How can I claim compensation?
There is no system in the UK for automatically paying compensation to people who have suffered a medical accident. Sometimes, a hospital may admit it has made a mistake and offer you compensation, but this is usually for relatively minor injuries or losses. In most cases, you will need to make a legal claim for 'clinical negligence'.
If you live in Wales, you may be able to use the fast-track compensation the Speedy Resolution Scheme, which aims to settle claims quickly and reduce costs, but you can use it only:
- if your injury was due to treatment provided by an NHS Trust in Wales; and
- for ‘small’ claims of between £5,000 and £15,000.
There are some other rules governing whether this scheme can deal with your claim. You will need to talk to a specialist clinical negligence solicitor from AvMA or the Law Society Clinical Negligence Panel to decide whether you can use the scheme and weigh up its possible benefits and drawbacks.
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- Community Legal Advice
If an elderly relative suffers an injury in an accident - such as a slip, trip or fall - that was caused by the negligence of a third party, it is possible to make a personal injury compensation claim on their behalf.
If you have been injured during treatment, you must first make sure you are getting the right treatment to try and correct the injury. You may need to get a second opinion or ask your doctor to refer you to another hospital or clinic.
If you have been injured physically or psychologically by a healthcare professional's negligence, you may be able to claim compensation. The injury needs to be serious enough to make it worthwhile paying the costs of making a claim.
If your treatment was private, you need to follow the same steps as you would for NHS care, except that you won't be able to use the NHS complaints procedure. However, private hospitals and private clinics must by law have their own complaints procedure.
If your injury was caused by faulty medical equipment, such as an artificial hip joint, you may be able to claim under the Consumer Protection Act 1987. This also applies to medical products, for example if you were injured or made ill from a blood product.
Medical professionals owe their patients a ‘duty of care’, which means that they are responsible for providing an acceptable level of care to the patient. Medical negligence is a professional negligence by act or omission on the part of a healthcare provider whereby they have breached their duty of care towards the patient and their actions have caused injury or death.
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