Filing a Clinical Negligence claim

Health professionals work in tough atmospheres, and they work to the best of their abilities to provide proper care. But sometimes the care you receive may be below expected standards, and such negligence can make an already unhealthy condition worse.

If you are thinking about filing a Clinical Negligence claim and are confused about the process, uncertain of where to start, or unsure of whether to go through with the claim at all, you’ll find this article useful. We will address the 5 main questions to consider prior to beginning a Clinical Negligence case.
If necessary, are you ready to go to Court?

Many Clinical Negligence claims get settled out of court. Studies show that less than 5% of cases end up going to a full Court trial.

Whether you believe your case will go to Court or be settled before the trial begins, it’s worthwhile to prepare yourself for the trial mentally. Govern your behavior and believe everything that you say about your case. How the judge perceives you is of paramount importance.

Question whether you are ready for a Court appearance. Would you be able to provide witness evidence after swearing an oath? Can you endure standing in front of a judge and answer all his questions easily? If the answers to those questions are “no”, then you shouldn’t begin the claim yet. You should, however, inform your solicitor about this and adhere to their recommendations.
Are you prepared to address sensitive medical treatment questions?

Similar to the above, this query refers to your personal levels of comfort and what you are and aren’t able to do.

To determine what the Defendant will ask you, your solicitor will play devil’s advocate. As such, expect to be asked tough questions, ones that may make you feel like the solicitor has turned against you. This is not the case – the solicitor does this to prepare you for the Defendant’s arguments so you can react and respond accordingly. This way, no question will catch you off-guard.

For instance, if your solicitor believes the Defendant will state that you should have addressed your treatment concerns to your doctor earlier, you can expect to be asked:

  • “why did you wait half a year to address your issues?”
  • “Why did you keep letting Dr. X treat you if you were mistrustful of him?”
  • “Why didn’t you obtain a second opinion?”
  • “Why didn’t you act prior to X, Y, or Z occurring?”

Be making you prepared for such harsh questions, they can easily dismantle the Defendant’s argument.

Have you totally recovered?
It is prudent to be completely recovered prior to starting a claim since it will make your injury simpler to assess (i.e. put a financial figure on your delayed recovery/injury, etc.). Be mindful that that bringing a claim can be quite stressful, and if you think such stress will be detrimental to your health, it is recommended that you wait until your health improves to the point where you can get back on the case.

You have a few years to bring a claim; the deadline starts from the time you acknowledge negligence. This is known as Date of Knowledge, and it allows you to get healthier prior to beginning a claim.

Even though it’s not recommended to wait until the eleventh hour of the three-year deadline, it is smart to ensure you have completely recovered, or recover as much as you can, prior to bringing a claim. If you intend to use a solicitor to bring your claim for Clinical Negligence, then it would be wise to speak with them at least half a year prior to the end of the deadline.

Are you bringing a claim on time?
To reintegrate what was mentioned earlier, ensure you bring a claim before the deadline ends. You have a three-year window that starts when you realize you had endured negligence. The time will be barred if you attempt to bring a claim after the deadline expires. In rare situations, a Court might permit the case past the three-year window.

What are my choices for funding?
Many claims for Clinical Negligence can be taken on by a solicitor with an agreement called “No Win No Fee”. This arrangement allows the solicitor to receive up to 25% of your compensation to cover legal fees. This percentage can be negotiated if your solicitor is open to adjusting it.

With a “No Win No Fee Agreement”, you don’t pay any legal fees if you lose in court. However, you may still be responsible for disbursements that were paid by your solicitor on your behalf. Disbursements consist of fees to pay for the medical expert’s contribution, your medical records, Court costs, and the like. Your solicitor may also acquire insurance to keep you protected from having to pay such disbursements, should your case be unsuccessful.

There are additional funding options available; your claim could be funded with pre-existing legal coverage on your car insurance or house & contents insurance. It is worth reviewing your insurance policies to determine if you have this type of coverage. There are advantages to paying for claims using pre-existing insurance policies since several insurance providers will let you keep every cent of your compensation. However, you might not have the benefit of selecting your own solicitor and be subjected to the one selected by the insurance company. It isn’t very likely that you’ll meet them in person and instead communicate with them online or by phone.

In Closing
Bringing a Clinical Negligence claim is a lengthy, tedious process and may test your patience. However, if you consider the process, advise a solicitor, and listen to their recommendations, the process will be much easier.

Are you eligible for UK Statutory Sick Pay (SSP)?

Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) is a payment that an employer is required to make if you, as their employee, are away from work due to illness. It is an underlying regulation that is often superseded by employers’ own sick pay schemes and is enforced by law.

The first thing to do if you are sick is to check your employment contract. Many employers require that sick employees telephone by a certain time to announce their illness and all have a period of self-certification (usually seven days), during which a medical certificate is not required. It is very important to avoid breaching contract.

After the period of self-certification (again dependant on your contract), you will need to see your doctor and obtain a medical certificate. This will either give a certain period of time for recovery or a specific date to return to work. Throughout the period of illness, every day must be covered by a certificate – this is essential. Your employer will want the original for their files, so it’s worth taking a copy.

To be eligible for SSP, three conditions must be met: period of employment, amount of pay and period of sickness. These rules apply for permanent or agency employees (although the latter had different rules before the end of October 2008).

Firstly, you must have been employed by the same company for the eight weeks prior to your claim for sick pay. If the period of employment is shorter than this, it is up to the employer to decide if they wish to pay or not.

Secondly, you must have been earning enough money to make National Insurance contributions. In real terms, this works out to about 90 per week (gross). If your earnings are below this level, the employer is not obliged to pay.

Thirdly, you must have been sick for at least four days (weekends and bank holidays included) before you can claim SSP – that is, one day after the standard period of self-certification.

If all three conditions are met, your employer must pay you at least the basic amount of SSP. At present, this is £75.40 per week (assuming you work full-time). Of course, if the company has their own sickness scheme, you may receive more. You should also bear in mind that you can’t claim SSP at the same time as Statutory Maternity Pay or Maternity Allowance.

Two closing comments are also worthwhile. If you are not eligible or do not receive the full SSP amount (or even if you do, but have a partner who isn’t working), you can usually get government benefits, so contact your local JobCentre Plus; and if you are sick for more than three months, after which it is unlikely your employer will continue payments (and you may even lose your job, dependant on circumstances), you will be eligible for benefits at a higher rate – the period of sickness is considered to have started at the beginning of SSP payments.

Full details of SSP (including what you should do if you should be receiving it and aren’t) can be found on the DirectGov site.

Contact Hadaway & Hadaway for advice and help regarding employment law:
http://www.hadaway.co.uk/employment

Different Types of Solicitors for Different Needs.

In the average week, you may come across several situations where legal advice may be needed. For example, purchasing a property can be quite simple but requires a solicitor to facilitate the transaction.

Another example is if you receive a penalty for a traffic violation, but feel that the violation was incorrect, consulting with someone with the necessary legal background may be the best course of action. Property suits also require a solicitor to ensure everything goes smoothly.

High Street Solicitors

In the scenario where you realize you need legal advice, your initial response may be to consult with a high street solicitor. They are ‘general’ solicitors because they handle consultations related to a wide range of legal areas. In the event that they cannot help you, they will recommend a specialist.

Property Solicitors

When it comes to property, a property or conveyancing solicitor is the person to go to. If you plan to place an offer on a house, the property solicitor will ensure that the entire transaction is performed in a legal manner. In some cases, the transaction can go by faster and more easily.

Divorce Solicitors

It is any couples’ fantasy that their marriage will last forever, however it may not be the case for everyone. In the event of a divorce, a divorce solicitor is needed and must be contacted as soon as possible. This solicitor will ensure that you receive your fair share, which means equal division of property ownership, and a fair settlement.

Injury Solicitors

In the event that you are injured due to someone else’s negligence, in some cases, you are entitled to compensation. An injury solicitor will talk you through what you can do, the needs and wants, and most importantly file a suit against the responsible party or person.

Tax Solicitors

If you’re a business owner, you will be familiar with a tax solicitor. They play one crucial role, and that is to handle your taxes and any related questions. Their knowledge on the UK tax system is comprehensive. If you’re looking to be in good hands when it comes to Inland Revenue, a tax solicitor is the go to person.

Commercial Solicitors

Commercial solicitors are also related to businesses, these individuals handle business disputes, contract arrangements, as well as other types of business-related legal issues. If you have just started your own business, and are not sure of the legal side, a commercial solicitor will be of tremendous help. They offer services such as writing contracts, handling business disputes, and others.

Employment Solicitors

Employment solicitors are there to assist employees and employers with any disputes, an example is unfair dismissals from a workplace.