Clinical Negligence Claims Or Medical Negligence Claims – Which Defini…

Clinical Negligence Claims Or Medical Negligence Claims – Which Defini…

So you suffer at the hands of a medical specialized, and you start researching for information about what has happened to you. As you trawl by medical and legal websites you come across information about medical negligence and clinical negligence. You are told that you can make a clinical negligence claim on one website, and on another that you must make a claim for medical negligence compensation. All you want to know is what has happened and how can you put it right and make sure it does not happen again to anyone else.

Let me help you by confirming that the actual description does not matter to you.

You can call it clinical negligence or medical negligence.

Everyone in the profession, whether a solicitor or a medical expert, will understand what you are talking about.

Historically claims of this kind were always referred to as medical negligence claims, but I believe when Lord Woolf introduced reforms to the legal claims course of action, the terminology was changed to clinical negligence. What matters to you though is that you can call it by whichever name is easier for you to remember. For the remainder of this article, I will stick with clinical negligence.

What Is Clinical Negligence?

A basic description of clinical negligence is that a medical specialized has given you treatment (or failed to do so when he or she should have) and that treatment (or without of it) was below the standard expected, that it caused you injury, and that it was foreseeable that it would cause you injury. That was supposed to be a simple legal description, but it is easier said than done. Put very basically, you could say that the definition is that a medical specialized has treated you badly and you have suffered as a consequence.

So What Do You Do Next?

If you think that you are the victim of clinical negligence, you need to consider obtaining legal advice and making a complaint. Initially, you should always seek an expert legal opinion. Your clinical negligence solicitor can then guide you by the complaints procedure.

Making A Complaint

The first complaint to be made is to the medical profession responsible for your care if you are nevertheless in hospital. You must explain that you are making a formal complaint and that you would like a detailed response. If you are nevertheless not happy with the response you receive, the next stage is to complain to the Hospital’s Complaints Manager.

If you have already left hospital, you should send a letter to the Hospital Complaints Manager. An appointment may be made for you to meet with the Consultant responsible for treating you to discuss the situation in more detail. This is called Local Resolution.

Time Limits

You should make a formal complaint to the hospital within 12 weeks of the treatment or without of it. When you have made your complaint the hospital should respond in writing within 20 working days.

If you are nevertheless not satisfied with the response from the hospital, the next stage is to request a referral for an Independent specialized Review within 28 days of the end of the Local Resolution. This is carried out by two or three independent consultants. They will conduct a review of the treatment provided, including obtaining evidence from any witnesses in addition as from you and the medical professionals involved in the treatment. They will also review your medical notes.

The other way to complain is to go direct to the NHS Ombudsman. This must be done within one year from the date of treatment or the date you became aware of the possible negligent treatment. This is not a guaranteed method of having your claim dealt with, however, as the Ombudsman looks at  very few situations yearly and will only probe those situations that have gone by the NHS complaints procedure.

If you can persuade the Ombudsman to probe the case then a team of officers will examine the evidence and interview all staff involved in your treatment. They will also acquire independent reports on the medical care provided.

What Next?

You should ask a specialist clinical negligence solicitor to review your possible claim to see whether you can take the matter forward. As advised, it is worth doing this before you go by the complaints procedure. You will be able to acquire a free initial opinion from a solicitor.

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