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Frequently asked questions about clinical negligence claims

Every year, thousands of people in Northern Ireland are treated by healthcare professionals. Whilst the majority of cases are fine, mistakes unfortunately can and do happen. When mistakes are made, patients can suffer as a result.

What does the clinical negligence mean?

Medical professionals owe their patients a “duty of care”, which means that they are under a duty to provide treatment of a reasonable standard. Clinical negligence refers to medical treatment, the standard of which has fallen below what ought reasonably to be expected.

How do you prove clinical negligence?

Care, which is less than best practice, may not necessarily be negligent and medical opinion can differ in relation to medical treatment. To successfully prove that treatment has been negligent it is necessary to prove, on the balance of probabilities, that the treatment was not to the level reasonably expected and was not in line with a responsible body of medical opinion.

If you can prove that the treatment received was negligent, you must then also establish that the negligent treatment has led to you sustaining an injury or loss, which you can then be compensated for.

What are the different types of clinical negligence claims?

Clinical negligence compensation claims can cover a wide range of treatment, including:

  • Complications due to errors in medicine
  • A delay in diagnosis or misdiagnosis, which causes the patient to suffer complications or their condition to deteriorate.
  • A failure to warn about the risks of a particular treatment and to advise about other treatment options.
  • Making a mistake during a medical procedure leading to additional pain and suffering or perhaps the need for further corrective surgery.

Claims include but are not limited to brain and head injury claims, cerebral palsy claims, birth injury claims, spinal cord injury claims, fatality claims and scaphoid fracture claims.

Can you claim if you have been treated privately?

A medical professional owes a patient a duty of care, regardless of whether the treatment is provided via the NHS or on a private basis. If the treatment is provided privately, the healthcare professional ought to have indemnity cover in place to cover any potential negligence claim.

What should you do if you have suffered from clinical negligence?

If you have been a victim of clinical negligence, it is important you:

  • Keep an accurate note of appointments and details in relation to treatment.
  • Consider lodging an internal complaint in relation to the treatment received.
  • Consult a specialist solicitor for legal advice. There are time limits for the bringing of claims and you should seek legal advice as soon as possible.

Contact Thompsons NI

Thompsons NI are specialist clinical negligence solicitors with vast experience of pursuing claims for compensation on behalf of victims of medical negligence.

If you feel that you have been harmed, injured, misdiagnosed or undiagnosed as a result of a failing by a medical professional, please contact either Oonagh McClure or Joanne Kerr of our office on 02890 890450 for free, no obligation legal advice or complete an online claim form.