If you ever happen to pick up a paper or read the headlines coming from other countries, predominantly the United States, you’ll see massive sums being awarded to claimants when suing for medical negligence. Unfortunately, it isn’t as easy to win claims in the UK because there are basic protections in tort law that are built into the system to protect the NHS, which is already overburdened and underfunded. When you are told that your best course of getting an acceptable outcome is to work with compensation specialists, there are very good reasons for this. Take a look at why you need medical negligence solicitors when filing a claim in the UK.
Claims Managed by the NHS Litigation Authority
Just take a look at who handles a medical negligence claim for the NHS. It’s a team of high-powered litigators who are specialists in the field. A litigator is trained in the art of legal dialogue within the courts. Sometimes there is no working around what they offer the court because their summation is based on tort law. As a patient simply wanting compensation for medical malpractice, you can’t even begin to compete with their mastery of tort law. For this reason, above all others, medical negligence solicitors are not only necessary but in very high demand.
Most Common Medical Negligence Claims UK Statistics
Of the most common medical negligence claims, UK statistics indicate that misdiagnosis, medication error and delayed care are the top three. Now you can also see why delayed care is amongst the top causes for filing medical negligence claims. Sometimes it takes literally months to get to see your GP and if you are a member of the NHS, there isn’t a thing you can do but wait your turn. While many patients have begun going to private doctors, many more simply cannot afford the cost after paying such a hefty amount into the NHS each year. Medical negligence lawyers are quick to spot this void in the system and are in a better position to reason it out with the courts as to why that delay resulted in a worsening of the health concern, sometimes with fatal outcomes. Some solicitors such as The Medical Negligence Experts allow people from the public to contact experts by phone in order to receive advice about their experiences to whether or not they have a claim. The Medical Negligence Experts do this free of charge, so if you want to keep costs down ensure you aren’t contacting anyone who is going to charge you for their initial advice.
How the NHS Protects Itself Against Major Claims
Backtracking now to how the NHS protects itself against claims, it can be understood in the context of how the system works. Each year, a budget is established, and all claims are paid from this budget. To give you an example, in the year 2007, the NHS Litigation Authority was operating with a budget totalling £2,642.36 million. They also reported a surplus of £3.3 million at the end of that fiscal year, 2007 – 2008. Since most claims are filed against the NHS and taken from money contributed by taxpayers, the National Health Service Trusts and Health Authorities must work within a given budget. The best medical negligence solicitors have their work cut out for them when working against the government itself. Bear in mind that the government establishes the rules taxpayers are required to play by. It takes a team of experts to beat the experts at their own game!
Devastating Consequences of Delayed Care
This is currently a very contentious point in the UK. While taxpayers are required to fund the NHS to receive services, sometimes those services are too slow in coming. Are you aware of the fact that more than half the delayed care claims arise in maternity issues? Can you imagine a mother in labour unable to get care because of an overloaded system? Other delayed care claims came about as the result of waiting for specialist care after a preliminary diagnosis of disease.
Sometimes waiting months to be seen by that specialist, the condition was, by then, too advanced for a favourable outcome. Wrongful death is among the most common complaints in this type of delayed care claim. Sometimes the delayed care didn’t result in death but in debilitating conditions that left the patient chronically disabled and unable to attend to their line of work. Some patients have suffered fatal heart attacks because they couldn’t be seen in time to get adequate treatment and surgery if necessary. These kinds of cases just keep piling up and the overload is out of control.
Errors in Medications
Another common complaint resulting in a medical negligence UK claim is errors in prescribing drugs. Most often, the complaint is the result of careless prescriptions which have been double the safe amount, and other times, it is simply of prescribing the wrong medication for the wrong condition. Most often these complaints are registered against primary physicians, but specialists have been cited as well.
While it is easy to understand that there is a shortage of primary care physicians and those working are terribly overburdened, there is no excuse for this type of oversight. In fact, unless the error led to serious consequences, many taxpayers don’t even bother. There are those that do understand the importance of getting a medical negligence expert to represent them in making a claim. There are just too many to deal with and a solicitor can work towards moving things along.
The Tragedy of Misdiagnosis
Sometimes misdiagnoses and delay in care go hand in hand. It has happened that a patient was misdiagnosed and as a result didn’t get the care they needed timely. Claims by family members of patients who died, as a result, are numerous. Also, sometimes patients are diagnosed with illnesses and diseases they never had. Modern technology is helping to advance the accuracy of diagnoses, but that would be a problem if a proper budget isn’t allocated for scanning technology powerful enough to make a sound diagnosis. One UK woman was mentioned on CBS in the United States as having been misdiagnosed with cancer. She then underwent chemo, only to discover that her condition had been misdiagnosed. She never had cancer in the first place.
A Brief Summary and Takeaway
So, now that you have a brief understanding of how claims are handled by the NHS and that they really only continue to add costs to an already overburdened system, you can see why the government will fight with everything they’ve got to resist paying claims. It should also be noted at this time that physicians not working within the National Health System carry their own liability to cover these issues and a medical negligence expert would be advisable under these circumstances as well. If you think it’s difficult fighting government on a medical malpractice claim, try working against global insurance companies.
Your key takeaway would be to understand why you need a no win, no fee medical negligence expert to work on your behalf. You are not as well versed in tort law and unless represented by high powered litigators, your claim may be lost in the shuffle. Be aware of the leading causes of medical negligence claims, but also know that these are, by far, not the only reasons you can file a claim. If the care you receive, or the lack thereof, resulted in injury or wrongful death, you have grounds for filing a claim. Contact an expert without delay.