Claiming Compensation For Clinical Negligence

Generally in order to successfully make a negligence claim for personal injury, the claimant must show that the defendant failed to act with the same degree of care and skill as an ordinary reasonable person. However, under the case of Hedley Byrne v. Heller where someone holds himself out as having specialist skills or knowledge, and it is reasonable for people to rely on these skills then he will be judged according to the standards of a reasonably competent person with those skills.
The case of Bolam v. Frien Hospital Management Committee confirmed that in order to avoid being negligent, doctors and other clinical staff would need to make sure that they acted to the same standard as a reasonably competent medic. The court will accept that a doctor’s conduct is in line Chambers British Legal System with this standard if it can be shown that he acted in accordance with a “reasonable body of medical opinion”. This takes into account the fact that there may be a number of differing views on the appropriate treatment to give in a particular case, each of which may be equally valid.
There are a variety of ways in which a doctor’s conduct may not be in line with a reasonable body of medical opinion or practice and will therefore be negligent:
1. Failing to competently diagnose, or overlooking an obvious diagnosis
2. Not ordering routine tests or scans to rule out common disorders
3. Failing to use appropriate equipment or techniques, or undertaking treatment which is outside his specialist area
4. Not referring a matter to a specialist consultant Personal Injury Lawyer In Ct if it is outside his area of expertise
5. Not keeping accurate medical notes or failing to update medical records properly
6. Failing to keep up to date on developments in practice
Anyone who has suffered a personal injury as a result of clinical negligence may be able to make a personal injury claim for compensation. In the context of clinical negligence, personal injury tends to have a wider meaning than in other types of negligence cases. For example, where a patient has a pre-existing medical condition which could be easily treated, but the doctor negligently fails to diagnose this then the patient has suffered a ‘personal injury’ in that his condition has been allowed to continue and has impacted his quality of life, whereas if it had been correctly diagnosed, this damage would not have resulted.
The majority of clinical negligence cases in the UK are fought against the Primary Care Trust or Health Board which employs the doctors in question and the NHS has set up a special agency called the “NHS Litigation Authority” to deal with these claims and to defend them in court if necessary. The NHS Litigation Authority has a great deal of experience in defending these types of cases and a claim for clinical negligence is not something which you should try and make yourself without specialist legal representation.
This is a highly complicated and technical area of law and most high street solicitors will not be able to help you with your claim – use a personal injury solicitor finder service to locate an appropriately qualified professional.

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