Surgical negligence claims

Whilst hospitals and doctors perform surgery to a high standard the majority of the time, there are instances where they get it wrong.

If you have suffered a physical or psychological injury as a consequence of the negligence of a doctor or other medical professional during surgery, then you could be entitled to make a negligence claim.

Surgical negligence covers a wide area of medicine. We have successfully dealt with surgical negligence cases concerning:

  • Heart surgery;
  • Anaesthetic treatment;
  • Gastroenterological surgery (bowel, stomach, intestines);
  • Ear, nose and throat surgery;
  • General surgery;
  • Gynaecological surgery;
  • Cosmetic surgery or plastic surgery;
  • Intensive care;
  • Vascular surgery (arteries and veins);
  • Keyhole surgery;
  • Neurosurgery (nervous system, spinal cord and brain);
  • Ophthalmological surgery (eyes);
  • Orthopaedic surgery (bones and joints); and
  • Urological surgery (kidneys, bladder, prostate etc).

If your case is accepted we can offer no win, no fee arrangement from the outset.

Our experienced surgical error claims solicitors will make the whole claim process as simple as possible for you and will provide you with regular updates throughout your case.

If you feel you may have a surgery gone wrong claim, contact our friendly and approachable team today.

 

What are the most common surgery mistakes?

If you have suffered a physical or psychological injury as a consequence of the negligence of a doctor or other medical professional during surgery, then you could be entitled to make a surgical negligence compensation claim.

Surgical negligence covers a wide area of medicine. We have successfully dealt with surgical negligence cases concerning:

  • A failure to diagnose appendicitis
  • Incorrect size of prosthesis being used in survey
  • Receiving damage to the bile duct while undertaking gall bladder surgery
  • A perforated bowl as a result of an abnormal pregnancy
  • A failure to be diagnosed with an ectopic pregnancy
  • Suffering a haemorrhage after gynaecological surgery

 

How long does surgical negligence claims take?

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

  • The availability to collect evidence
  • Where the entity responsible admits liability
  • 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 for surgical errors.

 

Will I need an independent medical examination when I make a surgical negligence claim?

As part of your surgical error compensation claim you will be asked to see an independent doctor to assess the extent of any damage/injury caused from negligent treatment. This will be used as expert evidence in proving your claim and will affect the amount of compensation you receive.

 

How can our specialist solicitors help?

We have specialists 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.

Key contact

Mari Rosser is Head of Medical Negligence. Her main area of expertise is clinical negligence; she is a member of both The Law Society’s clinical negligence panel and the referral panel for Action against Medical Accidents.

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Your questions answered

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.

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.

How do you prove a surgical 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 and not cause injury;
  • 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 team 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 is experienced in ensuring that you and your family receive the maximum compensation you are entitled to.

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

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