Medical negligence

Have you or a member of your family suffered an injury due to mistakes made during medical treatment? Our specialist medical negligence solicitors can advise if you are eligible to make a compensation claim.

We provide specialist services throughout England, south Wales and north Wales – from London to Cardiff, Swansea, Newport, Wrexham, Bangor and more. We have claimed millions in compensation for our clients following injury, illness or death as a result of poor medical treatment.

If you believe you or a family member are a victim of clinical negligence contact our team of lawyers today, for free advice and guidance on pursuing a compensation claim, without obligation. We will represent you on a no win, no fee basis. Further details on this agreement will be given during your free consultation.

Why choose us for your medical negligence claim?

Our solicitors have been top ranked by both the Chambers & Partners and Legal 500 independent legal guides for this area of law. We are the only top ranked firm for medical negligence in Wales and one of the largest practices in the UK. Our lawyers are highly experienced and can provide a wide range of specialist services.

For your convenience we also run regular free legal advice clinics where you can come along and discuss your situation with one of our specialist legal advisors.

These clinics cover a range of areas including medical negligence, a full list of upcoming clinics can be found here.

Follow us on twitter @HJSeriousInjury

Law Society Clinical Negligence logo  avma    apil     

What is medical negligence?

Medical negligence is caused by unacceptable clinical treatment, resulting in unnecessary illness, injury or death. Health care providers have a duty to provide acceptable levels of care and treatment to their patients. Failure to do so may result in a patient being able to bring a compensation claim.

The following will apply to you:

  • The case will require the input of a medical expert, who will examine it and produce a report on the injuries sustained. The report will highlight whether it is justifiable.
  • Due to the high value nature of medical negligence compensation claims, you may be required to attend court if an out of court settlement is not reached.

Our expert solicitors will fully explain the claims process with you during your free consultation.

Fatal clinical treatment

A fatal medical negligence compensation claim will take into account the psychological impact caused  by the death as well as the financial impact to you and your family.

Time limits will apply to your case and it is important that you consider taking action, and contacting a solicitor as soon as possible.

Our top ranking lawyers will investigate your claim for free and may be able to secure an interim payment before your case is settled.

Making a compensation claim

The process can be lengthy, especially in high value cases. It will require detailed medical evidence so that your claim can be defined to both the solicitors representing you and the lawyers defending the case. This evidence will be provided by experts, who will need to examine you as well as the circumstances that led to the injury. The process may also require you to attend court if an early settlement is not reached.

Employing the services of an appropriate solicitor is key to this  process. Many lawyers will claim to be experts in this field, and will genuinely try to assist you, however they may not have the necessary expertise to get you the maximum amount of compensation. When looking for a medical negligence solicitor you should research their literature for relevant accreditations and, if necessary, make contact with them to ask for case examples.

If you live in England or Wales you should not limit your search for a solicitor to your local area. Any firm based within your jurisdiction can help. You won’t need to travel for meetings as your solicitor will travel to you, and will conduct the majority of your case via your preferred method of communication.

Our team is top ranked for their work in this area of law and are accredited by AVMA, APIL and The Law Society. We are also listed by Scope as medical negligence experts. Our solicitors provide free advice and guidance whilst investigating your claim and can organise free home visits when necessary.

Medical negligence claim time limits

Personal injury and illness cases are subject to time limits. It is best to contact a solicitor as early as possible to ensure your case can be dealt with.

Generally the time limit for a clinical negligence case is three years from the date the treatment took place or the date you were made aware that something had gone wrong. These rules can be extremely complex and varied and a lawyer will be able to check which time limit applies to you after some initial investigations. In some cases time limits can be extended.

We will further discuss these limits with you during your free consultation with.

The cost of claiming

We will provide you with free advice whilst we investigate whether you have a case for compensation. After our investigations, we will tell you whether you have a reasonable chance of success, and you can therefore instruct us to act on your behalf.

If you chose to instruct us we can offer you a no win, no fee agreement where possible, meaning you won’t charged legal fees if you are unsuccessful. If we do win your claim you will be charged a success fee that will be taken from your damages. All other legal fees will be covered by the defendant should the case be successful.

All the financial information will be discussed with you, free of charge, before you decide to instruct us.

How can our specialist clinical negligence solicitors help?

We have specialists based in London and south Wales who can help you investigate and pursue your case. We offer:

  • Free initial advice and guidance.
  • No win, no fee when appropriate.
  • Access to expert advice and reports on your claim.
  • Access to financial advice, together with welfare and benefits advice.
  • Access to leading barristers based nationally.
  • Access to ongoing clinical rehabilitation/treatment.

Why use the Hugh James Medical Negligence Team?

  • Hugh James is one of the leading injury compensation claim firms for clinical negligence  in England and Wales.
  • Per annum we recover over £20million in compensation for our clients.
  • The legal guides say “Hugh James offers true clinical negligence expertise”.
  • We have offices in London and Cardiff and can represent clients without the need for lengthy face to face meetings.
  • We have a range of qualified staff including a former midwife, qualified nurse executives, welfare benefits advisors, medical records officers and qualified social workers to ensure your case has the best possible chance of success.
  • We can advise you on all aspects of your claim, which includes social services involvement, financial advice and rehabilitation.
  • AVMA, the medical negligence charity, and the Solicitors Regulatory Authority recognise us as experts in medical negligence.

Case studies

Claimant awarded £195,000.00 due to negligence: Surgeon chooses wrong procedure resulting in a misdiagnosis of incurable cancer

Summary of Events

B v Princess Alexandra Hospitals NHS Trust was a clinical negligence case concerning the claimant’s surgery on 28th August 2009 to fix a leak in her colon arising after an operation called a “laparoscopic sigmoid colectomy”.

The case was very complex with 10 expert witnesses and 11 factual witnesses including 5 treating medical witnesses and it was listed for a 10 day Trial.

It was alleged by the claimant that during the laparotomy (open surgery) to fix the leak, the surgeon negligently chose a “loop ileostomy” as opposed to a conventional procedure called a “Hartmann’s procedure”. This decision left the leak in place which then led to sepsis. In a conventional Hartmann’s procedure the leak would have been sealed and the patient would have been left with a colostomy which could have then been reversed after the bowel had healed.

The claimant alleged that had a Hartmann’s procedure been performed she would have had an uncomplicated recovery and avoided, amongst other things, sepsis, a stroke, a hernia.

There had also been a misdiagnosis of incurable cancer leading to unnecessary chemotherapy with associated side effects.  This was because the sepsis had been interpreted as metastatic disease and it was not until our experts reviewed the case that the claimant found out she never had cancer.

The defendant maintained a denial of liability and causation throughout the case.

The defendant stated that the choice of procedure was for the surgeon alone and that a responsible body of surgeons would have chosen, as the defendant surgeon did, to perform a loop ileostomy as opposed to a Hartmann’s procedure.

The defendant stated that the sepsis the claimant suffered was not due to continued leakage following the loop ileostomy, but, rather the result of an initial septic insult from the original surgery.

The claimant’s experts agree that the claimant had made a fantastic recovery from her stroke.

The Settlement

On 7 April 2015 a joint settlement meeting was held and the claim was settled in the total sum of £195,000.

The compensation comprised of

  • damages for the claimant’s pain, suffering and loss of amenity
  • past and future loss of earnings up to retirement
  • past and future care and assistance
  • past travel

Date of Judgment/Settlement: 07.04.15
Court: Out of court settlement
Claimant Solicitor: Helen Neville
Claimant Age at date of accident/negligence: 56
Age at date of trial/settlement: 62

Hugh James recovers £190.000 for a client who was advised by his original solicitors that a claim could not be made.

Andrew Davies settled a case of gallbladder surgery negligence brought against Cwm Taf Local Health Board, where damages totalled £190,000.

The claimant (AJ) underwent surgery in 2001 after being diagnosed with stones in his gallbladder and bile duct. AJ underwent a procedure known as endoscopic sphincterotomy to remove the gallstones. After the procedure he began to suffer recurring pain and illness and over four years later in November 2005 was readmitted to hospital. Tests revealed that the gallbladder had become inflamed and required removal.  AJ was placed on a waiting list for gallbladder removal surgery and given antibiotics as a course of treatment.

In January 2006, surgery was performed to remove the inflamed gallbladder and shortly after AJ began to suffer consistent abdominal pain. Tests were preformed, which highlighted abnormalities in liver function, prompting further investigation. An ultra sound scan showed that fluid, believed to have come from the bile duct had leaked into the abdominal area.

AJ began to deteriorate further and was transferred to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham where he underwent additional surgery. It became apparent that he had sustained a major injury to the bile duct following removal of his gallbladder, which required reconstructive surgery. Due to complications from the initial removal procedure, AJ will continue to endure health issues. He is susceptible to further complications and may require additional surgery.

AJ issued a complaint against the Cwm Taf Local Health Board for what he considered to be gallbladder negligence. In response they cited that an inflamed gallbladder had made the surgery difficult and that the injury sustained was “forgivable”. AJ continued to pursue his complaint and instructed solicitors, who on receipt of an expert medical report, advised that a claim could not be made!

It was suspected that improper legal advice had been given which was confirmed by a secondary medical expert. AJ then instructed Andrew Davies of Hugh James Solicitors Cardiff to act on his behalf. Following the intervention by Andrew, on August 7th 2008 Cwm Taf Local Health Board admitted that surgery had caused harm and prolonged illness to the patient, which led to a settlement of £190,000 being awarded.

The entire episode was and will continue to be distressing for AJ whose life has changed dramatically due to medical negligence. Andrew Davies from the Medical Negligence team at Hugh James Solicitors is quoted as saying “this was a challenging case, it appeared everyone was against AJ but his belief and determination led to him receiving the compensation he truly deserved following an extremely difficult and life changing period”.

AJ also offered comment and said “I’m disappointed by the advice I received from my former solicitor.  When I consulted Andrew Davies of Hugh James Solicitors he was very professional and had reassured me that there was merit in my claim. Andrew did everything possible to assist me during this difficult period and I regard him as a real gentleman, thank you”

Hugh James recovered almost £5million for client against Great Ormond Street Hospital for breach of duty.

Mrs E’s son developed epilepsy at the age of 7 and despite changes of medication continued to suffer erratic seizures. He was referred to a Consultant Neurologist at Great Ormond Street Hospital where it was decided to reduce the dose of his medications in an attempt to provoke his seizures in order for them to be recorded.

The boy received his (reduced) medications at the hospital and began a series of tests. The boy was to be monitored at all times due to the reduced medication and the subsequent risks of this. After being advised that his mother was leaving and that he was to be monitored by a nurse the boy was left alone in his room. He then left his room unaccompanied and went to the toilet unaided. There he suffered a seizure and his airway was obstructed. This led to inadequate ventilation and eventually, as a consequence of this, the boy suffered from a cardiac arrest which resulted in catastrophic brain injury.

The boy is now in a persistent vegetative state with heavy nursing needs. Over time the boy has improved to a low awareness state but has remained totally dependent for all activities of daily living.

Proceedings were served and Great Ormond Street Hospital subsequently admitted responsibility for the breach of duty.  An initial offer of £4,083,700 was made but not accepted. A further meeting considered a number of factors and a proposed settlement of £4,923,553 was offered. This was deemed as reflecting a good settlement for the Claimant, and was preferable to the risks of proceeding to trial.

At the same time Mrs E brought a separate claim in her own right in relation to the nervous shock she sustained resulting from the actions which led to her son’s injuries. She was the 2nd Claimant in this case.

The initial offer of £12,500 was rejected by Hugh James who considered her pain, suffering and loss and the fact that she had undergone therapy as recommended but had not made the expected recovery.  Mrs E was later reimbursed a total of £30,000.

Over £1million recovered against the Prince Charles Hospital in Merthyr.

Following a road traffic accident Mr P suffered multiple injuries and was admitted to the Prince Charles Hospital. He had suffered serious, but not apparently life threatening injuries. He had fractures to his right femur, right foot, and left ankle. There were concerns however that he may also have suffered internal injuries.

He was treated for shock and was resuscitated overnight with fluids. He deteriorated during the course of the following morning and the clinicians responded by giving more resuscitation fluids on a number of occasions.

The quantities of fluid given were excessive and insufficient attention was given to recording and maintaining his fluid balance which led to the “flooding” of the air spaces in his lungs by fluid. Following this the Claimant sustained a catastrophic brain injury.

He now has limited awareness of his surroundings, cannot speak, is doubly incontinent, and is incapable of any voluntary movement.

The claimant suggested that the injuries could have been avoided however the defendant argued that the cause of the injuries were not preventable.

As there was no scope in this case for responsibility for only part of the Claimant’s injuries the result of the trial would therefore be “all or nothing”. Proceedings were served and the defendant denied liability.

A joint expert meeting took place to discuss the cause of his injuries and from this it was concluded that there was a strong element of uncertainty about the outcome of this case. It was decided that the litigation risks in this claim justified the consideration of a discounted settlement.

The defendant offered to compromise liability for 50% of the value of the claim but this was rejected because there was concern that the claimant could be in a position where the compensation could only meet a proportion of his future needs.

Following this the claim was finally settled and court approval given for a lump sum payment of £1,407,946.48. In addition to this there will be annual life time of payments of £104,874.90 for the Claimant’s future care and future case management costs.


Highly regarded for its handling of a broad range of work, including brain injury cases, fatal claims and public inquiries. Recent work highlights include several high-value cerebral palsy claims.

Stephen Webber is noted for a range of clinical negligence work including public inquiries and is commended as ‘excellent for high-value brain injury claims.’

Mari Rosser focuses on brain injury claims for adults and children as well as fatal claims. Sources highlight her ‘huge reservoir of experience – her judgement is very impressive.’

Andrew Davies is praised as being ‘always on the top of his game – very, very thorough in preparation.’ He is well regarded for brain injury and paralysis cases and has also developed a niche practice in negligent gall bladder surgery and compartment syndrome claims.
Chambers UK 2015

‘Innovative and hardworking’, Hugh James is a ‘market leader’ which is establishing a strong national presence. It is one of eight firms recognised nationally by SCOPE, and is also instructed by the Community Health Councils in Wales. Stephen Webber and Mari Rosser are ‘real stars’, and Andrew Davies and Hannah Williams are also recommended. The team draws on support from the firm’s Court of Protection, social worker and speech therapist departments.
The Legal 500 2014

“I have just come to the end of the above medical negligence case handled by Grainne Barton. I wanted to write on behalf of my wife and I to let you know of our sincere appreciation and gratitude to Mrs Barton in her handling of the case. We were always kept informed of any progress and always received a response to our emails, sometimes even late at night. Mrs Barton’s commitment to me as a client was exemplary, she was empathetic, approachable and very thorough and although always professional, was down to earth with a good sense of humour and made us both feel at ease. She many times put our minds at rest but did so without giving any false hope.

You have a great Solicitor representing your company and although a negligence case is stressful at times and not a nice thing to go through and we are glad it is all over, it was made easier knowing that Mrs Barton was fighting the case and was behind us all the way.”
Client testimonial

“I consulted Hugh James after being disappointed by the advice I received from my former solicitor. The team at Hugh James were very professional and had reassured me that there was merit in my claim. They did everything possible to assist me during this difficult period, thank you”
Client testimonial

“You have always been clear with your advice, prompt with your responses and sensitive in dealing with what is of course a stressful business. I will not hesitate to recommend your firm’s services in future, and please accept my thanks for an excellent service from a first class solicitor.
Client testimonial

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