The majority of medical treatment received in Northern Ireland is of a high standard however there are circumstances whereby the standard slips and mistakes are made.
The Department of Health reported that in the 12 months leading up to April 2019, nearly £30 million was paid out in damages and legal costs for clinical negligence cases.
Negligence can be the result of surgical error, human error, misdiagnosis, failing to properly inform patients, delay, and problems during labour.
To make a medical negligence claim, a claimant must prove that, as a result of the negligence of the healthcare professional, i.e. breach of duty of care owed to them, they have suffered damage and loss.
The burden of proof is on the claimant to establish, which ultimately requires a report from a medical expert to comment that the standard of treatment was below that of which a reasonable body of medics of a similar profession would have or would not have done. Establishing causation i.e. the link between the negligent act or omission and the damage suffered is usually the most complicated barrier to achieving a successful claim.
Fortunately, Thompsons NI is well-rehearsed in instructing experts who can establish this link.
A claim for clinical negligence must be brought within 3 years from the date of knowledge. Certain allowances are made for those who are mentally incapacitated and those under the age of eighteen. It is important to speak with your solicitor immediately to avoid any potential limitation issues and to establish the correct date for when the time should run.
These cases are always ferociously defended, it is therefore important you discuss your case urgently with the clinical negligence experts at Thompsons NI.
We have a wealth of experience in this area of law with Oonagh McClure and Joanne Kerr highly rated by the Legal 500.
In order to establish causation, a liability report will be required from a medical expert. Medical Practitioners in Northern Ireland tend not to comment on the practices of others therefore it is necessary to instruct an expert from outside of the jurisdiction. As a UK-wide firm, we have the advantage of having a large contact list of experts who are tried and tested in providing causation reports.