When To Take Legal Action for Clinical Negligence?


In an increasingly litigious society, a growing number of healthcare professionals are dragged through the courts for clinical negligence. In the past couple of years, there has been a tendency to sue the current general medical practitioner and the specialist in such cases. Some legal costs associated with litigation have been reduced, not to mention that the use of mediation and other types of dispute resolution to make claims go away have turned out to be useful. 

It would be wrong to assume that people sue without a good reason. Clinical negligence cases involve difficult medical issues for individuals who struggle with life-long injuries after wrongful treatment. Even during these harsh times, there can be medical mistakes. Attention needs to be paid to the fact that there’s no immunity from gross negligence, reckless conduct, or other types of culpability. The injured party and their lawyer must prove that duty of care was breached. 

What Is the Definition of Clinical Negligence? 

Clinical negligence, formerly referred to as medical negligence, is the situation when you sustain an injury, whether physical or psychological, the substandard medical treatment being the cause. It’s practically a claim against a doctor or another healthcare professional and their employer. The claimant must be able to prove the following things: 

  • The physician owed a legal duty of care 
  • They were negligent 
  • The breach caused the claimant injury  
  • Damages and other losses resulted from that harm 

It’s up to the court to determine the pecuniary value to be given to the injuries. Before someone can file a lawsuit alleging clinical negligence, a qualified expert must examine the available medical records. 

Some Examples of Clinical Negligence 

Some errors are more reported than others. In what follows, we’ll provide some examples of clinical negligence cases. Perhaps you’ll recognize some of them. 

  • Failing to diagnose a patient’s condition
  • Incorrect medication prescription or administration of drugs
  • The loss of a “chance”
  • Mistakes during an operation
  • Failing to warn the patient about a treatment’s risk
  • Errors involving anesthesia administration 
  • Failing to obtain consent for a treatment

How To Know If You Have an Actionable Case for Clinical Negligence 

Publicly and privately funded healthcare systems are very good. Generally speaking, people don’t have any problems. At times, things can go wrong. If you’ve been hurt due to negligent medical treatment, you might be able to take legal action for compensation. You can also take action for someone who has been injured but doesn’t have the legal capacity to pursue a claim themselves. 

It can be extremely risky to pursue the matter on your own. Retain legal assistance from a professional who specializes in the area of law you need help with. Consider your needs carefully before hiring a lawyer and determine what benefits they can bring to the case.  It’s important to keep in mind that bringing legal action can turn out to be costly, stressful, and time-consuming. There is a time limit to bring a claim, so don’t postpone the matter. 

If you recognize any of the following signs, most likely clinical negligence has occurred. 

  • Your body doesn’t respond to the treatment
  • Your medical condition isn’t improving
  • You feel dismissed and ignored by your doctor
  • You’ve received a second opinion
  • There is lack of aftercare following your treatment or illness

Reach out to a lawyer specializing in clinical negligence claims and conduct the necessary investigations to determine whether or not you’ve got an actionable case. 

For A Claim for Clinical Negligence to Be Successful, You Must Bring Solid Proof 

You can’t claim compensation just because someone has done you wrong. It’s necessary to prove that they caused a considerable injury. Proof plays a critical role in the success of the lawsuit. In this respect, you should amass evidence, as follows: 

  • Copies of your general practitioner and hospital records
  • Statements from family and friends
  • Your own account of the events

Your legal representative will obtain your written consent to procure the medical records from the various healthcare professionals involved in treating you. Equally, they will select a panel of medico-legal experts to assist them in determining liability and causation. The good news is that clinical negligence cases rarely go to court. This translates into the fact that they settle out of court. 

If You Win a Clinical Negligence Case, You’ll Only Get Financial Compensation 

Compensation for clinical negligence is divided into two categories, namely general damages and special damages. The amount of compensation you’re likely to receive depends on the extent of the injury or illness, the expenses you’ve incurred, not to mention your future needs. More often than not, patients don’t care about financial compensation. They just want an apology and assurance that what happened won’t happen to others as well. 

Depending on the nature of the incident you suffered, the harm it caused, and how it impacted your life financially will be used to establish the proper level of compensation. It would be helpful to keep a record of all expenses incurred and, most importantly, documents that detail those expenses. If they’re responsible for what happened, the defendant will want to enter into negotiations as soon as possible. The chances of a good outcome are greater when you have legal representation.  

North Carolina requires parties to mediate lawsuits. This process involves a neutral mediator who is charged with making sure that both parties reach a settlement. The reason why cases need to settle out of court is that insurers are aware of the fact that doctors are given the benefit of the doubt. So, even if the medical error is obvious, the physician will insist that nothing went wrong. 

Final Considerations 

It’s paramount to prevent medico-legal issues in clinical practice. Many are under the impression that patients are interested solely in obtaining money. Nothing could be further from the truth. The reason why individuals sue is because they want to prevent similar occurrences from happening in the future. To put it simply, they want to hold healthcare professionals accountable for their actions. Unfortunately, frivolous lawsuits have become common.