Medical negligence is worth spending the time considering, as it’s something that goes on every day in the United Kingdom. While the odds are good that you’ll go through life without ever falling victim to it, it’s still worth thinking about how to react if you do.
There’s a straightforward legal test to determine whether someone is guilty of medical negligence. They’ll have had to have fallen below the standard of care that a reasonable member of the profession would have provided, and the patient will need to have suffered harm as a result.
Let’s take a look at a few of the ways in which medical negligence might manifest.
If your doctor tells you that there’s nothing wrong when there is something wrong, then they might be culpable, especially if this produces a delay in seeking treatment. There are many conditions where the time it takes to seek treatment has a big impact on long-term prognosis.
Surgery is highly intricate, skilled work. If your surgeon fails to carry it out to the required degree of competence, then not only might the surgery prove unsuccessful, you might be harmed on the operating table. Thankfully, cases of this sort are extremely rare.
Treatment being inadequate
If the treatment prescribed is not adequate to address the condition, then it might not much matter whether the diagnosis was faulty or not. This is often tied to a lack of follow-up examination to check whether the original treatment was effective.
To back your case up in court, a medical negligence solicitor may ask you to bring documents demonstrating that a certain treatment was prescribed or administered on this-or-that date, or that you visited the doctor several times without a diagnosis being actually reached. You will need to also demonstrate that harm was caused, and so documents from other doctors might be beneficial.
A specialist medical negligence solicitor will be able to bring in medical experts to testify as to whether the treatment met the required standard of care. It’s on this testimony that the case can often hinge.
Most medical negligence claims today proceed on what’s called a Conditional Fee Agreement (more commonly known as a no-win, no-fee agreement). This means that you won’t have to pay anything if the case isn’t successful. The onus is therefore placed on the solicitor to weed out the cases which have a low chance of success before they reach court.
It’s only in a very small number of cases that claimants are asked to attend court in person. If this is likely, then your solicitor should let you know, and advise you accordingly.