When we visit a hospital, or just go to our doctor’s surgery, we expect to be taken care of. After all, those in the care profession have taken an oath to give their patients the highest standards of care, and we all have the right to this kind of attention. Unfortunately, as with any profession, mistakes are sometimes made, and with many healthcare workers under pressure, medical negligence cases can occur. These aren’t just brought against doctors, but could be due to negligence from nurses, carers, mental health workers, or anyone else in the healthcare sector.
What is negligence?
In order to determine whether you’ve got a case for negligence, you would need to see a law professional. However, you may have a case if you:
- Did not receive the care that was expected
- The healthcare worker didn’t use sound professional judgement
- Their actions lead to harm, or contributed to your injuries
- You’ve received physical or mental injuries
- You’ve suffered a loss of earnings or other financial hardship
These can all be tough things to prove, and that’s why it’s important to get a professional opinion as soon as possible, as this will make it easier to gather evidence and get the case started.
When trying to prove liability against a doctor, there are a couple of legal tests that can be undertaken.
The Bolam test states that a doctor or healthcare professional hasn’t been negligent, as long as they used proper and responsible practice, and this is often judged by a panel of their peers. This means your case will be investigated thoroughly, and you can find out whether anything could have been done to prevent your injuries.
This all seems a little clinical, but it’s important to establish that a doctor’s actions, or lack of them were what caused your injuries, as medical cases can often be complex, and are all very unique.
One of the most important things to do if you think you have suffered due to clinical negligence is to get help and advice as soon as possible. This will make it much easier to get evidence of your injuries, and to get statements while the details are fresh in everyone’s minds. However, this isn’t always practical, and some cases don’t come to light until years after the fact. Getting a professional to handle your case means you have peace of mind that someone is on your side, leaving you to focus on the important task of getting better.
Most people choose to make a claim for negligence as they need closure on their experience. They want to know why things went wrong, and to ensure that it doesn’t happen to other people. That’s why settlements are so important. Although they can’t force a doctor or NHS trust to change their ways, it means that they will be more likely to examine their procedures and to show more care in future cases.
Settlements in negligence cases are usually financial, and will depend on the extent of your injuries, loss of earnings, and whether you need provisions for future care.
If you’ve suffered due to medical negligence in any form, it’s important to consult a legal professional to determine what your options are. Some cases are straightforward, and can be settled quickly, whereas others can take longer and involve submitting evidence. That’s why it’s essential to have someone who is on your side and who is able to explain the process to you. This makes the legal aspect much easier to understand, and means you can get on with your life.