Medical negligence

Medical Negligence Solicitors

Medical negligence encompasses areas like medical misdiagnoses, residential care claims and even fatal accidents.

Making a medical negligence claim can be stressful and complicated which is why our medical negligence lawyers will be by your side offering legal advice and support every step of the way.

South Yorkshire’s professional medical negligence law solicitors

At Foys Solicitors, we help victims of medical negligence with legal advice and support so that they can pursue a claim either against the healthcare provider.

For victims of medical negligence (also referred to as clinical negligence), the effects can be far-ranging; from causing mental health and financial problems to completely changing a person’s life and even proving fatal. If you have been on the receiving end of such negligence, you may find yourself experiencing many of these effects and, as such, have had to take time off work or even quit your job. These detrimental effects have likely gone beyond you; they can also affect your family and their emotional and financial state. Dealing with the impact of medical negligence is never easy.

Fortunately, it is possible for you to claim the compensation that can help you and your family get through the immediate and long-term concerns. The specialist medical negligence solicitors at Foys Solicitors can help individuals and families to gain the financial compensation that they deserve.

The areas in which we can provide advice and representation include:

Gynaecology/Obstetrics/Birth Cases

Becoming a parent should be a wonderful experience, but medical negligence can make the pregnancy and/or birth a nightmare. At Foys, we help parents make claims against negligent gynaecologists and obstetricians who have direct responsibility for problems with the birth, the person who gave birth and the child. This can include (but is not limited to) mismanagement of the pregnancy and the postnatal period; failure to identify a disorder in the reproductive system of the person giving birth; and injuries resulting from the birth. We will offer you legal advice on your options and help you build a case for your claim.

Other hospital cases including orthopaedics and general surgery

Surgery can be complicated and, as such, it requires the highest levels of skill and care to ensure the safety and well-being of the patient. When this skill and care is not present or is lacking, it can cause devastating injuries and can even be fatal. To establish a case for a claim, you need a high standard of evidence and experienced solicitors to guide you through this process – such as the team at Foys. We also advise and support those who have experienced problems with orthopaedic treatment – such as wrong-site surgery, damage to nerves, incorrect prosthesis, delays or a lack of consent.

GP, dental and optical cases

Negligence need not be as a result of surgery – it can also happen in everyday settings such as when visiting your doctor, getting dental treatment and even when you go to the optician. These claims are often a result of misdiagnosis, failure to diagnose a problem, failure to refer a patient on for vital tests, injury during treatment or delays that cause short- and long-term medical complications for the patient.

Claims relating to residential care

Residential care and nursing care homes are safe spaces for people to receive support for a variety of practical, care and medical needs. When negligence does happen that poses a health risk to a resident, the affected person and their family may want to pursue a claim. This can happen as a result of prescription errors, health and safety risks not being addressed, an inadequate provision of practical aids or even through allowing the development of painful pressure sores. Our specialist medical negligence team have experience providing legal support to people of all ages – with a team focused on the Protection of the Elderly. As such, claims relating to residential care are in safe hands at Foys.

Fatal accidents

Clinical negligence concerning a fatal accident is a claim often made by the executors/administrators for beneficiaries of a deceased person’s estate. Such claims are typically made when there has been perceived negligence on the part of medical personnel that has potentially resulted in the death of a family member who was involved in a fatal accident. This may have been as a result of improper treatment at the scene or poor hospital practices and procedures. In such cases, inquests are often held by a coroner to establish the cause of death. It is vital that you consult a medical negligence professional before such an inquest to ascertain what questions need to be asked at the proceedings. A lawyer can be appointed to help ask these questions which could have a bearing on the success of any future compensation claim regarding medical negligence. Our team handles each case with the appropriate sensitivity and professionalism it requires and we will work with your family to navigate through these difficult circumstances to achieve the best outcome possible that is in your interests.

Private cosmetic surgery

Suffering complications during private cosmetic surgery can bring about unwelcome physical side effects and pain as well as emotional distress. Our solicitors at Foys can help advise you on the next steps to take. You may have received sub-par treatment, poor aftercare, inaccurate or omitted information about risks or a defective product may have been used during the procedure. Whatever the case, you can count on us to treat your case with discretion and provide you with the legal advice and support you need to make a claim.

Medical misdiagnosis

gavel and stethoscope on table - medical negligence claimsThere are three types of medical misdiagnosis: total, incorrect, and late. Total misdiagnosis is where an illness or condition has not been diagnosed correctly; incorrect diagnosis results in the wrong treatment or medication being provided; late diagnosis can severely influence ongoing health issues and recovery times. There are a number of factors that can influence the direction that a compensation claim for misdiagnosis takes. The solicitors at Foys will help you navigate these potential issues, handle your case and work to deliver you the maximum compensation possible.

What do you need to claim for compensation?

When it comes to claiming for compensation as a result of medical negligence, having documented evidence is crucial. How this information is accessed is determined by the exact circumstances surrounding your claim but, for the most part, you have the right to access information surrounding your treatment and care – such as your health records. If the claim is on behalf of a loved one, or a deceased person, then this can be more complicated. However, if you have the legal authority (e.g. Lasting Power of Attorney), it should be possible to gain access to this information.

The documented evidence, as well as evidence from your experience, are crucial in demonstrating that medical professionals breached their duty of care through actions not supported by general medical opinion and practice. Additionally, another factor in compensation claims is the financial and health effects this breach has had on you and your family. The financial loss as a result of this negligence (such as lost work, career opportunities, corrective costs, etc.) needs to be considered, as does the long-standing health effects (such as mental distress, ongoing care, rehabilitation, etc.).

What will your compensation include?

If your compensation claim is successful, there are two types of compensation awards offered to you in the form of ‘damages’: general damages and special damages.

General damages

This is compensation related to the direct effects that the negligence has had on you and your life. General damages can include:

  • Physical injury, pain and suffering (e.g. chronic pain, limited mobility, disability, etc.)
  • Mental pain and suffering (e.g. mental health problems, ongoing trauma, worsening of mental illnesses, etc.)
  • A loss in quality of life (e.g. physical and mental challenges affecting everyday life, career opportunities and hobbies)
  • A loss of career (if you had to change careers as a result of your injury, then you are entitled to damages for the loss of your unique career)
  • Employment issues (if you cannot get another job as a result of the negligence)
  • A loss of companionship (if a loved one suffered wrongful death as a result of negligence, you are entitled to make a claim)

Special damages

This is compensation related to any out-of-pocket expenses incurred by a claimant as a result of medical negligence. This can include:

  • Loss of income (e.g. if your salary was cut, you missed out on monetary bonuses or other special perks, etc.)
  • Short-term medical costs (e.g. hospital charges, consultation fees, medication, etc.)
  • Long-term medical costs (e.g. physiotherapy, specialist treatment, mobility aids, etc.)
  • Transportation fees (e.g. car costs, taxi fees, bus or train fares, etc.)
  • Loss of capacity for earning (if you are forced to take a lower-paying job as a result of the negligence, you can also make a special damages claim)

How much compensation will you receive?

Many compensation claims for general damages can be subjective and based around the individual circumstances of a compensation claim. As such, it’s not possible to offer an exact figure of what you should expect in general damages without knowing your case. This is why you should approach a solicitor as soon as possible. Upon hearing the details of your case, they will be able to advise on what you can claim for and what you should reasonably expect to receive. The severity of the negligence and the effects on the person’s life are crucial in determining the exact award for general damages.

Compared to general damages, calculating compensation for special damages is more straightforward as it’s based on the expenses, which are a direct result of the medical negligence.

Foys Solicitors will ensure that you have an idea of your claim’s chance of success, and what you can expect to receive from a successful claim – allowing you to safeguard you and your family’s future better.

How much time do you have to make a claim?

The strict time limits surrounding a compensation claim mean that contacting a legal expert as soon as possible is crucial. The primary time limit for starting any legal proceedings is three years from the date of the alleged negligence but in many other cases for example where the actual diagnosis is not known until many years later, the time limit is three years from the ‘date of knowledge’ (as specified in the Limitation Act 1980). The date of knowledge refers to the day when:

  • You realised you had suffered an injury either totally or partly caused by medical negligence
  • You are able to identify the organisation or person you believe was negligent and responsible for your injury

If your claim is not filed within this period, you may lose the right to receive compensation.

It’s worth noting that if the claimant doesn’t have the knowledge required to bring forth a claim – such as not being aware of there being a loss or not knowing about the Limitation Act – then it is possible (although rare) for the Court to extend the limitation period.

With that said, there are some cases where the limit is extended by default. If the claim relates to a child, then they have until three years after they turn 18 to claim for any medical negligence that occurred while under the age of 18. However, if the family wishes to make the claim earlier than this, then the child will require a ‘Litigation Friend’ to bring forth a claim on the child’s behalf.

Additionally, for a person to have ‘knowledge’, they first must have the ‘mental capacity’ to recognise that they are able to make a claim. For example, if someone has been injured and lacks the capacity to make such a decision, then the limit will not begin until they regain that capacity to make a compensation claim.

How can you benefit from compensation following a medical negligence claim?

Aside from the benefit of receiving compensation to help fill the gap in any loss of earnings that you and your family have incurred as a result of medical negligence, there is also the benefit of feeling that you have obtained justice for either you or a loved one.

There may also be additional needs that you have been left to deal with as a result of the original injury or negligence. These secondary medical issues may require ongoing attention and, of course, money to treat and alleviate. Therefore, a claim can help in the event of:

  • Further injury as a result of negligence (e.g. nerve damage, internal organ injury, etc.)
  • Infections
  • Surgical instruments/material left inside your body
  • The effects of psychological trauma
  • A complicated or prolonged recovery period (often as a result of complications)
  • Inappropriate or inadequate follow-up care
  • Treatment that was incorrect or delayed as a result of misdiagnosis
  • Fatal injury and death

Your compensation claim can make a big difference in you and your family’s lives. It can make up for any lost wages or earnings, allow you to buy otherwise expensive rehabilitation or specialist care, or it can even allow you to alter your home to better suit your needs (if, for example, you have to use a wheelchair now).

Funding for your case

Despite the clear advantages and positives that can come from making a compensation claim, many people can be worried about the financial cost associated with launching any legal action. At Foys, we don’t believe that the size of someone’s bank account should stop them from being able to gain rightful access to compensation that could change their lives for the better.

We offer our clients a FREE initial consultation so that we can get to know them, the details of their case and provide some advice on the next steps that they should take. This will allow us to assess your chances of success and to help you decide on what method of funding would be the best for your situation.

Foys will help you to pursue a medical negligence claim

The frustration, pain and heartbreak that comes from suffering at the hands of medical negligence can be challenging. However, it’s important to take legal action as soon as possible to ensure that any compensation claim has the best chance of succeeding.

No matter the circumstances, our team of qualified, expert solicitors at Foys treat all our clients with equal care and dedication to best ensure the chance of success for any compensation claim. We want your quality of life to improve and compensation can help make this a possibility. We’ll do everything within our power to guide you on this path and to get the maximum amount that you possibly can.

To find out how we can best represent you during a medical negligence compensation case, please call the Foys medical negligence team today.

This page was updated on 23/10/2019.

Please note that although we use the word solicitor, your case could be carried out by a legal advisor, legal executive or paralegal depending on the nature of the case.