How do you sue for medical malpractice?
Medical malpractice is a term generally used in the USA. The terms that we prefer in the UK is that of clinical or medical negligence.
In relation to how the prospective patient goes about making a claim for clinical negligence, first port of call is to contact an experienced solicitor who deals with this kind of work on a regular basis.
The first thing that will need to take place is an interview either on the telephone or face to face, so that you can tell us what has happened, it is important that we get to the bottom of what condition you presented with, how you were treated and what the end result was.
Common types of negligence are an incorrect diagnosis, which can lead to a failure to treat, or failure to follow up or refer to an appropriate specialism, providing an incorrect treatment, an incorrect diagnosis or simply a failure to diagnose completely.
Often we hear stories of very bad administration, for example, appointments not being sent, appointments being cancelled, a huge delay in appointment times leading to further complications and further illness. All of the above amount to a breach of duty on the part of the hospital for which they are liable in law to you the patient, providing they have caused damage. What we mean by damage, simply in a clinical negligence context, the medical condition that you wanted treating has either not been treated at all because of their negligence, or been caused or made worse by their negligence.
Once we have assessed your case we will be in a position to advise you what the next steps are.
This will usually mean us obtaining a full set of your medical records. We will then need to read through the records to see what treatment was offered, what history was obtained and where, if any, the breaches occurred.
Once these records have been obtained, we will then get a short chronology or history from you. At that point it is necessary for us to obtain a screening report. This means that we put your case in front of independent medical practitioners for them to analyse your medical records and your brief statement and they form an early opinion as to whether or not you have the basis of a case.
From that we then write a Letter of Claim on your behalf to the NHS.
It is often necessary for us to have you examined by an appropriate specialist. That specialist will listen to your story, read through your medical records and write a medical report for you, which will allow us to pinpoint the exact breach of duty which has occurred and, thereby, analyse and explain how the NHS were negligent when treating you. We have never lost a case at Trial and we are habitually successful in negotiations. That’s not to say that all cases are winnable and we will give you honest, straightforward advice from day one. We believe that if your case is winnable, we will win it. If your case in unwinnable, sometimes we still win it.