Bringing a Medical Negligence Claim: How do I start?
We appreciate that for most people, contacting and instructing solicitors is a daunting and scary task. Whilst we aim to make the investigation process as easy and comfortable as possible, we appreciate that it’s easy to get caught up in legal jargon and some of the tough legal concepts, so please find a simple breakdown of the initial stages we walk you through if you think you have a potential medical negligence claim:
- Your first call with us
When you leave us a message on our website, fill out our enquiry form, or call us on our landline directly, we will arrange for you to speak to one of our specialists as soon as possible, certainly within 1 working day. We will not send out an invoice or ask you to pay for this initial call we arrange with you.
We will ask you to talk us through what has happened, and we may ask you some more questions to gather some more information to help us determine whether we think we can help.
We will often ask questions such as –
– Who is the injured person? Has something happened to you or are you calling on behalf of a loved one?
If you’re calling for a family member, we will need to know what your relationship with them is – such as a mum calling on behalf of their young child. If you are calling on behalf of another adult who lives independently and normally manages their own affairs, we will usually need to arrange to speak to them at some point, to make sure they give their permission and make sure that they understand about their own claim. If your loved one has passed away, we will usually ask whether you are their personal representative under Probate or a Will.
It is essential that we confirm who is the correct person to bring the claim at this point.
– Where did this take place? We will need to know about which hospitals/GP Surgeries/Dental Practices/Health Centres are involved.
We need this information so that we can obtain all of the important records at the earliest opportunity to ensure our investigations can run quickly and smoothly.
– When did this happen? There are time limits placed on individuals looking to bring clinical negligence claims, so we may ask you if you can remember dates and times that things happened to try and work out when this deadline may be. It will also help us to build a timeline of events to assist us when considering the medical records and will be the basis for a witness statement.
– Why do you believe there has been negligence? To help us set out our advice and make certain that we are considering the matters that are most important, we will ask you to tell us why you think there may be a potential claim, and we will help breakdown the tests we need to prove, and whether this fits with the requirements the law puts on people looking to bring a claim.
At Graystons, we very much work as a team and this approach is regularly used when considering new cases. The specialist you talk to may want to discuss your enquiry with the wider team before confirming advice to you, in which case they will aim to give you a call back that same day with our advice.
- Our initial advice
We will give you a call back to advise whether we think we are able to assist with your enquiry.
During this call we will explain the process of bringing a claim, what we need to be successful and discuss options for funding:
– Duty of Care
The first test we need to show is that whoever provided care held a legal duty to do so – for doctors, nurses and healthcare professionals, this is taken as standard, so we usually don’t need to look into this in any great detail. We will usually just need to know where your treatment was and/or who provided that treatment.
– Breach of Duty
To bring a medical negligence claim, we need to show that the standard of care that has been provided has fallen below a reasonable standard. It is not enough just to say that we are not happy with the care or treatment and think it could have been done differently, we need to be able to prove, eventually with medical evidence, that the care provided was so poor that a reasonable body of clinicians in that same field of medicine would agree that this should not have happened.
‘Breach of duty’ is not enough to bring a claim, we also need to prove ‘Causation’. By this, we mean to say that as a direct result of that alleged poor care, you or your loved one has gone on to suffer additional harm or damage which could have been avoided if this poor care hadn’t have happened. We have to be able to show that the damage suffered is not just a natural progression of an existing condition or a recognised risk.
Taking into account all of the above, we then need to look at how much it would cost to investigate the claim versus how much the claim is worth in monetary terms. If we investigate and proceed to incurring costs such as having medical records sorted, commission medical expert reports, we need to be able to show to an insurer that the estimated value of a claim would outweigh the anticipated costs of investigating.
If we have considered the above tests and think that there is enough information to move on to the first steps in investigating, we will then discuss the funding options with you, and talk you through the claims process.
Please do give us a call on 0151 645 0055, or contact us via email – email@example.com and we will be happy to talk through any questions you might have.