Beneath the Jargon – We Put Medical Negligence Claims in Plain English

27th August 2013

Claimant A good place to start! This is the person making the claim. In medical negligence cases Fletchers Solicitors only ever represents you, the claimant.

Defendant This is the individual, company, or other legal entity such as an NHS trust against which your medical negligence claim is made.

Litigation We use it so frequently, but this term simply describes the process of taking legal action through the court system.

Negligence Quite simply this refers to whatever has gone wrong. In a medical negligence case, this means the duty of care owed to you by a healthcare professional has been breached, and that this has caused you some harm.

Compensation A term you may already be familiar with, this refers to money which may be awarded to the claimant should they win their case. This includes money for injury, but also for lost earnings and other out-of-pocket expenses.

Compensation is not always awarded, however in most instances this is what your solicitor will be fighting for on your behalf.

Causation This describes the relation between the defence’s actions or breach of duty and the claimant’s injury or suffering.

It is one thing to show that something has gone wrong, but a claimant also needs to prove that this caused them harm. Your solicitor will fight to prove this link.

Breach of Duty If your care falls below a reasonable standard, the healthcare professional is in breach of his or her duty to you.

Burden of Proof If you are making a personal injury claim, the ‘burden of proof’ lies with you. This means simply that it is up to you – or your solicitor – to prove the case you are claiming, offering evidence to support your claim.

In a medical negligence claim, this includes having an independent doctor review the situation and your medical records to produce their own report.

Expert Witness This is an expert in a particular field who is asked to give an opinion in a court case. They can be appointed by the claimant, defendant or by both.

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Further Reading…

Is there a fear of litigation?

21st June 2018

Today the Health Secretary, Mr Jeremy Hunt, has spoken out on BBC Radio 4 in relation to the hundreds of deaths at Gosport War Memorial Hospital.

Breast screen error could have been found earlier

25th May 2018

Professor Peter Sasieni is the Deputy Director of the Centre for Cancer Prevention at Queen Mary University of London has written an open letter to the Lancet expressing concerns that the error with regards to breast cancer screening patients age 60-70 may have extended as far back as 2004/5 rather than just 2009.

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