When awards of compensation are made, generally, it is an offer made up of 2 separate parts:
Put simply, general damages are a general assessment made by the courts for the overall pain and suffering you or your loved one has been through because of the injury suffered. These assessments are based on guidelines set out in law, which firstly looks at what kind of injury has been suffered, then it takes into account how severe the injury is, and also how long it has taken to recover – if at all. These guidelines serve as a kind of benchmark – but it is still essential for an experienced medical negligence specialist to firstly review medical records and obtain medical evidence before an accurate estimate can be made.
Special damages are essentially paying back any expenses you have already incurred – or are likely to incur in the future, because of the injury suffered. This may include things like any private treatment or equipment that is now needed and it can cover things like loss of earnings due to extended periods of absence- which would not have been the case but for negligent treatment.
During the lifespan of your medical negligence investigation, your solicitor will talk you through how your claim is valued and what types of things come into the valuation of your claim. They may ask you to keep hold of any receipts or documents to help evidence these kinds of expenses for future reference.
The overall aim of compensation is to put an injured person back in the position they would have been in if the negligent treatment or care had not happened. Sometimes of course, when a permanent injury has been caused or when someone sadly has passed away, this cannot always happen. In cases such as these, expert evidence is often required to help look into what kind of losses can be quantified.
When bringing a clinical negligence claim, lawyers must not only assess the strength of the case in legal terms but also consider the potential value of your claim. This is not a straightforward task and but there are guidelines to assist with this.
Compensation, or ‘damages’, is generally split into two parts; Special Damages which include the likes of loss of earnings, care and assistance or funeral expenses and General Damages which are to compensate you for the pain, suffering and loss of amenity experienced.
Assessing General Damages is usually the most difficult, however, lawyers are able to refer to previous case law for examples and also the Judicial College Guidelines. These guidelines, also used by the Courts, detail ranges of compensation for various types of injuries ranging from a broken leg to psychiatric injuries and are a very useful tool to valuing how much compensation a claimant may be entitled to.
If you feel that you may have suffered from clinical negligence and have a claim for compensation, one of our specialist clinical negligence lawyers would be happy to speak with you and advise you on your options. We will talk you through your options, including how to fund a case and the possibility of a no win no fee arrangement (conditional fee agreement or CFA).
Should I sue the NHS?
Understandably the public value the NHS and are very proud of it. At Graystons we share the affection for the NHS however recognise that sometimes mistakes do happen and things can go wrong. Compensation will only be awarded in clinical negligence cases if some damage has been caused by the medical error, however often our clients tell us that they really want to get to the bottom of what has happened as money cannot fully compensate them for their experience.
The NHS has a duty of candour which means that every healthcare professional must be open and honest with patients when something that goes wrong with their treatment and must apologise for the error and any consequence resulting from the error. Our clients often feel the opposite is the case and come to us for the answers and investigations they are seeking as the duty of candour has not been followed.
Graytons believes that by thoroughly investigating a client’s concerns by instructing independent medical experts to look at the issues in their case we can help them understand what has happened. The investigations should hopefully inform the NHS and serve as a red flag for the NHS to help prevent the same or similar errors for another patient. Patient safety is at the heart of what we do as clinical negligence solicitors and resonates with our clients who reiterate that they would not want someone else to have the same experience of medical negligence with lasting, devasting effects as a consequence.
Medical negligence can have a hugely disruptive effect on your life. You may not be able to work as a result of your injuries, or require care from family members, or professional carers. One important concern for victims of medical negligence is how much you can claim in compensation for your injuries.
The amount of compensation or damages that you receive will depend on many factors. No two claims are the same with many different examples of medical negligence. It is not always possible for a medical negligence compensation calculator to be completely accurate at the start of a claim. At Graystons your specialist medical negligence solicitor will thoroughly investigate the care you have received and the injuries you have suffered.
This may mean that you have to be examined by one of our carefully selected independent medical experts. With the benefit of this expertise and by giving careful consideration to medical negligence compensation guidelines, we can value your injury as well as including other financial losses you may have incurred, such as lost earnings, prescription costs and the cost of any future treatment you may require. In addition to considering compensation, at Graystons we understand that it is not always simply about the money. Most of our clients are also looking for an apology, an explanation and reassurance that the poor treatment will not be repeated.
Our specialist medical negligence solicitors can advise you about the different options available to you with the NHS complaints procedures and complaints to the professional disciplinary bodies, such as the General Medical Council (GMC) and Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC). We are happy to consider these options with you whilst striving to get you the compensation needed to rebuild your life.