It should be stated that most medical professionals do a fantastic job and work hard in a difficult situation.
Mistakes can happen and sometimes even the best professionals can make a mistake under pressure.
What is not acceptable is medical negligence and if you feel this has occurred you may be able to make a medical negligence claim.
What is medical negligence?
In simple terms this is when a medical professional fails to meet professional standards, often resulting in the worsening of conditions and, in the most extreme circumstances, even death.
Examples of negligent behaviour could include:
- Unnecessary delays, sometimes caused by miscommunication, which can often result in conditions getting worse
- Not providing treatment when required
- Providing the wrong kind of treatment
- Misdiagnosis which can then result in the wrong kind of treatment
There are four basic elements to prove in order to support a claim of medical negligence:
- The medical professional failed to live up to the expected level of care of the patient.
- A medical professional failed to conform to standards.
- The negligence results in injury.
- Proof of damage. It needs to be shown that the negligence led directly to someone being injured or, in the most extreme cases, dying.
It needs to be emphasised that making a mistake alone is not enough to make a claim. It has to be proven that this mistake was as the result of negligent behaviour and that this directly led to someone’s condition getting worse.
How do you prove medical negligence?
It can be difficult to prove the difference between something that occurred as a result of a natural complication and what occurred due to someone making a mistake.
However an independent opinion and medical records can make it easier to differentiate between the two.
If the case is strong enough it can often be settled without the need to take the claim to court.
What are the time limits for making a medical negligence claim?
Claims can be made three years after an incident occurred or three years after you become aware that an incident may have occurred. There are some exceptions to this rule, for example if the case involves children or adults with mental difficulties.
Why you should contact Accident Advice Helpline
Medical negligence can be difficult to prove and claims can be quite complicated. Therefore it is important you talk with someone who can go through the details of a claim with you and clarify whether or not you should pursue it.
Our helpline is open 24 hours a day so there is always someone to talk to. Don’t delay, contact us today to find out if you can make a claim and get the compensation you could be owed.
Date Published: October 18, 2013
Author: David Brown