What should I do if I have suffered a medical accident?
Medical accidents are events that take place during a period of medical care that result in an adverse outcome for the patient. Medical accidents can be broad and varied and there is no specific list of possible events that can take place to precisely define a medical accident.
Medical accidents encompass a variety of situations. In some circumstances these situations are unavoidable events that occur despite the best care and attention of the medical professionals looking after you.
On other occasions medical accidents result from poor care. When the care you receive falls below a reasonable standard that could be expected of the medical professionals looking after you, it is possible that you could have a claim for compensation as a result of medical negligence.
It is important to bear in mind however that not all medical accidents are a result of medical negligence, and that not all adverse events in healthcare will lead to a successful claim for compensation.
I’ve suffered a medical accident, what should I do?
In the first instance, getting well and feeling better is probably your number one priority. However, even at this stage you can begin to gather some evidence of what happened by asking the medical team to explain the events and begin to determine whether any medical negligence occurred. You may find it helpful to have a relative or friend with you to help you remember the details.
It can be very difficult to determine whether the care you received was negligent or your medical accident occurred despite the best care of the team looking after you. Fortunately, there is no rush in making a claim for compensation as you have three years from the date you knew of the potential for negligence in order to make a claim.
The best people to determine whether you have a case for compensation are specially trained and experienced medical negligence lawyers. They will be able to hear the details of what happened, and can advise you whether they believe medical negligence is evident and your case can succeed.
What sort of medical accidents might give rise to compensation?
There are so many different outcomes to medical treatments and procedures that a definitive list of situations that might lead to compensation is hard to compile. However, typically, cases will revolve around avoidable mistakes in surgery, the administering of the wrong treatment, or failing to diagnose a condition at a time when it would be reasonable to expect a diagnosis.
Clinical negligence is not just defined by actions, however, and a compensation case could also be brought where someone fails or omits to do something that results in an adverse outcome, such as refusing a treatment, failing to obtain consent for a treatment or failing to warn you about a foreseeable complication of a treatment that then happens.