A Simple Guide to Medical Negligence Claims

When you seek treatment from a medical professional, the last thing you expect is to be harmed as a result. Yet sadly, this is the experience of too many people in the UK each year.

Data published by NHS Resolutions illustrates this fact, showing that there were more than 13,400 new medical negligence claims in financial year 2022/23.

If you’ve suffered an injury as a result of substandard medical treatment, then you could be able to seek compensation to help you get your life back on track. But in order to do this, you need to understand more about what medical negligence is, what the different types are and whether you’re eligible.

We’ll discuss these topics below.

What is medical negligence?

Medical negligence, sometimes also called clinical negligence, is when you receive substandard medical treatment and suffer an injury as a result. The concept of medical negligence hinges on the idea of a ‘duty of care’, so it’s helpful to look at this in more detail.

What is a duty of care?

A duty of care is the responsibility of medical professionals to provide their patients with a reasonable standard of care. This means treating patients in line with best practices and not using any treatments that could foreseeably cause a patient harm.

Different types of medical negligence

Medical negligence can occur in any medical speciality or treatment. However, there are several categories in which clinical negligence most commonly takes place. These include:

  • Anaesthesia – In extreme cases, the improper or careless application of this surgical medicine can result in patients waking up with brain damage.
  • Misdiagnosis – When a condition goes undiagnosed or is diagnosed incorrectly, the consequences for the patient can be severe.
  • Negligent advice – Failing to give patients transparent and comprehensive advice deprives them of the information they need to make informed decisions about their health.
  • Prescription error – Assigning the wrong medication or dosage to a patient can cause grave consequences for the patient.
  • Pregnancy – Maternity negligence can harm both the baby and the mother, changing their lives forever.
  • Surgical negligence – Most surgeries are successful but sometimes mistakes are made, including operating on the wrong body part or leaving foreign objects inside the body.

Are you eligible to make a medical negligence claim?

If you believe that you’ve received substandard treatment from a medical professional and suffered as a result, then you could be able to make a medical negligence claim.

To prove medical negligence, you need to show that:

  • The healthcare professional owed you a duty of care
  • The healthcare professional breached or failed to fulfil their duty of care
  • You were harmed by this failure and have experienced physical, mental and financial damages as a result

If you think you can demonstrate these points, then you could be eligible to make a medical negligence compensation claim. Any settlement you receive could help you recover from the effects of the incident, and help you return to how life was before.