So you’ve been the victim of medical negligence. Do you sue the hospital, or do you sue your doctor? While your solicitor will help you work out who is the appropriate defendant, these are some rules of thumb for establishing which party to sue.
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Medical Negligence In A Private Hospital Or Clinic
In most cases when medical negligence occurs in a private hospital or clinic, the doctor involved will not be employed directly by the private hospital or clinic. This means that it will usually be necessary to sue the doctor themselves, as the hospital is not often responsible for the conduct of the doctor.
Any compensation will probably be awarded from the doctor’s insurance, so any impact on the doctor’s financial well-being will be indirect rather than direct.
Medical Negligence In An NHS Hospital
In most cases, an NHS trust will be held responsible for medical negligence that takes place within an NHS hospital.
This is often a relief to potential claimants, as it’s rare that claimants actually want to completely financially ruin a particular doctor or healthcare practitioner. Indeed, often medical negligence arises as a problem caused by systematic errors that need to change. If the purpose of suing is in part to change behaviour, then suing the individual is probably going to be a singularly ineffective method of encouraging change.
Medical Negligence By A General Practitioner
A general practitioner or GP who can be said to have committed an act of medical negligence will usually have to defend their own case, so the defendant of the case will be the GP themselves.
In most cases, the GP will be insured by the Medical Defence Union or the Medical Protection Society, so as with medical negligence in a private hospital or clinic their finances should not be directly affected by the case. In both instances, of course, the doctor will be affected by increased premiums and diminished reputation.
Working Out The Details
It is your solicitor’s job to work out who or what is most appropriate to sue. In some cases, this might require that the case is brought against multiple defendants, as medical evidence can be complicated and consequently working out who is at fault can be hard. Ultimately, though, if you choose a solicitor through 1stClaims you will not need to worry about the details.