What it Takes to Win a Medical Negligence Case

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Medical negligence, often referred to as clinical negligence, is an all-too-common issue among patients in the UK. When the medical treatment or care provided at the time of an illness or injury isn’t up to par, patients have the ability to bring a claim against the hospital, provider, or specialist in an effort to receive compensation for damages incurred. But getting through the process of a medical negligence case successfully is no simple task. It requires a thorough understanding of what medical negligence truly is, and the level of care owed to individuals no matter where they seek treatment throughout the healthcare system.

What is Medical Negligence?

Put simply, medical or clinical negligence occurs when a breach of the legal duty of care results in damage caused to the individual seeking care. In the medical world, this takes place when there is a viable complaint against a doctor or another healthcare professional or the institution that employs that treatment provider. To have a case for medical negligence, there needs to be proof that the healthcare professional truly owed a duty of care to the patient, and that a breach of that duty took place in the course of providing care. Additionally, some degree of harm must be experienced by the patient bringing the claim, with resulting damages or losses directly linked to that harm.

The most prominent aspect of a medical negligence claim is the duty of care definition. A member of a medical team, an individual provider, or a healthcare facility is responsible for treating a patient in a way that is meant to provide a solution for their ailments, without causing harm to the patient. There are standards in place to help define what it means to be a reasonably competent medical care provider in a specific field of practice, making it a bit easier to recognise when the duty of care owed to a patient was breached. The unfortunate truth is that proving a breach of care took place during an individual’s experience with a healthcare provider or institution is a very real challenge.

Proving Breach of Care

A test exists to determine if a breach of care took place as part of a medical negligence claim. Known as the Bolam test, an evaluation of the care provided to a patient is compared against the standard agreed upon by a reasonable body of practitioners also skilled in that particular field. In some cases, it is also required that the medical opinion of that body is both logical and reasonable, meaning it is not enough to have a supporting body nod toward the medical professional to deny a medical negligence claim. This breach of care definition extends not only to treatment but diagnosis and medical advice as well.

Proving breach of duty may seem daunting at first, but it should not be overthought. Failing to receive the care that a reasonable medical professional in a typical setting would provide is considered a breach, and therefore a medical negligence case has merit. A group of legal experts in clinical negligence explains that a case must include a breach of care along with avoidable harm experienced by the patient. The latter part can be thought of as causation, with the individual being able to connect lacklustre care with a resulting injury or illness. When these components are in play, a claim for compensation can be sought in an effort to offset the costs incurred due to the poor level of care received.

Receiving a win for a medical or clinical negligence case takes time and a great deal of understanding regarding the standard of care a medical professional must meet. Patients have the ability to seek a claim for compensation when these standards are not met, whether that is in the process of receiving a diagnosis for a disease or injury, a suggestion for a course of treatment, or advice regarding the health issue at hand. The ability to bring a medical negligence claim against a provider or institution is the right of every patient, just as the expectation to receive the highest quality of care is.

December 22, 2017 · Tim Kevan · Comments Closed
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