For most people when they go into hospital or go and see their doctor, either on the NHS or privately funded, their experience is positive and the treatment they receive is beneficial. 

Unfortunately, things can go wrong when you are being cared for by a medical professional and if they make a mistake or they fail in their duty of care to you leading to an injury or making your condition worse, then a lawyer can represent you to ensure that you or a loved one can get the answers and the justice you deserve.

How do I make a medical negligence claim?

If you have been the victim of a medical accident or you believe the care you received has been sub-standard, you should contact a specialist medical negligence lawyer as soon as possible to find out whether you can make a claim.

How do I choose a solicitor?

There are two independent legal guides, Chambers and Partners and the Legal 500, which rank solicitors by their experience and expertise.  The Action Against Medical Accidents (AvMA) website has a list of accredited solicitors who specialise in medical negligence work. The Law Society also has a database of solicitors which you can search by ‘area of practice’.

 Many health-related charities have a panel of solicitors who they recommend.

You can search for medical negligence solicitors online but take care to choose one that has qualified specialists and can give examples of other clients they have acted for. We recommend you contact two or three firms of solicitors and pick one that you trust and feel comfortable with – medical negligence claims can go on for several years, so you are likely to be dealing with them for a long time.

What will it cost?

An initial assessment (usually free of charge) will determine whether you have a claim.  Most solicitors will take a case on a no win, no fee basis; some can be funded by legal aid or through your home insurance if it contains legal cover. This means that you pay nothing up front if your claim is accepted. If your claim is unsuccessful, you pay nothing.

How long do I have to make a claim?

It is usually three years from the time at which you realise that you have been injured or your condition has worsened. Medical negligence claims involving children can be made at any time until the age of 18, after that age the three-year rule applies. People who lack mental capacity do not have any time limit to make a claim.

How does a solicitor decide whether they will take a case?

The solicitor will look at all the evidence available to decide whether a case is likely to proceed.  It is very important, therefore, to keep a record of everything to do with your case, including notes of conversations, correspondence, medical records, and so on.

The video below explains in more detail the process of identifying who is responsible for your injury or sub-standard treatment. 

Next steps

If you would like to speak to a member of the medical negligence team at Leigh Day, please call 020 7650 1200 or email mailto:[email protected].