At WBW we handle a lot of enquiries regarding medical issues which have affected our clients. These range from receiving poor or inadequate service to fundamental negligence cases where a claim needs to be perused. There is a big difference between the two and although we understand how frustrating it can be to have received poor service and be feeling let down by the medical staff attending to you or people close to you unless there is evidence of clinical negligence you should really be seeking to make a complaint rather than making a claim.
If this is the case then you will need to make a complaint to the hospital or care service and follow their complaints procedure. There are often good reasons for doing this like improving clinical practice to reduce the chance of a similar incident happening to other people. Many improvements to services have been made following complaints as health authorities have a chance to evaluate performance and seek to make improvements. Seeking improvements, however honourable, and venting your frustration are no reason to make a clam and should not form the basis of your claim.
The aim of making a claim is to seek financial compensation following a medical procedure or advice which has gone wrong. The purpose of the claim is to help pay for the extra support and care needed as the result of impairment.
Much of the advice you will read will tell you at this stage to consult a solicitor and of course we would agree with that, not just because that’s what we do but statistically you will have a much better chance of succeeding with your claim. At WBW we will help you:
- get access to medical records
- get independent and unbiased expert medical opinions about the causes
- establish whether or not you have a potential claim for negligence and the possibility of an award of compensation
Compensation is awarded to give a person the financial resources to get appropriate support and care and to exercise choice in this provision. We will consider both your ‘general damages’ (pain and suffering) and any ‘special damages’ (financial losses) when considering your claim but remember the amount awarded in general damages is proportionate to the severity of the injury or damage to the claimant’s health – that is, the more serious the injury or effect on their health, the more compensation will be awarded.
By contrast, the amount awarded in special damages depends on how much money the claimant has lost due to the negligent treatment (such as lost earnings and travel expenses). This award is intended to put the claimant in the same position they were in before the harm or injury occurred. The two figures for general and special damages are then added together to form a suggested sum of compensation, which is passed to the defendant for their consideration.
So, complain or claim? If you would like further advice to understand whether you have a case to pursue a claim give one of our specialists a call, we will be happy to help and advise you on the best course of action.