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GP Medical Negligence: What Can You Do?

June 01, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 184

Throughout your life, the chances are that the medical professional you will deal with most will be your GP. General Practise is a fantastic element of the NHS, and a lot of the time patients can build a warm relationship with their GP, as well as a great degree of trust. Sometimes this trust is so deep that the GP may end up caring for various generations of the same family.

However, GPs work under a great deal of pressure with numerous patients and, unfortunately, this means mistakes can and do happen. Most GP medical negligence claims are due to delayed or misdiagnosis, which can cause serious complications in a patient's treatment or, in the worst cases, death.

With a relationship built on trust and respect, suffering medical negligence at the hands of your GP can have emotional repercussions as well. For some, the idea of trying to claim money because of someone they respect making a mistake can feel like a betrayal, or unethical.

There are two important things to remember if you aren't sure about making a compensation claim for GP medical negligence. The first is that you aren't actually suing your doctor - instead, you're claiming against the NHS. Therefore, any legal action isn't a personal attack on your doctor.

Secondly, it's important to remember that you are the victim in this case, not your doctor. If you or a loved one has suffered from undue stress or extended illness due to your doctor making a mistake, you are entitled to compensation, both monetary and emotional (through apologies and recognition of wrongdoing, etc).

There are three aspects to a medical negligence case. The first is to proving your GP acted in a manner that was unprofessional and caused you harm, be it physical or psychological. The second is to ascertain who you are suing (this will usually be the NHS), whilst the third is proving you actually suffered an injury through medical records.

Finding a good solicitor specialising in medical negligence cases is essential, as they will usually cover all of these aspects for you. The clinical nature of medical negligence cases means that they can become complex for the uninitiated, so finding a solicitor with the right medical credentials who knows what they are talking about and the evidence they require to support your case is really important.

One of the big fears victims of medical negligence have is how they fund their case. Luckily, there are schemes and funding in place to help victims bring their cases to court, even if they feel like their financial situation wouldn't allow for potentially costly legal proceedings.

Legal Aid is available for people unable to afford court proceedings but be aware that not all solicitors are authorised to claim Legal Aid. Another avenue to take is 'no-win, no-fee', in which you don't have to pay your lawyers a fee if you lose. Again, be aware that should you lose, you may be liable for your opponent's fees. Therefore, it's important to make sure you have Legal Expense Insurance, which acts as safety net should you lose your case.

Christopher Joseph Smith is writing on behalf of Pearson Hinchliffe, specialist medical negligence solicitors

Source: EzineArticles
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