Richard Barr clinical negligence solicitor
Scott-Moncrieff & Associates Ltd.
About medical negligence cases
The law treats medical claims a little differently from normal compensation claims for injury. When medical accidents happen it is almost always in the context of an intervention (or proposed intervention) to cure a patient. This contrasts with, say, a road accident where the encounter between the victim and the negligent driver was entirely unintended.
Doctors have for many years been given special consideration by the Courts. It is acknowledged that not every treatment will succeed and not everything that goes wrong will amount to negligence. But sometimes things do go seriously wrong in medical treatment leaving a patient with grave or permanent injury.
When I deal with medical claims I try to deal sensitively with the situation respecting the skill of doctors (who will often be extremely distressed themselves if something goes wrong with medical treatment) but acknowledging that claims sometimes must be brought.
If a doctor or hospital are to be found liable for injuries caused to a patient it must be shown that that the treatment was substandard. This means that if a doctor makes a judgment about the treatment of a patient which is open to criticism but that there is a respectable body of doctors who would have made the same decision then the doctor may not be liable for the consequences of anything that goes wrong.
We also have to show that injury was caused as a result of a negligent treatment (or failure to treat). If there was negligence but it had nothing to do with your injury then compensation will not be paid. For more information on medical cases contact me and I will be happy to send our fact sheet on medical cases.
"The great majority of NHS care is of a very high clinical standard, and serious failures are uncommon in relation to the high volume of care provided every day in hospitals and in the community. Yet where serious failures in care do occur they can have devastating consequences for individual patients and their families, cause distress to the usually very committed health care staff involved and undermine public confidence in the services the NHS provides. In addition, the cumulative financial cost of adverse events to the NHS and to the economy is huge. Most distressing of all, such failures often have a familiar ring, displaying strong similarities to incidents which have occurred before and in some cases almost exactly replicating them. Many could be avoided if only the lessons of experience were properly learned."
(Taken from “An Organisation with a Memory” published in 2000 by the Department of Health)