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Can I sue a medical professional for clinical negligence?

If something goes wrong with your medical treatment, you have the legal right to sue for medical malpractice and negligence. Your actions can also help ensure that the same mistake is not made again and others do not suffer in the future.

If you believe you have received care that falls below an acceptable standard and has a medical negligence claim, then do not delay as you only have three years from the date of the accident to bring forward your claim. There are sometimes exceptions to this rule but generally, it is wise to speak to a specialist at the outset who can really understand your claim and the impact that this has had on your life and proceed with expertise and efficiency.

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Common medical malpractice and negligence claims include:

  • pregnancy and childbirth (injuries to either the baby or the mother)
  • hospital-acquired infections
  • dental malpractice
  • surgical errors
  • medical misdiagnosis and incorrect treatment
  • delayed diagnosis

How to prove a breach of duty of care

In order to bring forward a claim of clinical negligence, the practitioner must have acted in a way that fell short of acceptable professional standards. Known as the ‘Bolam’ principle, this tests whether the actions of the health professional in question could be supported by a ‘responsible body of clinical opinion’. This test is not about what ‘could have been done –but whether it ‘should have been done in the first place. In other words, would a ‘responsible body’ of health professionals support the action taken?

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There is also a further test known as ‘Bolitho’. This means that the court should not accept a defense argument as being ‘reasonable’, ‘respectable’, or ‘responsible’ without first assessing whether the such an opinion is susceptible to logical analysis.

What is causation?

The harm suffered must be shown, on the balance of probabilities, to be directly linked with the failure of the health professional to meet appropriate standards. If, for example, there was a good chance that the harm would have taken place even if the health professional had acted differently, then a claim is unlikely to succeed.

Ronty Rhodes Solicitors specialize in this area and we will look at your case to establish both a breach of duty of care and causation, in order for you to be entitled to receive compensation.

For the most part, healthcare is generally very good and most people do not experience any difficulties. But occasionally things can go wrong and if this has happened to you, make sure you speak to a specialist solicitor who really understands your situation and can ensure you get the compensation you deserve.

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