If you have been injured as a result of clinical or medical negligence, then you may be entitled to claim compensation for your injuries.
In order to support your medical negligence claim and secure compensation, you have to prove:
- You received unacceptable care – there was a breach of the duty of care;
- You suffered pain, suffering, injury, loss or damage;
- The pain, suffering, injury, loss or damage you suffered was caused by the unacceptable care (this is called ‘causation’);
The burden is on you (as the Claimant) to prove the medical negligence case. Unless you can prove all these aspects of your claim it will fail.
How can I prove medical negligence?
You are entitled to be provided with copies of your medical records free of charge and within 1 month of a request. Medical records were written at the time of treatment and are therefore the earliest records of what happened and consequently the most important. Usually they are written before there is any awareness that an injury has occurred. Medical professionals are bound by a duty of candour to produce honest records. Consequently, medical records are usually seen as a reliable account of the treatment received and will be a key part of the evidence to prove a medical negligence claim.
A specialist Medical Negligence Solicitor can assess your medical records and use them to identify and investigate any treatment that may constitute a breach of duty.
Witness statements can be provided by you, your family, friends, colleagues and by medical professionals. They set out the memory of each witness of the events surrounding the alleged negligence.
Your witness statement is where you explain what has happened and how it now affects your day to day life. The other witnesses in your case usually provide witness statements as evidence to prove that you needed additional support following the negligent treatment.
If a witness was present during appointments, examinations and consultations, their statement can also be used to support the injured person’s recollection of their medical treatment.
Witness statements can even be taken from independent medical professionals who may have been involved in the injured person’s care, as long as they agree to this. For example, if an injured person had a poor outcome following surgery at one hospital and then subsequently underwent a revision procedure elsewhere, the second surgeon might be prepared to provide a witness statement detailing what they found during their procedure.
Medical Expert Reports
If the Defendant does not admit that the care they provided was unacceptable and caused your injuries, then you are going to have to prove it. This can be done by getting reports from independent medical experts. For your claim to succeed, the experts must conclude that:
- The standard of care provided fell below the level to be expected of a reasonably skilled and competent practitioner in the relevant field of medicine at the time in question (it is a defence against your claim if there is a responsible body of medical opinion who would have acted in the same way).
- The unacceptable care was the probable cause of the injury, loss and/or damage suffered.
Prove the financial cost
The compensation you get if your claim is successful is intended to put you back in the position you would have been in if the negligence had not happened. As such, part of the total compensation award will be made up of any past and likely future financial losses and expenses caused by the negligence, such as loss of earnings, medical expenses, costs for special help you need etc.
In order to claim back any losses or expenses you must prove that you have incurred them. Proof that you spent the money can be provided by payslips, bank statements, invoices, receipts etc. This is where ONRECORD is helpful. Using ONRECORD you can easily keep a record of all these expenses, which can go on for months. You can make your record even simpler by recording different kinds of expenses (such as treatment costs or loss of earnings) separate labels. Write what it is and upload a screenshot of the supporting evidence such receipts etc.
Get information about how your claim is investigated
If a complaint has been made to a Defendant (such as a hospital or a doctor) within 12 months of the alleged medical negligence, the Defendant is obliged to investigate the complaint and provide a written response.
As you are the subject of the investigation, you are able to request copies of all the information created by this investigation. The information you can request might include internal and external correspondence, witness statements, meeting notes, clinician comments etc. This documentation can be extremely helpful to you when investigating your medical negligence claim and it is important to request access to all of it.
It’s best to be professionally advised on all these issues and have a specialist lawyer representing you. This is where solicitors like Truth Legal can help you make your case.