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તમારા વિસ્તારમાં કોઇ કાનૂની સલાહકાર શોધો

14 Medical Accidents

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1. Introduction

2. What is a medical accident?

3. What should I do if I have suffered a medical accident?

4. How do I find out more about what happened to me?

5. What if I want to complain about a professional´s behaviour?

6. When can I claim compensation?

7. How do I claim compensation?

8. How do I decide whether to take legal action?

9. What if I can´t afford to pay for a solicitor?

10. What do I have to prove to claim compensation?

11. What can I claim compensation for?
You can claim compensation ('damages') for any injuries or losses that you can prove were the direct result of the healthcare provider's negligence. This could include compensation for:

  • pain and suffering, which can be physical, psychological or both, including, for example, ongoing treatment and further operations;
  • if you can't carry out daily activities or hobbies (called 'loss of amenity');
  • loss of earnings;
  • the costs of nursing care, including care that your family provides, special equipment, medical care, or help that you need to carry out daily activities;
  • the costs of adapting your home.

If the case is about someone who died because of clinical negligence, you can claim the following:

  • If your husband, wife, civil partner or a child under 18 died before January 2008, you can claim bereavement damages of £10,000. If the person died after January 2008, you can claim bereavement damages of £11,800.
  • If you were financially dependent on the person who died, you can claim for the loss of their financial support (called ‘loss of dependency’).

You can also claim on behalf of someone who has died for their pain and suffering and for any financial losses that were as a result of their accident.

When you first see the solicitor, they will probably be able to give you only a rough idea of how much compensation you might get. They will have to take into account certain social security benefits you get because of your injury, such as Income Support. This is because you benefits could affect how much compensation you will receive.

Will I have to appear in court?
If your case goes to trial, you will have to appear in court. But there is a good chance that your case won’t go to trial.

Until a few years ago, clinical negligence claims could take years to deal with. However, many cases are now settled more quickly, often within one to two years and at less cost. This is because of rules introduced in 1999, which cover the way clinical negligence cases are run.

More and more cases are now settled before legal proceedings are issued, called the 'pre-action' stage. Under the new rules, you and the organisation you are claiming against (the defendant) are encouraged to share information about your complaint to try and settle the matter quickly.

Your solicitor will need to start formal legal proceedings if:

  • the defendant doesn't accept that they should pay you compensation; or
  • you are close to the three-year time limit.

Once this happens, your case will run on a timetable set down by the court. But your case is still very unlikely to end in a trial, where you would have to give evidence. Most cases are ‘settled’ before the date set for a trial. This happens when either the defendant agrees to pay compensation, or you or your advisors decide that you no longer have enough chance of success and you decide to withdraw your claim.

To help people reach an early settlement, the courts also want to encourage both sides to look at other ways of settling disputes, including mediation. Mediation is where an independent person comes in to help both parties agree on how to settle the matter. For more ways of settling disputes without going to court, see the Gurkha Free Legal Advice leaflet, 'Alternatives to Court'.

12. What can I do if my treatment was private?

13. What if a relative has died as a result of a medical accident?

14. What if my injury was caused by faulty medical equipment?

15. What if I want to make sure that the same mistake is not repeated?

16. Further help

17. About this leaflet

Logo of AVMAThis leaflet is published by the Gurkha Free Legal Advice (LSC). It was written in association with Action Against Medical Accidents.

Leaflet Version: June 2008

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