Suing The NHS

Medical Negligence Compensation From The NHS

Suing The NHS

Fortunately, when most people visit hospital they receive a high standard of care and medical treatment from highly qualified individuals. The majority of the time, a positive outcome can be achieved from a stay in hospital. However, this is not always the case. On some occasions patients suffer complications, or completely 'new' injuries or illnesses due to negligence within the NHS. Read on to find out when and how you can claim for compensation if you experienced medical negligence within the NHS.

When Can You Claim For Medical Negligene?

There are many ways in which medical professionals can act negligently in the way they treat you and if you have been the victim of any sort of medical negligence then you are entitled to make a claim for medical negligence compensation.

They include operations being performed incorrectly, delays and misjudgements during childbirth leading to injury or illness to the mother or newborn baby, brain injuries due to lack of oxygen, dental injuries, misdiagnosis of serious illnesses (such as cancer), failed vasectomies and failed sterilisations. If the victim can prove that the medical professional treating them acted negligently then they may be able to make a claim for compensation.

Our expert 1stClaims solicitors have vast experience in the following types of medical negligence matters:

  • Incorrect diagnosis of a serious injury or illness;
  • Failure to diagnose a serious injury or illness, such as cancer;
  • Injuries caused to a mother or newborn baby due to negligent actions of the medical profession during labour;
  • Incorrect or inadequate medication being prescribed leading to complications;
  • Brain injuries resulting from negligent acts or omissions on the part of the medical professionals;
  • A delay in treatment being administered leading to the injury or illness becoming aggravated.

The areas listed above are just a few examples of the types of medical negligence claims that our solicitors have successfully dealt with claims against the NHS. If your claim type does not appear, you can be sure that they have dealt with one very similar to it and will be able to help you too.

Have you been experienced Medical Negligence?

NHS negligence occurs when a member of the medical profession acts in a way which is negligent and causes further injury or illness to the patient. NHS negligence can include both actions (i.e. performing an operation incorrectly) and inactions or omissions (such as failing to follow up a procedure which the correct medication).

To establish whether NHS negligence has occurred you have to meet certain tests. These are:

  • Establishing a duty of care (i.e. the NHS to look after you whilst in their care)
  • If you have been under the care of the NHS the duty of care is easily established. When you enter the care of the NHS they have a duty to look after you as you are completely under their care.

  • Breach of that duty of care towards you (i.e. the medical negligence)
  • Once you have established a duty of care, before you can sue the NHS you must prove that this duty has been breached. Without going into too much of the lengthy legal duty the doctor, consultant or nurse must do an act that breaches this duty (e.g. amputation of a wrong limb or a negligent operation causing more injury) or failing to take action (such as C Diff where the failure is to keep the hospital clear from superbugs).

  • The breach of duty caused your injury/illness (i.e. causation)
  • Often the hardest part of a clinical negligence claim is proving that the breach of duty 'caused' the injury sustained by the patient. If you can prove that the act or failed action caused the injury then you have established the basis for a claim and you should be able to sue the NHS.

What are the Costs?

1stClaims does not charge you for using our service and all initial enquiries with our Solicitors are also free of charge, so rest assured, this initial step of making an enquiry will not cost you anything.

Once one of our Solicitors has assessed the merits of your enquiry they will make a judgement on the likely chances of bringing a successful claim and if the prospects are good, they will normally offer to take your case on a No Win No Fee basis. NOTE: If your case is successful your Solicitor will deduct up to a maximum of 25% of your final settlement or compensation award as payment for their fees. You can find out more about No Win No Fee arrangements and the potential costs that can be incurred by clicking here.

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Time Limit For Claiming Compensation?

NHS negligence claims should generally made within three years of the incident occurring. However, it is often the case that the three year time limit starts to run from the date upon which the cause of the illness or injury can be identified as the negligent act or omission of the treating medical professional. As much evidence and information as possible should be gathered together (such as medical notes, x-rays, records of telephone calls and consultations) to increase the chances of pursuing a successful NHS negligence claim.

Whenever you think the NHS were negligent, please contact us now, without delay, to ensure that you do not miss a crucial time limit. All calls are free of charge and we will be able to explain your legal rights and what action you can take. Once you have this information to hand, you can then make an informed choice about whether you want to sue the NHS.

Simply call us on 0800 2888 693 (or from a mobile click to call: 01348 630 720) or complete our Enquiry Form to be advised of your options.

Can We Help You?

Our solicitors are specialists in pursuing NHS claims and have a vast amount of experience in successfully representing claimants who have been the victim of all types of medical negligence.  At 1stClaims we offer you a free, no obligation discussion with one of our medical negligence solicitors. Simply call us on 0800 2888 693 (or from a mobile click to call: 01348 630 720) or complete our Medical Negligence Solicitors enquiry form to be advised of your options.

Click medical negligence to return to our homepage.

We are here to help you from 8am to 8pm Monday to Friday,
8.30am to 6pm on Saturday and 9am to 6pm on Sundays.

Further Reading

How To Claim Compensation

If you feel that you have been subject to medical negligence, there are five important steps you can take to redress the situation.

  1. If you are still in hospital, confront the medical staff directly and if necessary file a formal complaint. This will set the wheels in motion and the use of a formal complaint procedure also provides a useful way of obtaining further information about the procedure or treatment. Any discussions should be noted and whenever possible, request that any responses to questions you have asked be put in writing.
  2. Request that all medical records be handed over to you. This is a patient’s right and can help to prove if vital information has not been taken into consideration by the medical staff when deciding on your course of treatment. You may have to pay a small charge for the medical notes.
  3. Engage the services of a professional clinical or medical negligence solicitor. This is essential to take your claim to the next stage. Medical negligence solicitors are highly skilled in dealing with medical claims, which can be extremely complicated. They also have access to experts who will be able to give you second opinions on the original treatment regime.
  4. Be aware that medical negligence claims have a time limitation in the UK of three years. You must commence your legal claim within three years from when the incident occurred or when you first realised you had suffered an injury. It is advisable to take specialist legal advice as soon as possible. In the case of children the three-year limit does not apply until their eighteenth birthday, so they have until they are twenty-one before commencing a legal claim. If the claim involves a patient who is not running their own affairs because of a mental disability, the three year rule does not apply until (and unless) they get over their disability. The simple way to discover whether you can make a claim is to ask one our solicitors by completing the enquiry form - follow the link at the bottom of this form.
  5. For you to be successful in your legal claim you have to be able to prove both negligence and causation. Negligence is defined as the care you received falling below medically acceptable standards and causation is the breach of duty or negligence of the clinician, which directly results in an injury to you. As part of the initial investigations, your solicitor will require a supportive opinion from an independent medical expert on your case. They will base their opinion on your medical records, your statement about what has happened to you and any other documents supporting your case.

Following an assessment of your case your solicitor will be able to give you a more informed opinion about the level of compensation you might expect if your case is successful. They will take into account certain social security benefits you get because of your injury (such as Income Support) as this could affect how much compensation you will receive.

How Long Does A Claim Take?

Each case of medical negligence is completely different and the length of time a case will take to settle will vary from case to case depending on the specific circumstances.  For more information on the factors involved in determining the length of a claim click here

An important factor in how long your claim against the NHS may take to settle is how severely you have been injured or how long you have been ill. The more serious the injury or illness the longer it is likely to take to settle your claim. This is because your solicitor is unlikely to advise you to settle your claim until you have either fully recovered from your injury or illness or have a firm prognosis in place. You will be examined by one or more independent medical experts who will assess your injuries and prepare a report detailing their findings and commenting on the cause.

Another factor to take into account is how complex your case is. If the matter is straightforward and it is clear that a particular act of negligence has caused your injury or illness then your claim is likely to be capable of being settled sooner than if medical investigations need to be carried out into the likely cause of your injury or illness.

Finally, the issue of liability will play a part in determining how long your case will take to settle. For example, if the medical professional responsible for causing your injury or illness admits that they acted negligently then your claim is likely to settle quicker than if there is a prolonged dispute between the parties about whether any negligence has taken place and, if so, whether it has contributed to your illness or injuries.

The Moral Dilemma

If you believe you have suffered at the hands of a negligent doctor or medical consultant, should you sue the NHS? What will happen to the doctor concerned, and will you cause The NHS to lose out financially? We take a look at these key points:

  • Will The Doctor Or Consultant Lose Their Job?
  • If you have established the basis for a claim for medical negligence, often the next moral dilemma is whether you will cause the doctor or consultant to lose their job. In almost all situations this is very unlikely. This will only happen if the person concerned has committed the same act of negligence several times, or if the negligence is so serious that they have seriously endangered life. In both these circumstances, you could be saving someone else from going through the same pain and difficulties that you experienced.

  • Will The NHS Suffer Financially?
  • The NHS provides its own insurance and so ultimately The NHS will have to pay any compensation that you are awarded for successfully suing The NHS. However, they put aside money for these claims each year, thereby building a pot of funds to settle claims. Ideally they will improve their practices over the years so that they can put less money into this 'insurance' pot.
    Suing The NHS is a difficult to decision to make. However, if you have suffered and will continue to do so, you may have a legal right to sue the NHS and recover the compensation that you need to improve your own medical condition.


There are many, many different circumstances of medical negligence which lead to the victim making a claim for compensation. If you think you have been the victim of NHS medical negligence you should contact an NHS solicitor as soon as possible. You should gather up as much evidence you can which supports your claim of medical negligence. This could include a documented account, in your own words, of events leading up to the alleged negligence - and the event itself, records of telephone conversations and consultations, copies of medical notes and copies of x-rays.

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