Medical negligence cases are more common than we may think and can have far reaching effects. If you feel you’ve been the victim of medical neglect and want to resort to legal action, it’s essential that you know the various stages of a medical negligence court proceedings.
In this article, we’re going to give you the five main stages of a medical negligence claim and an explanation of each. We’ll also explain where legal experts are involved and how these steps affect the client.
The first stage to any medical negligence case is submitting your claim and having it assessed. You must contact a solicitor to make a claim, and they’ll perform an initial assessment and fill out the necessary paperwork for your legal claim. You can start this process by calling The Medical Negligence Experts patient claim line, the details of which you can find at https://www.the-medical-negligence-experts.co.uk/common-questions/patient-claimline/.
Don’t try to file a claim yourself to save money, since it reduces the odds of winning any kind of settlement. You can speed up this stage by collecting as many records, both medical and financial, as possible before contacting an attorney.
Funding for the case can come from several sources. Your solicitor may be paid from public funding via legal aid, paid privately, come from legal expense insurance, trade union funding or as part of a conditional fee agreement. The conditional fee agreement is also called the no win no fee structure. In the last case, if the lawyer doesn’t win your case, then you don’t pay, but if they win your case, they receive part of the settlement as payment. This is the most common form of remuneration for most cases, and is the most beneficial for you as well. The only caveat with this form is that your lawyer may be more or less motivated to work on your case till the end if they feel the payoff may not be worth it. We’ll touch more on that later.
Your lawyer will collect all of the pertinent medical information and review it. Further tests may be ordered to verify the claims or the severity of the injuries and their impact on your life. For example, they’ll determine if there are special damages for long term medical care and loss of earnings that should be awarded in addition to general damages.
If the solicitor considers that you have a good chance of winning the case, they’ll send a letter of claim to your opponent. In a medical malpractice case, that will be the doctor, the hospital, the lab or the medical facility that is to blame. And yes, you can sue the NHS for medical negligence, which is actually very common.
This is why it is absolutely essential that you document everything from the time the negligence happened all through the process. Hospital records, prescriptions and all other pertinent documents should be filed and ready. Working with a solicitor will also allow you to access some crucial documents that may be safeguarded by the healthcare service provider.
A settlement is often the fourth and final stage of a medical negligence case. In fact, most medical negligence cases are settled before going to trial. This stage may take some time as each side requests second and third expert opinions, performs interviews and challenges the other. However, this is far faster than going to court and is often cheaper for the other side than going to court and losing.
However, be wary of solicitors who want to expedite the process or worry more about closing as many cases as possible since they may be interested in the size of the settlement more than anything else. In some cases, they might not see your case as important to them and will try to get it over with as soon as possible. Pick a solicitor that is known for great results with all types of claims and who will fight for you no matter what.
If your opponent doesn’t settle, then the final stage of the claim is when it goes to court. Going to court is common if one side denies responsibility for the injury, where multiple groups are potentially liable and they disagree with the severity of the injury and the requested settlement. A court case will usually decide whether the opponent is liable or not and determine the amount of compensation due. If this happens, the total timeframe from when you call the patient claim line to resolving the case is 18 to 24 months. In rare cases, a second trial is set to determine the compensation, separate from the liability.
The first stage of a medical negligence claim is submitting your claim to an attorney. They’ll perform an initial assessment and work out a funding arrangement. Then the serious investigation begins. Based on their findings, the medical negligence solicitor will offer a settlement to the opponent. In many cases, the settlement is the fourth and final stage of the claim. If the settlement is rejected, then it goes to court.