It’s a sad fact that not all medical or dental treatment has a successful outcome. If you or a loved one has suffered harm as a result of negligent or substandard treatment, it’s vital that you receive expert advice and support when pursuing any compensation claim.
At Browell Smith & Co we not only have the requisite experience in this field, but a team of highly-skilled solicitors with the legal and medical expertise to assist you when you need it most.
We are a recognised medical negligence practice and member of “Action against medical accidents (AVMA)”.
We know this complex area of law can be particularly emotive, which is why we guarantee that all cases are conducted with the appropriate knowledge and empathy to ensure the best results for you.
It is not just about your solicitors having the requisite experience. It is essential that the right experts are instructed to ensure a positive outcome. Due to our presence in the legal field we have, over the years, developed relationships with medical experts, care experts and barristers to ensure the best results for our clients.
If you are dissatisfied with any aspect of the care that you or a family member have received from an NHS health care provider, you have a right to complain.
Each NHS organisation has a complaints procedure in place. Information about it can be provided by clinical staff, the hospital’s complaints department or the controlling Trust’s website.
Complaints should normally be made as soon as possible and certainly within 12 months of the date of the event in question. The Trust has the discretion to extend the time limit depending on the circumstances of an individual case.
Having established what the Trust’s complaints procedure is, the first step is to bring the nature of the complaint to the attention of the health care provider involved or, alternatively, the Trust’s complaint manager. The complaint can be made verbally or in writing. A letter of complaint is preferable as it provides a record of the complaint. It is a good idea to keep a copy of the letter of complaint and all correspondence received in response. The letter should include details of:
• The patient in question.
• What aspect of care is being complained about.
• When and where the events in question occurred.
• What the patient hopes to achieve from the complaints process.
• In the first instance, the complaint will be handled within the Trust, a process called local resolution.
• The complaints process, as it currently exists, is not a mechanism for obtaining compensation but it might result in:
• An explanation for what happened.
• An apology.
• An indication of the steps that will be taken to review/improve performance.
If the patient or family are not satisfied with the outcome of the local resolution process, the matter can be referred to the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (contact : 0345 0154 033). The Ombudsman is independent of the NHS and the Government.
If help is required making a complaint then the following organisations can assist:-
• The Patient Advice and Liaison Services (PALS). They have a point of contact within each NHS Trust and they are able to advise the patient on how to make a complaint and reach informal resolution.
• The Independent Complaints Advocacy Service (ICAS). They can help you make a formal complaint about NHS services by providing free and confidential advice and support.
• Alternatively, Citizens Advice Bureaux can provide further information on NHS complaints as can NHS Direct.
Using the NHS complaints procedure does not involve complex legal documentation, does not need lawyers to be involved and does not cost anything in terms of legal fees or expenses.
The Legal Services Commission (Legal Aid Board) usually expects a complaint to have been made when an eligible person submits an application for public funding (Legal Aid) in order to pursue a civil claim for compensation.
In general, there is a three year time limit for claiming medical negligence compensation.
This time limit will run from either the date that:
The negligence occurred or that You became aware that the treatment you received was negligent
Yes, if the negligence relates to treatment of a child, or an adult who doesn’t have mental capacity, then the time limits for claiming are different.
The three-year time limit for claiming compensation doesn’t apply to under 18s. However, it will come into effect after their 18th birthday and then expire when they turn 21.
Adult without mental capacity
The time limit doesn’t apply to adults without the mental capacity to make their own decisions. This will only apply if and when they regain mental capacity.
If your case has already started
Cases don’t have to be concluded within a certain timeframe: there’s no time limit for finishing your claim if you’ve already started the process.
Claims on behalf of deceased loved ones
If a loved one has passed away due to medical negligence, you will also face a time limit in order to claim compensation for your loss, as well as your loved one’s pain and suffering. We advise you to speak to a solicitor as soon as possible if you believe that their death could have been caused by medical negligence.
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