Medical negligence claims

Have you or a member of your family suffered an injury due to mistakes made during medical treatment? Our specialist medical negligence, also known as clinical negligence, solicitors can advise if you are eligible to make a compensation claim, and will fully explain the claims process with you during your free consultation.


Clinical negligence team of the year for the second year in a row

At the end of November 2020 we were proud to announce that we won the award for Clinical Negligence Team of the year for a second year in a row. The Clinical Negligence team and Divisional Head, Stephen Webber, were recognised for their achievements at the 2020 Personal Injury Awards – the leading annual awards ceremony for the sector.

Stephen Webber was crowned ‘Clinical Negligence Lawyer of the Year’ – with judges describing him as a “technically gifted lawyer” who “stood out” for contributing “so much to the Personal Injury sector.” Stephen is a Partner and Divisional Head of Individual Services and has worked as a Clinical Negligence Lawyer since qualifying in 1996.

We also scooped ‘Clinical Negligence Team of the Year’ – the second year in a row - with judges praising our “exceptional teamwork, holistic approach to casework and creative support during the COVID pandemic.” The team continued to work through some high-profile cases during the pandemic and were able to rise above the inevitable challenges. This included a landmark win in the first clinical negligence trial to take place ‘in-person’ during lockdown.


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. A failure to do so which results in injury means that the patient being able to bring a compensation claim.


How do you prove a medical negligence case?

In order to succeed in a claim for negligence, we need to prove that:

  • The doctor or other healthcare professional owed a duty to take care of the patient;
  • There was a breach of that duty to take care;
  • That breach of duty has caused harm to the patient; and
  • Damage or other losses have resulted from that harm.

It is usually straightforward to show that a doctor owed a duty of care to a patient. To establish whether there was a breach of that duty, it is necessary to show that the doctor’s actions fell below a minimum standard of a reasonably competent doctor in that particular field of medicine.

In addition to proving that the doctor has failed to meet the relevant standard of care, we also have to establish that this failure either directly caused the injuries alleged or significantly contributed to them.

Our specialist medical negligence solicitors at Hugh James can provide advice and guidance regarding the test which will need to be satisfied.

We will give you an indication of the strengths and weakness of your case after having undertaken an initial free assessment.


How much compensation can you claim for medical negligence?

This really depends on your circumstances and the severity of your injury as a result of medical negligence.  This can vary between individuals, but be rest assured that our specialist team of medical negligence solicitors have the experience to ensure that you and your family receive the maximum compensation you are entitled to. This year the team has recovered more that 30 million pounds in damages for victims of medical neglect.

Compensation will include an award for the pain and suffering caused by your illness. In addition medical negligence compensation can also be claimed in respect of care needs, financial losses, medical care and treatment.


How long does clinical negligence compensation claim take?

There are a number of factors that affect a medical negligence claim. These make it difficult to give an exact timescale and are affected by:

  • The length of time it takes to collate all the necessary evidence
  • Whether the allegations of negligence are admitted
  • The nature of your injury

It’s important to consider all these factors as our specialist medical negligence solicitors need evaluate the true impact of your injury when calculating your compensation.


How can a specialist medical negligence solicitor help?

We have specialist medical negligence solicitors 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; and
  • Access to ongoing clinical rehabilitation/treatment.


Why choose us for your medical negligence claim?

Our medical negligence solicitors have been top ranked by both the Chambers & Partners and Legal 500 independent legal guides for this area of the law. We are the only top ranked firm ranked in both directories 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.

Medical negligence claims can be difficult to prove so it is vital to have understanding and dedicated solicitors on your side to assist you through the process and ensure that you receive the maximum amount of compensation which you are entitled to.

  • Hugh James is one of the leading injury compensation claim firms for medical negligence in England and Wales.
  • Per annum we recover over £30 million in medical negligence 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.


Find advice

Key contact

Ruth is a Partner and Head of our Clinical Negligence Department. She has exclusively practised in clinical negligence since qualifying in 1995 and has a wealth of experience in complex and high value clinical negligence claims.

View team

Your questions answered

What can medical negligence compensation pay for?


The aim of any compensation is to improve your quality of life, whether this pays for specialist care or simply home adaptions. Our goal is to get you back to normality as quickly as possible and that’s we put out client health at the forefront of our mind when dealing with your medical negligence claim.

We will look at the compensation for your injuries as well as the financial losses you have as a result of medical negligence. Compensation is made up of general and special damages.

General  Damages

General damages compensate you for the injury itself: the pain and suffering you have already experienced and will continue to go through and what you are no longer able to do as a result of medical negligence.

In order to accurately inform you of the level of damages that you may be awarded, we will arrange for specialist reports to be obtained from various leading medical and legal authorities. They will examine you and have access to your medical records and be able to provide an accurate diagnosis and prognosis within their report. Once this evidence is in place we will be able to notify you how much we think that your claim is going to be worth.

Special Damages

Special damages are to compensate you for any past or future losses that have incurred or will incur as a direct result of the medical negligence which caused your injuries.

Past losses include:

  • private medical treatment and rehabilitation;
  • prescription charges/medication;
  • the purchase of aids and appliances;
  • loss of earnings;
  • travel expenses;
  • care costs;
  • personal belongings and clothing damaged in the accident; and
  • housing adaptations.

Future losses can include:

  • future loss of earnings;
  • loss of pension;
  • accommodation costs;
  • future private medical treatment and rehabilitation;
  • care costs; and
  • aids and appliances.

This list is not exhaustive and we will carefully consider your situation and will try to anticipate your future needs. 

We suggest that you start to keep a list of things that you have had to pay for since, and as a direct result of the medical negligence injury. We will need to prove the financial losses and documentary evidence such as wage slips, receipts and invoices will be very important in proving your special damages claim. In addition, it may also be sensible to keep a log or brief diary of problems that you encounter as this will help us to prepare comprehensive witness statements.

Who can make a clinical negligence claim?


Our specialist medical negligence solicitors will be able to guide you through the claims process if you have been injured by health care professional.

In certain circumstances you will be able to claim on behalf of someone who doesn’t have mental capacity, a child, and if a loved one has died as result of medical negligence.

Claims for people without mental capacity

If someone is unable to manage their affairs or has trouble making sensible decision about their finances, you will be able to make a claim on their behalf.  

Claims on behalf of children

If a child or a young adult under the age of 18 has been injured as result of medical negligence, you can make a claim on their behalf.  In these instances you will be appointed as a “litigation friend”.  This is often a parent or guardian and you will have to show that you have the child’s best interest and act fairly.

If compensation is awarded to the child this will normally be paid to the court and put in an investment account so it can be accessed when the child turns 18.  When small amounts of money are involved this is usually paid to you as the litigation friend.

Fatal negligence claims

The death of a loved one is an extremely difficult and challenging time. Making a medical negligence claim will be the last thing on your mind, but if you have suffered financial loss and ongoing financial problems as a result of the death, then a solicitor may be able to help.

You should consider:

  • The financial impact.
  • The psychological implications to you and your family as a result of the death.
  • And whether seeking professional support or counselling will be of any benefit.

Time limits are in place for this area of law. These time limits can be complex and varied, however, the general limit is three years from the date the injury happened or the illness was diagnosed.

If you would like further information about making a fatal medical negligence claim, contact our team of expert solicitors for a free, no obligation, consultation.

How do I make a medical negligence claim?


We will arrange a free initial consultation to discuss the treatment in question. We will advise you thereafter whether we feel that you have a potential medical negligence claim.

The usual first step in pursuing a medical negligence claim is to obtain medical records. After that, input from a medical expert is likely to be required to assess whether the treatment provided fell below a minimum standard of care. Depending on the outcome of the initial assessment by the expert, you may need to attend an appointment to be examined.

Expert evidence will assist us in determining the strength of the medical negligence claim and the allegations of negligence which can be put forward to the health care professionals responsible.

Depending on the injury suffered, we will obtain evidence in relation to your care needs to ensure that any rehabilitation costs, home adaptations or future treatments are fully considered and included as part of your claim.

The process can be quite lengthy depending on the complexities involved with the case and the nature of the particular injury.

While we will make every effort to resolve the claim outside of court, it is possible that you may have to attend court if a resolution is not reached.

Even if court proceedings are commenced, this does not automatically mean that the claim will proceed to trial. The claim may still resolve before this time. If you do have to attend court we will be at hand to assist and support you every step of the way so as to ensure that you are prepared and comfortable with the process.

Are there time limits to bringing a medical negligence claim?


Personal injury and medical negligence 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 medical 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.

If a child suffers negligent care, a claim can be made up until their 21st birthday. Claims relating to children must be made by an adult on their behalf.

If a claim is brought on behalf of someone who does not have mental capacity, the three year time limit does not apply. If however, mental capacity is regained, the three year period will start at this time.

We will discuss the time limits with you during our initial consultation.

What is the cost of bringing a claim?


We will provide you with our free initial opinion in relation to your claim. After our assessment, we will tell you whether you have a reasonable chance of success, and you can instruct us to act on your behalf.

If you choose to instruct us we can offer you a no win, no fee agreement where possible, meaning you won't be charged legal fees if you are unsuccessful. If your claim is successful, compensation will be awarded to you. A success fee will be deducted from the compensation. 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.

Will I have to go to court?


Only a small percentage of medical negligence claims brought will actually proceed to trial though we do prepare every case in depth to make sure we are ready should it go to court.

The medical negligence system is geared towards encouraging parties to be open with each other so that any claims for compensation can be settled without the need for going to court, which can save both time and cost.

A lot of people are naturally nervous and uncomfortable about going to court.  We understand this and will advise you every step of the way, should your case reach a trial.


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


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


I would definitely and highly recommend this firm of solicitors of which is so well represented by its professional staff and associates.

Annaliese M.Bush, Client


Overwhelming level of involvement and detail.

The Legal 500


Dogged and indefatigable work ethic.

The Legal 500


Hugh James is a highly professional firm inspiring confidence to attract cients to use their services. Navigating a clinical negligence claim requires sensitivity, competence and professionalism which Hugh James provided for us to make informed decisions.

The Legal 500


Extremely cohesive team with experienced practitioners and a real 'down to earth' approach.

The Legal 500


The leading firm in Wales and an exceptional stand out firm nationally.

The Legal 500


The team is thorough, reliable and organised.

The Legal 500


They have been innovative in advising and litigating the largest cases.

The Legal 500


The firm has massive experience dealing with complex group litigation, catastrophic injury cases and large clinical negligence disputes and is effectively the equivalent of a top London firm in the Welsh capital.

The Legal 500


Wales' leading firm when it comes to personal injury work, including catastrophic injury, and clinical negligence work.

The Legal 500


The lawyers are talented and committed and are true experts in their fields.

The Legal 500


Hugh James are particularly strong in clinical negligence and inquest work.

The Legal 500


They are excellent and offer a first-class service.

Chambers & Partners


They show efficient and clear communication and have a good grasp of the specialised medical issues.

Chambers & Partners


They are kind, thoughtful, consummate professionals. They execute their work extremely diligently with a high degree of compassion for the client.

Chambers & Partners


They provide a very responsive service and we find them an enormous support.

Chambers & Partners


A huge, experienced team covering all manner of claims. The solicitors are efficient and work very hard - a very polished, all-round firm.

Chambers & Partners


It is a leading firm in this area in Wales.

Chambers & Partners


The Law Society Clinical Negligence
Specialist Clinical Negligence Panel
APIL Association of Personal Injury Lawyers

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