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When a Doctor Makes a Mistake

When a medical procedure or clinical operation results in injury or death due to the human error of a professional party, the affected individual may be eligible to claim against the offender. 

Formally known as "medical negligence", clinical negligence sits closely with professional negligence, whilst having very separate legal principles to personal injury claims.

Negligence claims can deter bad practice, offering security in the medical and clinical services provided through careful preparation, thorough training and rigorous checking of procedures, with any human error being justly compensated.

Areas subject to clinical negligence through human error are:

  • hospitals
  • general practices
  • walk-in centres
  • therapists / physiotherapists
  • dentists
  • orthodontists
  • other medical or clinical professionals

Claiming for clinical negligence

Medical claims can arise from any areas of medical practice. Accident and emergency treatment in its very nature is carried out within a highly pressurised environment with severe time restraint. Little is known about the patient’s current or prior state, and as a result fewer claims are made as negligence is difficult to prove.

General practice however is a more controlled area, where a patient is relying on accurate and advice in treatment. Bad medical practice could often lead to severe health and legal consequences, and would be often be a strong case for clinical negligence.

Instances of clinical negligence are when a practitioner fails to:

  • consider allergies and conditions when prescribing medication
  • undergo investigatory procedures concerning a life threatening illness
  • correctly advise a patient, causing further damage, illness or death

If affected by any of the above instances of clinical negligence you could be eligible for a compensation claim.

Claiming for compensation can be sought through pre court settlements in:

  • Negotiation - reaching a mutual agreement
  • Mediation - using an impartial third party to assist in a mutual agreement
  • Arbitration - an independent third party, deciding upon presented evidence where fault lies and consequential action

The Redress Bill

12 October 2005 saw the additional provisions in the house of laws regarding clinical negligence regulations. A claimant would have to seek support and undergo proceedings within three years of the accident. Relevant legislation information would explore areas such as:

  • why immediate action is needed in claims
  • how timely action can lead to more accurate evidence
  • applying for additional time when gathering evidence