Often when patients are unhappy with the treatment they have received from an NHS hospital they will make a formal complaint to the Trust. Formal complaints are a useful way of getting essential information about the treatment a patient has received and may sometimes result in that Trust apologising to the aggrieved patient.
Although a Trust may apologise and even admit there have been failings in a patient’s care, this does not necessarily mean that they will admit to wrong doing when legal action is commenced. It is often difficult to prove clinical negligence, so it is useful to have as much guidance from a specialist solicitor, as soon as possible, in order to help you in your claim.
What is NHS Resolution?
NHS Resolution (previously NHS Litigation Authority) usually represents the NHS initially, if you make a claim against them. NHS Resolution holds a database of information about all claims made against the NHS, including potential claims and incidents.
Often, NHS Resolution deals directly with a patient who has made a formal complaint or where a formal investigation has been undertaken into failings in the patient’s care. This may be due to the fact that NHS Resolution feels the NHS Trust is at fault and that the claim can be settled quickly, thereby limiting the costs involved.
Whilst it may appear that dealing with NHS Resolution directly will save time in obtaining compensation; by agreeing to settle a claim directly with NHS Resolution, you are at a significant risk of agreeing to a settlement for an amount less than your claim is potentially worth.
What compensation are you entitled to?
There are various aspects that need to be considered when assessing the value of a clinical negligence claim. A patient is not merely compensated for their physical injury but also for any losses or expenses that have arisen as a result.
Further, in clinical negligence claims it is often necessary to compensate for expenses that are likely to be incurred in the future; for example, the cost of care and treatment. These expenses can be critical to a patient’s recovery and so it is very important to ensure that patients are adequately compensated to cover the costs associated.
How can you obtain expert evidence for a clinical negligence claim?
In order to quantify a clinical negligence claim, it is often necessary to obtain expert medical evidence. Obtaining expert evidence can be very costly. By instructing a solicitor to act on your behalf, the firm will often pay the up front cost of instructing experts, to be recovered from the Defendant if the claim is successful on conclusion.
It is useful to have a solicitor, who is experienced in dealing with clinical negligence claims liaising with that expert, as they will be aware of the legal tests that need to be satisfied and can therefore frame their instructions to the expert accordingly. A specialist solicitor will also be able to identify any potential losses and expenses a patient should be compensated for and can also arrange for treatment and care that is required, to be put in place.
We have often received enquiries from patient’s who have been liaising directly with NHS Resolution and have been offered a settlement amount, asking if we can advise as to whether the offer that has been made is sufficient. Once we have fully assessed your case and obtained the relevant expert evidence, we can advise you as to whether the offer that has been made should be accepted or rejected. If you agree to settle a claim directly with NHS Resolution and it is later shown that the settlement amount agreed was too low, it is not possible to seek further damages. It is therefore important that patients receive professional legal advice about their claim and, in particular, the likely value of their claim before a settlement is agreed.
If you believe you have suffered an injury as a result of clinical negligence, please do not hesitate to get in touch with our team of clinical negligence specialists firstname.lastname@example.org