A patient’s-eye view of a medical negligence claim

10th May 2013

Here, we take pause to view the ins and outs of a medical negligence claim from the claimant’s perspective, and identify useful tips which may help you to manage the process for yourself:

When things go wrong
In the course of medical treatment, as elsewhere in life, it’s normal to want to seek out the guilty party when things go wrong. Naturally you will want to know who is responsible. Contacting a specialist solicitor from the outset will help you with this process. They will spend time taking in your version of events, as well as those of your friends and family, and any other parties involved, with a view to not only determine who or what might be held to account, but also to understand what happened in your case so that it may be remedied and avoided in the future.

A second opinion
Medical or clinical negligence refers to the breach of a legal duty of care owed to you by a healthcare professional, which results in harm. When pursuing a claim of medical negligence, your solicitor will seek an independent medical opinion to best assess your individual circumstances and health, to determine exactly what harm has been caused. This expert medical view can give you the explanation you truly deserve.

Your solicitor can also help you gain access to your medical records and other supporting evidence, exploring every angle to help evaluate and establish your case.

Your health
If you are making a claim of medical negligence, it’s likely that your health has already been impeded upon in some way. Whether the harm imposed upon you has been physical or emotional, or even a combination of the two, the last thing you need is further strain. For Fletchers Solicitors, a client’s safety and wellbeing are of the utmost importance at all times. The team are well-versed in representing people who have suffered medical negligence, and are mindful of your welfare. This is, after all, exactly what they are defending.

Paperwork
Yes, there will be some paperwork, but this need not be a headache. Keep a copy of things you feel may be relevant to your case, like medical bills and correspondence with doctors and institutions. Your solicitor will help initiate legal proceedings with a formal complaint, and can act on your behalf to mitigate communications with the relevant parties, limiting any work on your part.

If your case goes to trial
Every medical negligence claim is different. It is often necessary to instigate court proceedings against the defending party, but this does not mean that you will have to go to court and very few cases reach a final trial. In the event an agreement to settle your case cannot be made, your claim will be listed for trial.

In court, a judge will hear from relevant medical experts and witnesses from each party, to decide if your claim is upheld. A judge will also determine any compensation owing to you if the claim succeeds.

Remember that legal claims take time, so it’s important to have a close working relationship with a law firm you trust.

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