SECURING A FUTURE
FOLLOWING MEDICAL NEGLIGENCE
Leonie Millard of Forbes Solicitors advises on the steps that can be taken to help those who have suffered injury due to medical negligence
Suffering a serious injury can have a huge impact on the individual and their family.
How do you prove a case?
There are two main elements to a claim.
1) You have to establish that the standard of treatment provided has fallen below the standard expected of a reasonably competent doctor dealing with your particular condition. The only way to do this would be to obtain copies of your medical records and ask an expert to comment on the standard of treatment. In other words if you were in a room with a number of doctors practicing in the same area as the doctor you felt was negligent, and you were to ask them what would they have done in your case, if most of them say they would have done the same thing, then that would not be considered negligent. If some would and some wouldn’t that would still not be good enough to prove negligence. Most of them would have to agree the treatment was below standard.
2) If you can establish the treatment was below standard, you then have to show that the poor treatment has caused you extra pain, suffering, loss and damage over and above that which you may have experienced even if you had received the appropriate treatment.
How do you investigate?
If an act or omission by a hospital trust has been identified there ought to be a ‘duty of candour notification’ where there has been significant harm, or the potential to cause significant harm. The aim is to enable learning and increase support.
We take instructions from the client and review the medical records to consider the merit in the case. The next stage is obtaining a written opinion from a medical expert, away from the local area, who will review your medical records and provide their opinion on both of these elements of a claim.
What type of things can you claim for?
That will depend on the nature and extent of the injury. There is potential to claim for help with education, earnings, accommodation, transport, equipment, mobility, therapies and care and assistance with independent living. Compensation is tailored to the individual and assists with providing security and helping with those things that we take for granted, improving quality of life for the whole family.
Compensation is designed to put the person back in the position that they would have been in had the incident not occurred.
How long will it take and do I have to wait until the end for compensation?
How long a case takes to conclude depends on the individual case, the opponent and what happened.
We coordinate a team of medical specialists and barristers to work on your behalf, guiding you every step of the way. The opponent has two options, to accept liability and negotiate compensation, or deny fault. In a strong case we would start the Court process. The majority of cases settle before a trial.
Calculation of a settlement will often rely on several experts to assess value. In a strong case we can seek an interim payment to assist with immediate needs and allow help while the true extent of the damage is investigated. Adequate compensation restores some normality to family life. The right compensation restores confidence and avoids the need to rely on local authority provision where resources are pressured and the future uncertain.
How will the money be paid?
Each case differs, but there is the option to consider a ‘structured settlement’ comprising of a lump sum to accommodate immediate needs and periodical payments for the rest of a client’s life. Periodical payments can represent better provision where it is uncertain how long the injured person will live following the injury. The amount of the periodical payments are calculated in relation to future losses. That is because they represent an ongoing need of the Claimant, for example for care. This provides reassurance to the Claimant and their loved ones that the money will not run out and their ongoing needs will be met. They are also favoured by Defendants as they remove the risk of over-compensation should the individual not survive to their predicted life expectancy. The money is received and used for the benefit of the intended recipient for as long as it is required, thus protecting the public purse.
If the client is an infant or a patient there will be the need for the Court to approve the amount to be accepted. The money is then often invested based on advice, and the money managed by a Deputy. This acts as an extra safeguard. I am able to act as a Professional Deputy to extend continuity and familiarity even after the conclusion of the case, acting in the best interests of the individual.
For further information and advice please contact Leonie Millard 01254 872111 or email: email@example.com