Filing a clinical negligence claim is not a prospect that many of us relish. But we’d be poorer (in every sense of the word) were the option not available to us. If you’re in this position, then it’s easy to become stressed, and possibly befuddled, by the process you’ll need to go through. Let’s see if we can demystify at least a portion of it.
The hoops you’ll need to jump through serve a common purpose: to evidence the truth of your claim. For this reason, it’s crucial that you collect as much evidence as possible throughout your care.
Of course, the possibility of things going wrong may not have been foremost in your mind at the outset of your care. If you have misplaced something, then try not to worry about it too much – just know that the more paperwork you have, the easier things will be.
The Letter of Complaint
The most important piece of paperwork, in any case, is your letter of complaint. Most medical practices, whether they’re run privately or by the NHS, will have an internal complaints process, via which the organisation will be able to determine what went wrong and why. Documents created by this investigation will need to be provided to the injured person.
Every time you’re provided with treatment, a record will be kept of the activity. These records reveal the nature of the treatment given. The good news is that GDPR entitles you to these records for free – just ask for them. The organisation has a month to reply.
Your testimony is a form of evidence. Your solicitor will help you to come up with the most accurate possible version of events in a witness statement, which you can present to the court. Statements might also be collected from family and friends who can back you up.
Getting a Second Opinion
It can be tricky to establish whether the quality of care has fallen below the required standard. While your family and friends might have a strong sense of what you’re going for, they might lack the medical expertise to persuade the courts. That’s where the testimony of an impartial expert can be invaluable; they’ll assess the treatment you’ve received, and pen a report on whether it was up to standard.
A good medical negligence solicitor will not only be able to bring legal expertise to the table, but medical expertise, too. They’ll have access to a broad range of contacts in the industry, each of whom can offer highly specialised insight into the quality of care you’ve received.
The whole point of a civil claim like this is to compensate you for the injury. This means putting you back in the same position you would have occupied had you not been injured. This often means damages. But for the court to award these, they’ll need to understand how much you’ve lost. As such, keep records of your finances and expenses.