We are told that a “compensation culture” exists in this country yet less than 1% of patients suffering medical accidents pursue a claim for compensation. Out of nearly 1 million medical accidents in NHS hospitals only 1 in 400 patients make a claim.
Within the past 12 months the Lester Morrill clinical negligence team has successfully pursued claims for clients across a range of medical disciplines resulting in settlements from £7,500 to in excess of £6,000,000. Examples include:
- Jane: dental negligence; a failure to provide adequate hygiene and treatment – £7,500
- Gill: avoidable birth injury 23 years ago resulting in cerebral palsy: £6,000,000
- Justin – failure by ophthalmic surgeon to diagnose detached retina: £9,000
- Gary – delayed treatment for lymphodema (chronic swelling due to failure of lymph drainage): £55,000
- Diane – negligent varicose vein surgery: £13,500
- A Claim on behalf of a daughter for psychiatric negligence leading to the suicide of her mother: £30,000
- Mark – delayed diagnosis, leading to paralysis: £1,125,000.
(Names have been changed to protect client confidentiality)
By pursuing these claims, our clients have highlighted avoidable failings in care to the hospitals, their management and staff. Lessons need to be learnt from these cases to avoid the same mistakes happening again to other patients. Steps also need to be taken to improve the standards of medical care for the benefit of all.
Our clients often express the same sentiment that aside from receiving compensation for their injuries they want explanations as to why their treatment went wrong. They also want reassurance that poorly functioning systems and processes will be identified and altered to prevent further avoidable harm to others.
We can all learn through mistakes but unless we highlight these errors and the harm they cause they will continue, unchecked. Clinical negligence claims are, therefore, crucially important from a number of perspectives. Funding to investigate them is available through legal aid (for young children), no-win no fee-agreements and legal expenses insurance.
If you think you or someone you know is a victim of a medical accident, you should consult a specialist clinical negligence solicitor who is experienced in this area.