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Thinking of Making A Medical Negligence Claim? Here's What You Need To Know

June 15, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 173

Over the past decade or so, some media commentators have claimed that our society has developed a 'compensation culture', and in some ways this is true. Predominantly in the field of accident lawyers, the general public have become more aware of their right to compensation should they fall victim to an accident that prevents from working and ultimately loss of income.

One field in which the public perhaps isn't as well versed, however, is that of medical negligence. Thankfully, medical negligence isn't that common but there are still lots of people who have suffered misdiagnosis, the wrong prescription or a surgical accident that has led to discomfort, a reduction in the quality of their life and, in some extreme cases, death. Here's what you need to know about medical negligence.

Are You A Victim Of Medical Negligence?

If you feel that your life has suffered as a direct result of a medical professional's actions, then the chances are you have been the victim of medical negligence.

Negligence can be many things; a missed illness through misdiagnosis, being prescribed drugs that don't properly treat or even make an illness worse and surgical slip-ups are just a few examples. Proving your quality of life has been reduced through the actions of a medical professional is the key to bringing a case to court, which we will cover next.

What You Need To Bring a Case to Court

There are three requirements for a claimant in a medical negligence case. First of all, you need to actually prove you suffered as a result of a medical professional's actions. Secondly, you need someone to sue. Your immediate thoughts might be the actual professional who treated you, but often this isn't the case. You'll usually be claiming from an NHS Trust or private medical body.

Finally, you need to provide evidence that you actually suffered the injuries your attempting to claim for, usually through medical reports. If all this seems a bit daunting, don't worry; a solicitor specialising in medical cases will usually put this together for you.

Finding A Medical Negligence Solicitor

Given the complex and clinical nature of medical cases, having a specialist medical negligence solicitor on your side is essential. Be on the look out for solicitors with the relevant accreditation, such as membership of the Action Against Medical Accidents Panel, and have a look through their case studies to see if the work they do is right for you.

What To Expect Financially

Bringing a compensation case to court can be expensive, and you'll need to consider how you will cover any costs. Most lawyers offer a no win, no fee deal but this doesn't cover the costs you may have to pay to your opponents should you lose.

Legal Aid (public funding) is available for people who aren't able to fund cases themselves, but be aware that only select solicitors can access this funding. Double check whether your chosen solicitor can beforehand.

You can also get Legal Expenses insurance. Whilst the initial costs seem steep, the safety net it provides against potentially huge legal fees means the benefit of signing up for such a scheme outweighs the negative aspects.

In terms of compensation, this is calculated on a case-to-case basis dependent on the level of your injuries, the level of treatment they required and the costs they placed on you personally. No two cases produce the same results or level of compensation, but your solicitor may give you a guideline amount.

Christopher Joseph Smith is writing on behalf of Pearson Hinchliffe Solicitors, solicitors specialising in medical negligence cases.

Source: EzineArticles
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