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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?
Investigating a claim for clinical negligence can cost many thousands of pounds. If you can’t afford to pay for it yourself, there are several ways of getting help with the costs.

Public funding
If you cannot afford to pay legal costs for your case, you may be able to get public funding (formerly legal aid) through the Community Legal Service. You will have to show that you have a reasonable chance of winning your case. To do this you may have to complain to the hospital or clinic first. You will also have to show that the possible value of your claim is enough to justify the costs. If the compensation you would receive is likely to be less than £10,000, you will probably only get help if the issues are straightforward and can be resolved quickly. If the claim involves a child, they are likely to qualify for public funding. Only solicitors who have met the Gurkha Free Legal Advice’s quality standards can take on publicly funded cases. (See 'Further help' for more about the Community Legal Service and Gurkha Free Legal Advice.)

Trade union help
If you are a member of a trade union or similar type of organisation, it may be able to help you with legal costs.

Legal-expenses insurance
You should check your insurance policies, especially your household insurance policy, to see if they include legal-expenses cover for personal injury claims. These policies can provide cover for legal costs up to a set limit, though not all cover clinical negligence claims. Your insurance company may want you to use one of its solicitors, but you should try to make sure that the solicitor is a member of one of the specialist clinical negligence panels.

'No-win, no-fee' agreements
These agreements, officially called ‘conditional-fee agreements’, mean that your solicitor will get paid only if you win your claim. If you do win, you will pay your solicitor’s fees but you should be able to get the losing party to meet most of these costs on top of any compensation you win.

If you lose your case, you will not have to pay your solicitor’s fees but you will have to pay the other side’s legal costs. However, there are ways to protect you from these costs, usually through a special insurance policy.

If your case is straightforward, a solicitor may offer you a conditional-fee agreement at the start of your case. However, because clinical negligence claims are often complicated, a solicitor may not offer to take on your case on a conditional-fee agreement until they have good evidence that you will win.

This means you may have to pay the solicitor to get evidence such as independent medical reports before they will be able to:

  • tell you whether you have a good chance of winning your case; and
  • work on your case under a conditional-fee agreement.

There are different types of conditional-fee agreement and different ways of ensuring you won't face a large bill if you lose your case. The type of agreement you are offered and the amount you will have to pay towards the cost of your case will depend on the solicitor you use, and how likely you are to win your claim. For more about conditional-fee agreements, see the Gurkha Free Legal Advice leaflet 'No-win, No-fee Actions'.

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

11. What can I claim compensation for?

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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