How to Make a Medical Negligence Claim
Making a medical negligence claim can seem complicated and intimidating, but with the right legal advice and support, the process can usually be kept relatively straightforward and stress-free while giving you the best chance of a fair outcome.
Wolferstans medical negligence lawyers have decades of experience handling a wide range of claims with a very strong track record of success for our clients. Our expertise and skilled advocacy, along with a strong focus on non-confrontational dispute resolution, means we regularly secure millions of pounds in compensation for our clients, usually without the need for a court hearing.
Our goal is to make securing medical negligence compensation attainable for everyone who is entitled to it. We offer compassionate but highly practical support through every stage of the process, making sure you are always clear about your options and what to expect next.
We offer a free initial no obligation consultation during which we will be able to tell you if you have a claim that justifies further investigation and talk you through what to expect during the claims process.
To arrange your free no obligation consultation please email ClinNeg@wolferstans.com.
The medical negligence claims process
There are various stages to making a clinical negligence claim. The following provides a breakdown of what to expect during the process:
Initial consultation with our team
During your free, no obligation initial consultation, we will discuss the basic details of your case with you, including what mistakes you believe were made in the medical care you or your loved one received.
At this point we will give you an honest assessment of whether we feel your claim justifies further investigation, then talk you through the next steps involved and the various funding options.
Building your case
We will first need to clearly establish the facts of the case. This will involve various steps, including applying for medical records, taking witness statements and getting medical reports from independent medical experts to establish the extent of your or your loved one’s injuries.
Letter of notification
This is an initial letter to the NHS Trust or other healthcare provider responsible for your care when the alleged medical negligence occurred. This notifies them that you intend to bring a claim and gives them an opportunity to offer an early resolution.
Submitting your claim
This involves sending a letter of claim to the defendant setting out the facts of the case in detail, including exactly what errors we believe were made, the impact on your/your loved one’s health and how much compensation you are seeking.
The Defendant’s response
The Defendant is required to respond within 4 months of receiving your letter of claim. Their response will usually either admit that negligence occurred and offer a settlement or deny that negligence occurred. We will then discuss with you whether you should accept the response or take further action if no settlement is offered or you are unhappy with the level of settlement offered.
Issuing court proceedings
If the matter has not been resolved to your satisfaction by this point, we can initiate court proceedings. We will draft and submit ‘Particulars of Claim’ to the relevant local court and the defendant will have 28 days to respond.
The court will then assign a court hearing date, which will typically be around 18 months from when the Defendant responds to proceedings. However, it is worth bearing in mind that most claims that reach this point will be resolved through a pre-trial settlement, meaning you will rarely actually need to wait for or attend your hearing date.
Pre-trial settlement negotiations
While waiting for the hearing date, we will negotiate with the Defendant and their legal team to try to agree a pre-trial settlement. These negotiations are usually successful, allowing claims to be resolved faster and avoiding the need for you to appear in court.
If a pre-trial settlement cannot be agreed, you will probably need to attend a hearing in front of a judge. We have extensive experience of these hearings, so can ensure your case is presented in the strongest possible way, with no available angle overlooked. With our skilled advocacy, we can give you the best chance of a fair outcome, no matter how your claim progresses.
Find out more about the different types of medical negligence claims we handle.
Funding a medical negligence claim
There are several options for funding medical negligence claims and we will be happy to talk you through each of these and which choice is likely to be most appropriate for your circumstances.
No win, no fee medical negligence claims
We take on many of our clients on a ‘no win, no fee’ basis, also known as a ‘conditional fee agreement’. This means you do not pay any legal fees or expenses when starting a claim and will only need to contribute towards these costs if we secured compensation for you.
Funding a claim with legal expenses insurance
If you have legal expenses insurance, this will often be able to cover some or all of the costs of making a medical negligence claim. This type of insurance is often offered as an optional extra with home insurance, as well as certain bank accounts and credit cards, so it is worth checking whether you have legal expenses cover when considering a claim.
Legal aid-funded claims
Some birth injury claims can qualify for legal aid, meaning the state will cover some or all of the costs of making a claim. There are specific rules around which types of birth injury claims are eligible for legal aid funding, so please look at our funding a medical negligence claim page or speak to a member of our team to find out more.
Time limits for clinical negligence claims
There is usually a 3-year time limit for most types of medical negligence claims, meaning you will usually need to issue Court Proceedings within 3 years of the incident in question occurring. However, there are several exceptions to this that may be relevant depending on the circumstances.
Where there is a delay in identifying medical negligence – This can happen if you only become aware that you suffered an injury that may be because of medical negligence some time later (e.g. when examined by another medical professional). In such cases, the 3-year time limit will normally apply from the time you became aware of the problem.
If the medical negligence happened to a child – The 3-year time limit will only apply once the child turns 18. This means they will have until their 21st birthday to issue Court Proceedings to pursue a claim.
If the injured party lacks mental capacity – If the person injured as a result of medical negligence does not have the capacity to bring a claim themselves (e.g. due to serious brain damage) there is no time limit for someone else to bring a claim for them. If the injured person later regains capacity, the 3-year time limit will normally be counted from the time they regain capacity.
Find out more about medical negligence claims
Our expertise in medical negligence claims
Our team of highly experienced clinical negligence lawyers have been supporting clients with a wide range of compensation claims for decades. Our reputation is built on a strong track record of success in dealing with even the most complex and challenging claims.
We are particularly recognised for our skill in alternative dispute resolution, meaning we are usually able to resolve claims without the need for court action. As a result, we can usually achieve a settlement faster, at lower expense and with minimal stress for you and your loved ones.
Wolferstans is Lexcel accredited by the Law Society, recognising the high standards of our practice management and client care. We are also Law Society accredited for Clinical Negligence as a result of our exceptional strength in this area.
Our team includes members of a wide range of organisations related to their specific expertise in the area of medical negligence, including:
- Headway – the brain injury association
- The Spinal Injuries Association
- The Brain Injury Group
- APIL (Association of Personal Injury Lawyers)
- AvMA (Association Against Medical Accidents)
Specific members of our team have been accredited by the Law Socitey, AvMA and APIL as Clinical Negligence Specialists as well as by APIL, as Brain Injury Specialists.
Find out more about our medical negligence claims team.
Start a medical negligence claim with us today
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Meet the teamSearch
Wolferstans LLP is a limited liability partnership, registered in England and Wales (registered number OC433921) which is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority with number 811913. (Plymstock Office SRA number 819159; Plympton Office SRA number 819160). The SRA’s Standards and Regulations can be viewed here. A list of the members of Wolferstans LLP, and of their professional qualifications, is available for inspection at our registered office: 60/66 North Hill Plymouth Devon PL4 8EP. We use the word `partner` to refer to a member of the LLP or an employee or consultant with equivalent standing and qualifications. Data Protection Register Entry Number ZB009475 with an expiry date of 14 March 2022.VAT Registration Number 144043893.