When you seek medical assistance with a health problem or injury, the last thing that you expect is to end up suffering even more at the hands of your health professional. However, this situation is real for the many people in the UK who become the victim of medical negligence each year. Medical negligence occurs when a doctor misdiagnoses a condition, prescribes the wrong medication, or simply doesn’t take your health concerns seriously, resulting in your condition worsening.
Medical malpractice can also take the form of errors and mistakes during surgical procedures, leading to further complications, pain, and discomfort. If you believe that you have been a victim of medical malpractice, then the good news is that you will likely be able to claim back compensation for what you have been through. Read these top tips on how to get the most from a medical malpractice claim.
Tip #1. Choose the Right Solicitors
When you are taking a doctor, healthcare professional, or even your local NHS trust to court over a medical malpractice dispute, you’ll want to ensure that you have the right people by your side fighting your case. Medical malpractice is a very serious offence, so it’s certain that you will be compensated as long as the court can be convinced that this is what has happened to you.
In some cases, with the right solicitor, you may even be able to come to an out of court settlement, if the healthcare provider knows that there is no way that they are going to come out of the case better off. This can be a much more desirable outcome as it’s less stressful than going to court and usually means that you can receive your compensation earlier to help get things back on track in your life.
Tip #2. Think About Funding
Whilst you’ll likely be able to claim some money, it’s important to think about how you are going to fund any fees, upfront costs and extra charges that are incurred when you hire a medical malpractice solicitor. If you’re put off from making a medical malpractice claim because you are unsure as to how you are going to pay the fees, then the best route to take is to choose a legal representative who works on a ‘no win, no fee’ basis.
Opting for no win no fee medical negligence lawyers will give you the peace of mind that you need since you will only have to worry about paying a fee if you are awarded compensation. Your solicitor will usually take their cut as a set percentage of any compensation that you receive. For more information, you could look at this website for more information, and a free consultation with medical malpractice solicitors.
Tip #3. Gather the Evidence
Another important factor that you’ll need to take into consideration when thinking about filing a medical malpractice claim is the amount of evidence that you have against the doctor or healthcare provider. If you have recently been operated on, for example, and are suffering illness or complications as a result, then a good idea is to keep a photographic or video diary documenting your experience that can later be used in court to support your claim.
Bear in mind that sometimes, you may not get to court straight away and it could be months or even years before you get a court date. By this time, you may have recovered already. So, it’s important to have as much proof as possible of what you have been through. Keep a record of how the medical malpractice has affected your life, for example, if you have been unable to work and continue earning an income as a result.
Tip #4. Consult with a Medical Expert
It’s understandable if your current experience has left you feeling like you distrust most people in the medical profession. However, most medical professionals are honest people who do their utmost to ensure that the patients in their care are treated fairly and not harmed further as a result of treatment.
Speaking to another medical professional about your situation and getting a second opinion from them is an important step when claiming compensation for medical malpractice. Not only will a new doctor be able to help you with the recovery process and potentially even repair any damage done to you physically in the past, you can also ask them to be an expert witness in your case, which can significantly improve your standing in court. Wherever possible, seek out a medical professional who is more highly qualified, or has more years of experience than the one who you saw previously and are now claiming against.
Tip #5. Be Honest
Speaking out about medical malpractice is not always easy, especially if it has left you with problems that are causing distress in your life. However, it’s important to be honest with any medical or legal professionals that you see about your claim. Bear in mind that everything will have to come out in court, so withholding any information from your solicitor, even if you don’t think that it is important, could create doubt during your case and make it more difficult for you to get the compensation that you deserve. One hundred percent honesty and open communication with medical professionals and solicitors is the best policy when it comes to improving your chances of winning the case.
Tip #6. Ensure You are Within the Time Limit
If you received treatment some time ago and have finally come to a decision about making a medical malpractice claim, then you need to ensure that you are still within the time limit. The legal time limit on making a claim is called the limitation deadline, and it is usually set at three years. Since it is a complex area of law, it’s worth getting in touch with a legal professional and asking them for advice if you are hoping to claim for medical malpractice which occurred some time ago. Usually, the three years will begin from the time that negligent advice or treatment was given or the date that you suffered loss.
However, there are some exceptions to these rules and even if your experience was many years ago, you may be able to apply to the court for an extension, so don’t assume your case no longer has merit.
#7. Consider Other Options:
When filing a medical negligence claim, there are often other options available as an alternative to going to court. For example, if you are planning to file a claim against the NHS for medical malpractice, then you may be able to rectify the situation out of court through their complaints department.
Sometimes, the negotiations between yourself and your medical provider can be helped through ‘alternative dispute resolution’. This is certainly worth considering, as going to court without at least both parties having discussed the idea could lead to additional legal costs. Alternative dispute resolution, such as mediation, is a process that allows both parties to come to an agreement outside of court without the expenses and delays that come with a court hearing.
If you found these tips helpful, we’d love to hear from you! Leave your feedback in the comments below.