreased quality of care if they go back.
Neither hospitals nor individual practitioners are allowed to refuse to treat you because you have brought a claim against them. However, if you are seeking care at the facility, you have the right to request care by a different healthcare provider. You can also ask for a referral to a different healthcare provider.
Who Do I File the Claim Against?
It is possible to file a medical negligence claim against doctors, medical specialists, labs, midwives, medical administrators, and caregivers. You can sue a private healthcare facility and the NHS. You can sue physical therapists for failing to deliver the quality of care that was expected or making mistakes. You can sue counsellors, therapists, opticians and ambulance services.
You can sue the facility even when you don’t know who specifically made the mistake, such as when a surgical item was left inside a patient or several shifts failed to deliver the medication a patient required. You can even sue several different facilities if more than one is at fault. A medical negligence solicitor can help determine the degree to which each party is liable and seek settlements with each.
How Much Is My Claim Worth?
The short answer is that it depends on several factors. This depends on the nature of the injury, with more severe injuries meriting greater compensation. The payout would be higher if it is permanent or a slow, costly recover relative to something you’ve already recovered from. The claim amount should be higher if you have greater losses associated with the injury, whether it is lost wages for a lifetime or extensive out of pocket expenses modifying your home and buying support equipment. You can seek compensation for pain and suffering, and the value is dependent on what you suffered.
Can I File a Claim on Another’s Behalf?
You can file a medical negligence case as a partner of the deceased, of your children or a still living, disabled spouse. Note that a child may be able to file medical negligence claims on their own, if mentally competent, once they reach adulthood, but parents can act now on their behalf. Minor children cannot file a claim, though their parents or guardians could file a medical negligence case on their behalf if it involves the loss of their parent. Such children could file medical negligence cases and seek compensation for the loss of a parent once they reach majority.
Consult with a legal expert if you want to file a medical negligence case on behalf of a disabled family member who may or may not recover their full faculties
What Do I Do If They Give Me an Apology?
An explanation of what happened and an apology may be their way of resolving a complaint or trying to avoid a lawsuit. However, this does not take away your right to sue for compensation if you’ve been a victim of medical negligence. Note that if all you want is a token payment, apology and change of procedures, many medical negligence solicitors are willing to assist you in these cases, too.
Don’t let fears of legal bills, the cost of transportation or anxiety about potential courtroom drama deter you from seeking legal advice. Make sure that you have a solid case on your hand and that you haven’t reached the time limit to file. A solicitor can help you determine what your case is worth and who should be sued.
This is a collaborative post.