A medical negligence claim will only succeed if all three of the following elements are proven:
- That the Defendant owed the Claimant a duty of care. In a claim involving medical negligence, this test is satisfied because a healthcare provider always owes their patient a duty of care when providing treatment.
- There was a breach of that duty of care by the Defendant, e.g. that the standard of care provided fell below that expected of a reasonably competent body of medical practitioners.
- That the breach of duty resulted in an avoidable injury to the Claimant.
It is not enough to simply prove that the medical treatment fell below the standard of care to be provided. In addition, a Claimant must also prove that the negligent care resulted in an avoidable injury.
Medical negligence claims are difficult, lengthy and complex. There are a number of steps to be taken in order to prove a claim. Whilst every claim is different, and we will consider how best to investigate each claim on a case-by-case basis, the initial steps in a medical negligence claim will inevitably include:
- Putting in place suitable funding with which to cover your legal costs.
- Once funding is in place, we will then obtain all of your relevant medical records.
- We will obtain detailed witness evidence from you.
- Once the records have been received, we will carefully review and consider them, determining all of the key issues and entries relevant to the claim and begin to prepare a detailed chronology of events.
- We then instruct independent medical experts. We will specifically consider liability (e.g. whether there has been negligence) and causation (e.g. what that negligence has caused) and we may need more than one expert to assist in this regard.
- If the expert(s) are supportive of your claim, we will send a detailed Pre-Action Letter of Claim to the Defendant setting out the case in detail. The Defendant will then have 4 months within which to investigate and respond.
- In the meantime, we will begin to consider the value of the claim in more detail and this will most likely involve obtaining a further expert report dealing with Condition and Prognosis.
Once a response has been received from the other side, depending on what that response is, we will then need to consider the most appropriate further course of action and each case will vary in this regard.