Clinical negligence (also known as “medical negligence”) is a legal term referring to the process of claiming financial compensation for physical or mental injuries or negligent mistakes on the part of a medical professional neglect or as a result of lack of proper care. If you, a member of your family or someone you are responsible for, suffer injury or loss as a result of negligent mistakes on the part of doctors, nurses or other medical professionals, it is important for you to take legal advice promptly, if you are to receive compensation.

A clinical negligence lawyer can take a number of vital steps on your behalf. As well as seeking to secure the maximum claim appropriate compensation for you, they may represent you at an Inquest into the death of a relative, try to secure an apology or obtain the answers you need.

Each case is different and the facts will determine the right course of action and decide the advice you are given. Getting professional help as early as possible will maximise your chance of making the right sort of claim against the right person, making it more likely you will get the compensation you are entitled to for your injuries and losses.

Gross negligence

Occasionally, the standard of care provided by doctors and nurses falls so far below the standard regarded as acceptable by others in that field, it amounts to professional misconduct. Happily this is very rare but when it does happen, it may be appropriate for the injured person – or their family – to lodge a formal complaint with the relevant professional body. The General Medical Council may decide to start “Fitness for Practice” proceedings, which could result in a sanction being imposed on the doctor. In the most serious of cases a doctor can be struck off the medical register and prevented from practicing. The instances in which this is appropriate and necessary are exceedingly rare.

Vicarious liability

Doctors, nurses and other professional people sometimes work independently providing privately funded treatment but often they are employed by an NHS Trust. In such cases, the Trust which employs them is generally responsible for their actions – or their failure to act – and has to compensate the patient in relation to his or her injuries and losses. It is clearly important to identify at an early stage whether the correct Defendant is an individual or a Trust.

Contributory negligence

This is a legal term used to describe a situation in which the person who suffers injury is found to be partially to blame for what happened.  An example of this in a clinical negligence case, might be the failure of the injured person to follow a health care provider’s instructions properly. A finding of contributory negligence can lead to the amount of compensation the Claimant receives being reduced to reflect their share of responsibility.

If you believe that you or a member of your family has been injured as a result of clinical negligence, please contact one of our specialist solicitors. You will be offered a free consultation to assess your claim and advise you of your options and we will work with you to achieve your aim. Alternatively, you can drop into one of our free clinics held daily from 10am – 4pm at our Newton Abbott, Exeter and Torquay offices. No appointment is needed.