The Process For Claiming Medical Negligence — What Happens?
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If you suspect that you may have been a victim of medical or clinical negligence, your first step should be to speak to a specialist solicitor and explain your case. He or she will then be able to look at the specifics and advise as to whether or not you may have a case to put forward.

If your solicitor thinks there is a case to be argued, information will be obtained through the NHS complaints procedure in order to determine who the appropriate defendant would be. It is important that the case is brought against the doctor or medical specialist who was negligent towards you or your family member. Often, it will be the case that the potential defendant will be the health authority or NHS Trust which was responsible for your treatment.

Once the defendants have been contacted and informed that you intend to claim medical negligence, they are given three months to respond and explain their side of the story and are invited to settle out of court. It is at this point that your medical records are also requested. A medical expert will be contacted and used to help judge the claim and provide evidence or proof that your doctor or nurse was negligent in their care towards you, providing a medical report which can be used in court.

Although county courts are increasingly being used to hear such cases, it is generally still preferred that negligence cases are heard at the High Court as they have more experience in dealing with such claims. Court forms must be served on the defendant within four months, and defence solicitors may seek to slow down the process in order to delay proceedings. It will often be prudent to go to mediation before the court case is heard, but this process can be costly — around £3,000 a day.

If the case goes to court, you will first be asked to take an oath or affirmation. This will be followed by the examination in chief, in which your barrister will question you in order to explain our case. The subsequent cross-examination is done by the defence, in order to probe your case further. This is where you need to keep to the facts and avoid being undermined by the defence barrister. Even after the judgement, it is possible that an appeals process may be initiated and any financial compensation could take some time to come to fruition. However, you can rest safe in the knowledge that justice has been done. If you feel you need medical negligence compensation, get in touch with Bonallack and Bishop.


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