Clinical Negligence

Clinical negligence claims can often be very complex.
BLB specialise in these claims and have a dedicated department which stands ready to deliver a first class service to all its clients. In addition to the legal issues there are also emotional and practical difficulties to address. BLB understand how clinical negligence impacts not just on the victim but also their families as well and adopts a no nonsense approach to getting you the help that you need.

If you have suffered harm as the result of substandard medical or dental treatment, then you may be entitled to compensation. David Gazzard has 20 years’ experience of assisting the victims of clinical negligence and rebuilding their lives. We handle a wide range of claims from cancer claims to birth injury claims.

BLB Solicitors offer a free consultation for victims of clinical negligence. Home or hospital visits can be arranged. Call us on 01793 615011 or send us some details so that we can assess your case at no cost to you.

About Your Claim

As soon as you contact us about your claim we will arrange either a hospital or home visit to take some instructions on the harm you have suffered and to carefully explain each step of the process.

Thereafter we will commence a thorough investigation and apply for copies of your medical records with a view to establishing as quickly as possible whether there is any evidence of negligence. Sometimes we may need to employ the services of one or more independent medical experts to help us.

Once we have established the facts and are satisfied that your case has reasonable prospects of success we will draft a protocol Letter of Claim for you and send it to the health provider thereby starting the claims process.

First Steps

Often one of the first things we will talk to you about is making a complaint under the NHS Grievance Procedures.  This has a dual purpose; it can get answers to some of the many questions you may have about the treatment you received and an apology (when appropriate) from the healthcare provider.

At BLB we always ensure that we fully understand the impact the clinical negligence has had on your life and other members of your family and do everything possible to recover enough compensation to cover all of your future needs.  Consequently we will want to take a detailed statement from you and obtain copies of your medical records, x-rays and scans.  Thereafter we may seek an expert opinion on your case to give your claim the best chance of success.  For some people the thought of having to go to Court is not something they wish to contemplate.  Fortunately this happens in only a small number of cases as the vast majority of the claims BLB deal with settle amicably.  If your case does have to go to Court we will ensure that you receive the best advice every step of the way and are represented by specialist barristers.

Fault & Causative Harm

Breach of duty or fault

This is often measured by reference to the Bolam Test.  Put simply, it means that for the type of treatment you received the care fell below the standard to be expected of a reasonably competent and skilful specialist.  At a practical level, this is often the first issue to be tackled by your clinical negligence lawyer once the outcome of any complaint is known and copies of your medical records have been obtained.  Often the help of an independent medical expert is recommended and at BLB we can arrange to obtain a report for you.

Causative loss or harm

For a claim to be successful you need to show that the negligent care caused you loss or harm.  There must be no break in the chain of causation.  In other words any pre-existing or underlying conditions have to be ruled out.  Again, it may be necessary to instruct an independent medical expert to advise on causation as well as your condition and prognosis.

Time Limits

The Limitation Act 1980 imposes a three year time limit for pursuing a claim for clinical negligence.  This is usually three years from the date on which you became aware that you had suffered harm as a consequence of your medical treatment.  Different time limits apply to children (who have until their 21st birthday to commence proceedings) and people who are unable to manage their legal affairs because of mental incapacity.  In some circumstances the Courts may allow a claim to be pursued beyond the usual time limit when, for example, the date of knowledge (of harm suffered as a consequence of medical treatment) falls outside the usual three years.  However, you should not assume that the Court will exercise its discretion in your favour and it is therefore crucial to get expert legal advice as quickly as possible so that appropriate steps can be taken to investigate your case and protect your interests.

The Process

At BLB we understand that consulting a lawyer and making a claim may seem daunting.  We will do our best to explain everything to you so that you understand the process and enjoy a stress-free experience.

If you are already using a lawyer but are concerned about the way your case is being handled, you can raise your concerns with your lawyer.  If that doesn’t work you may wish to consider a second opinion from another law firm.

We regularly receive enquiries from clients of other firms who are unhappy with the advice or service received and are always happy to discuss what we can offer so that an informed choice can be made.

The amount of compensation you receive is determined by a number of factors including:-

  • the seriousness of your injury or illness;
  • how it has affected your life (otherwise known as loss of amenity);
  • what financial losses you have suffered or will suffer in the future and
  • whether you will need any help in the future.

As everyone is different and the consequences of the same injury or illness vary from person to person we take great care to assess your individual needs.  In addition to any compensation you may be entitled to for pain and suffering we investigate any psychological consequences and ensure that you receive appropriate treatment or counselling where necessary.  If your capacity for work has been curtailed we will calculate any past or future loss of earnings as well as loss of pension rights etc.  The cost of nursing care, specialist equipment, medical treatment and adaptations or modifications to your home can also be investigated and quantified with the assistance of appropriately qualified experts so as to ensure that we can recover the maximum amount of compensation available to you.

We are able to advise you on the most appropriate settlement and depending on your needs this will either be a “one off” lump sum payment, periodical payments or provisional damages.  Interim payments may also be a possibility if you have immediate needs and your case is likely to take a while to sort out.  This can only happen if your opponent admits negligence.

For many people the receipt of financial compensation is not the “be all and end all”.  On a practical level we are able to help you access the best medical care and rehabilitation.  Sometimes this will involve a case manager, the cost of which can be included in your claim.

As the compensation you receive is designed to meet your immediate and future needs its value can be safeguarded by a compensation protection trust.  Once in place you and/or your partner would be entitled to claim means tested benefits.  At BLB we ensure that you receive the best advice on how to invest your compensation from those appropriately qualified.

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