Medical negligence is a surprisingly common problem worldwide, with millions of cases happening each year. Sadly, only a small percentage of those incidents are actually brought to court or remedied, as many times victims of medical negligence aren’t aware of the law and their right to compensation. Fortunately, for those who are willing to do a bit of research, it’s possible to at least partially rectify any wrongdoing that was done to you by a medical professional via an act of negligence that would be considered medical malpractice.
Medical negligence occurs not only when a doctor or nurse accidentally or inadvertently makes a mistake, but also when their employer doesn’t implement the correct procedures or make changes following previous mistakes. Thus, anyone who has been harmed either physically or financially due to malpractice has a strong case that should be brought to trial. However, before you rush to file a claim overzealously, it’s important to prepare for the process by heeding the 10 essential tips below.
1. Consult with Professionals First
Although it’s possible to represent yourself in court, doing so will give you a lower chance of winning in court. While it is true that many providers will try to settle out of court, as we mention later, that is not always your best option. Thus, the ideal starting point in your journey would be to talk to experienced medical negligence solicitors. This website – the-medical-negligence-experts.co.uk – is a useful resource and can provide some initial guidance and opinions on whether you do indeed have a case that has a high chance of receiving a favorable judgment.
2. Do Your Own Research As Well
Although consulting with a professional is an essential step to get an idea of where you’re at from a legal standpoint, it’s also imperative that you do your own due diligence. Doing your homework will ensure that you’re personally able to make important decisions related to the case, including selecting the best medical negligence solicitors. If you don’t know anything about pursuing a medical negligence claim, proceeding without first having a rudimentary understanding of the law and the processes involved is not a wise course of action.
3. File the Claim as Soon as Possible
Waiting to file the claim will only decrease your chances of winning in court, and since a settlement will usually not provide the same level of compensation as a positive judgment, it’s better to file early so that you can being the waiting process before your trial date. Although the exact amount of time you’ll have to file a claim will differ depending on your local laws, in the UK you have three years, so that’s plenty of time. Still, ideally, you want to file your claim within six months of the medical negligence occurring.
4. Ensure You Have a Complete Record of All Documentation
When the time finally does come for you to go to court and represent your case with the assistance of your chosen lawyer, it’s going to be best if you have all the necessary documentation to prove all of your allegations. Testimonies and other factors can go a long way, but the case will go much smoother if you have documented evidence of your claims.
5. Contact Professionals Who May Be Able to Give Testimony
Have an expert testify in your favor can be a game changer at trial, and even if you do opt to settle for an out of court settlement, you’ll usually receive a higher offer if the medical provider in question knows that you have experts ready to testify on your behalf. Of course, judges will take the testimonies of experienced professionals with more weight than your own say so, but this doesn’t necessarily have to be part of your case in order to facilitate a victory.
6. Don’t Rush to Settle Out of Court if you Have a Strong Case
Inevitably, if your case is good and the medical provider in question knows it, they are certainly going to offer an out of court settlement. When you have bills piling up and other financial issues, it definitely can seem like taking the settlement is the best option. However, you stand to receive a much larger compensation amount if you take the case to trial and win, so keep that in mind before you accept the settlement offer.
7. Pay Attention to Upcoming Dates
When you have a lot going on in your life, it can be tough to juggle a tight schedule while also being on time for meetings and court dates that are important for your case. It’s a good idea to have a designated folder and schedule that you use to store all of your appointment reminders, documentation, and other information related to the case. By centralizing your organizational efforts and placing your case-related events at the highest priority on your schedule, you should be able to prevent yourself from missing anything important, which could potentially postpone your trial date and subsequent compensation.
8. Understand the Type of Negligence Involved
At this point, if you’ve heeded the tips above you should already have a thorough understanding of medical negligence claims as a whole. When you get some spare time, be sure to look into the specific kind of negligence related to your case. Studying case history and looking up statistics related to the illness or scenario that your case pertains to will help you gain a better understanding of how to best approach your case strategically, which is something that you’d also want to discuss with your attorney.
9. Opt for a Successful Law Firm
Once you’ve taken all of the preliminary steps above, it’s time to choose the law firm that is going to help you represent your case in court. Look for a firm of medical negligence lawyers that can prove a high win rate with a case similar to yours. If they’ve done it many times for other people in the past, there’s a good chance they can do it for you as well. If a high probability of success and higher compensation is what you’re after, hiring a medical malpractice claims solicitor is certainly worth the investment. Plus, as we’ll mention in the final tip below, sometimes you might not even have to pay upfront.
10. Consider Going Pro Bono
If you have a really good case that is definitely going to win, it should be easy to find medical negligence UK lawyers that will take your case pro bono, or on a no-win-no-fee basis. In such an arrangement, you would only pay after the compensation has been received, so you’re essentially paying them with a percentage of those funds.
Use This List as a Pocket Guide
You may not have the time or interest to look into all of the activities and research-related tasks that would result from following the advice given in the ten tips above. Instead of taking a quick mental note and never following up with these recommendations, it would be wise to bookmark this page and go through each of the 10 processes thoroughly once you have the time to do so.