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Solicitors and Medical Negligence Claims

Due to the specialised nature of medical negligence claims, it is important to find a solicitor with experience of this type of legal case.

Initial consultation

The first time you meet your solicitor you should arm yourself with all the relevant information, documents and evidence that you can find relating to your negligently performed medical treatment. In addition to this should be a statement chronicling the relevant events and explaining everything that happened from your point of view.

After this consultation the solicitor should be able to advise you on whether or not your case is worth investigating further, but you will not be told if you have a valid claim until the matter has been fully investigated.

Especially if you are not eligible for public funding, the solicitor may point you towards the NHS Complaints Procedure before deciding on whether to take your case to the courts. Note that the NHS trust can reject a complaint if it suspects that you are going to sue.

Written proof

Once the formalities of listening to and understanding your story have been completed, the solicitor will begin to compose what is called a written proof. This will serve as an exhaustive log of all details which pertain to the case and may be relevant legally. The things which the solicitor will include in this written proof are (dates and locations will be asked for in all cases):

  • The reason why you sought medical treatment and whether you had any earlier relevant medical issues
  • Names of every doctor and health worker involved in any capacity throughout
  • Questions put to you by the doctors and their diagnosis thereafter
  • Advice given by doctors and treatment prescribed
  • How much explanation you were given regarding the treatment and whether you were adequately informed of the risks involved in both receiving the treatment and declining it
  • Witnesses to the treatment or consultation and family members you told about it
  • Anything said in subsequent medical consultation(s)
  • Whether you have complained through the NHS procedure or the doctor(s) in question

The more detail and the more accuracy with which you can convey these things to the solicitor, the better for the prospects of your case. On many an occasion time and effort has been wasted in pursuing claims which were not viable, purely because the claimant forgot or gave erroneously an important piece of evidence.

Solicitor’s fees

The solicitor will also present you with options on how to fund your claim. Some may be able to apply for public funding on your behalf, but if not you may be expected to pay out of your own pocket.

There are some medical negligence solicitors who will be prepared to work for you on a conditional fee agreement (CFA), also known as no win, no fee. As you might expect, this means that you will be spared from costs if your claim is not successful. For more advice see our section on funding clinical negligence claims