Before considering legal action, if you have sustained an injury or harm as a result of medical treatment, you have the right to complain. Our leaflet Making a Complaint explains how. 

Taking Legal Action

If the medical treatment you or a family member received caused either injury or harm, and was the result of negligence, you may be able to make a claim for compensation. Taking legal action may result in a financial settlement to compensate for that damage, which can help you secure appropriate care or support, for example, for babies and children left with permanent life-long disability as a result of clinical negligence.

To pursue a legal claim successfully, two conditions need to be met:

  • The medical treatment provided fell well below an acceptable and reasonable standard, and
  • The harm or loss caused was as a direct result of that negligence or materially contributed to by the negligence.

How to choose a law firm

Medical negligence proceedings can be complex and stressful. Legal action may take many years to complete, although cases can be concluded quickly if the hospital or healthcare professional accepts early on that there were mistakes.

It is vital to make sure, when considering whether to take legal action, you seek advice from expert lawyers with experience of cases involving patients’ rights.

We are thankful that we have highly specialised and recommended lawyers as supporters of the Patients Association.

If you wish to get legal advice, we would recommend that you contact two or more of these experienced solicitors for an initial discussion. Experience and a good track record are very important, as is finding someone you trust, and can develop a good working relationship with. We believe that by working with highly specialised firms, you will be supported fully through your claim.

Before contacting a law firm, however, get together as much information about your case as you can. The lawyer may need this to make a realistic assessment as to whether you might have a case. They should be able to make a preliminary assessment of your case with no charge, to enable you to decide whether to proceed. They will also be able to advise you on the funding options available to you and your family to ensure that there is no financial risk to you.

These companies hold accreditation with the Law Society, and/or the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers, as well as having successfully dealt with numerous clinical negligence cases on behalf of patients.

We do not receive any referral fees if families contact any of these law firms from our website or our information materials. The law firms listed support the Patients Association through our corporate membership scheme.

Any contact you have with any of these firms is entirely confidential between you and them. We are not involved in anyway and will have no knowledge of any contact, but our helpline remains available to you should you wish to seek any further advice.


Legal costs may be a concern if you want to pursue a case of clinical negligence, but in most instances a legal firm will offer free initial advice. If you then wish to pursue a claim, the lawyer will discuss funding options that ensure there is no financial risk to you or your family.


Email:    [email protected]

Phone:    020 7288 4817


Email     [email protected]

Phone    020 7650 1200



Useful links

AvMA (Action against Medical Accidents)

The Law Society

Further information

Citizens Advice Clinical negligence and taking legal action 

Age UK Getting legal advice

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Couldn’t find what you were looking for? Our team might be able to help - details of how to contact them below.

Contact the Patients Association helpline

The Patients Association offers a free national helpline providing information and guidance to help patients make sense of their health and care.  

Patients can talk directly to our helpline team in confidence about any concerns, questions or general experiences they have regarding the NHS and care systems.  

The helpline is open from 9.30am to 5pm, Monday to Friday, and calls outside these times are returned as soon as possible during opening hours. 

If you would like to contact the helpline, please call free on 0800 345 7115, or visit the Patients Association helpline page on our website for more information.