Instances of medical negligence take place all over the world and they are due to conduct that falls short of a standard. Countries such as Denmark have eliminated medical malpractice and focused on enhancing patient safety. The Danish system offers important lessons for policymakers in Great Britain, where medical harm is omnipresent and the mechanism for addressing it inefficient. Medical negligence from the NHC involves wrong or substandard care, treatment, and diagnosis. Fears about lawsuits put pressure on health care providers, so they end up doing exactly the opposite of what’s best for patients. If you’re curious to find out more about medical negligence claims, keep on reading. You won’t be disappointed.
What is medical negligence? The law explained
By medical malpractice, it’s understood any act or omission caused by a doctor during treatment that deviates from the standard norms of practice. It’s used interchangeably with the term medical malpractice. Just to be clear, medical negligence is one required legal element of a medical malpractice claim. Other elements include duty, breach, injury, and causation. You can take a medical practitioner or the hospital to court if negligence occurred during the medical act. The health care provider owes certain duties and breaching any of these duties gives the right to take legal action. UKLaw.co.uk, a website that provides free specialist advice, this area of the law is difficult to navigate. Therefore, it’s recommended to consult with an attorney.
The legal mechanism ensures not only the thoroughness but also the timeliness of the investigation and prosecution of each case. The injured party can ask for punitive damages, which are awarded to punish the defendant for deliberate tort. To put it simply, the medical practitioner must have done something outrageous for the court to go beyond compensation. Many argue that punitive damages don’t make sense because the awards don’t go to the injured patients. The fact is that they remain controversial and it’s impossible to escape the belief that the jury made a hasty decision and imposed an astronomical figure.
Generally speaking, there’s a 3-year rule for starting a claim
If you’d like to bring a claim for medical negligence, whether against a doctor or a hospital, make sure to respect the time limit. Your claim won’t be accepted if you wait too long. It’s understandable that you have a lot going on in your life following the unpleasant event, but make time for registering the claim. For adults, the time limit is three years from the date of knowledge – in other words, when the negligence occurred. It’s possible for the Courts to extend the time limit in certain situations, but it’s necessary to take into account the degree to which each party will be prejudiced. Even if judges can make exceptions, it’s highly unlikely. The purpose of the time limit is to ensure the plaintiff has a valid cause for action.
It’s important to seek legal advice
As mentioned earlier, the area of law concerning medical negligence is quite complex. Rather than navigating the system alone, you should reach out to a lawyer and seek professional advice. As an expert, they’ll be able to analyze the merits of the case and provide sound advice on what to do next. The legal professional will demand copies of important documents such as medical records, prescriptions, and doctor’s notes. They will carry out an investigation to understand the ins and outs of your specific case. Needless to say, no lawyer will drag you in a direction you don’t want to go. Contrary to popular belief, lawyers care about clients, not profit. At any rate, the lawyer will deal with the insurance company, handle the paperwork, and argue your case before a judge and jury.
Making a claim for medical negligence means claiming compensation
Compensation is the right of any person who has been injured, disabled, or suffering illness. You shouldn’t suffer or lose out financially just because someone wasn’t careful enough. Compensation is split into three parts, as follows:
- General damages
- Special damages for past losses
- Special damages for future loss
It’s important to understand that even a tiny injury can be painful and disrupt your life temporarily. To arrive at a dollar value, you have to demonstrate that your pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment, etc. reflect the true state of things. More exactly, you need proof. Liability can be difficult to prove, but it’s a good thing that you have a lawyer. They’ll find a way to prove that the person who caused your injury was negligent and they’re legally responsible.
The amount of compensation is directly proportional to the extent of the injury suffered. This isn’t an easy undertaking, just to be clear. It’s necessary to get a good understanding of the consequences of the accident and establish how much compensation should be awarded. It’s up to the judge to monitor the process and make sure damages are fair and reasonable. The methodology turns out to be invaluable for the injured party, as they’re properly compensated for their loss/losses.
Insurance firms prefer to settle
Chances are that your case won’t go to trial. Why? Because insurance firms would rather settle than take matters to court. The vast majority of medical negligence cases settle before they go trial. The insurance adjuster utilizes a secret mathematical formula to determine how much compensation should be paid. They won’t tell you what formula they used to determine the settlement. As a matter of fact, the insurance adjuster won’t admit to using a formula. It’s not a good idea to accept the first offer you’re offered. The insurance adjusted doesn’t have your best interest at heart, even if it might appear that way. It’s a negotiation, so be prepared for battle.
When negotiating, don’t let the other side know what you’re thinking. Simply discuss settlement amounts. It’s recommended to have your lawyer negotiate the settlement for you. They’ll know how to deal with the insurance company. The amount of time needed for the negotiations depends on several factors, including the extent of the injury and the loss/losses suffered. It helps to be patient.