Answering the following questions can help you to consider whether you, or a loved one, could bring a claim for personal injury or medical negligence.
Please note, however, that there may be reasons why a claim would succeed that are difficult for a non-lawyer to see. There may also be other legal remedies which could assist you. We would need to investigate the case, in order to know for certain whether it has a good chance of succeeding.
If you wish to discuss the possibility of bringing a claim, please contact us.
Have you or a member of your family been injured in an accident or experienced an unexpectedly poor outcome from medical treatment?
Anyone who has been injured or has suffered deterioration in their health, as a result of negligence, may be able to bring a claim. Some examples include a person who:
- is injured in an accident that was not their fault
- suffers a worsening of their medical condition or an injury because of substandard medical treatment
- is not diagnosed with a medical condition as soon as they should be (or is incorrectly diagnosed)
- sustains injuries (such as brain damage) during birth
- experiences failures in antenatal care which meant that problems with the health of the fetus were not diagnosed (particularly where this would have affected their decision to continue the pregnancy)
- develops a disease due to someone else’s negligence (such as exposure to harmful substances or diseases in the workplace)
If someone has died as a result of negligence, their Estate and/or dependants may be able to bring a claim in relation to their death.
Is the claim for you or someone you know?
You can bring a claim if you have been directly affected by personal injury or medical negligence.
If the claim is for a child (or an adult who lacks ‘mental capacity’) a family member or other trusted person can act as a ‘Litigation Friend’ and bring the claim on their behalf.
If a claim relates to someone’s death, it can be brought by the Executor(s) of the deceased’s Estate. Alternatively, the claim can be brought by the deceased’s dependant(s), if the Exector(s) has not begun the claim within six months of the death.
Is the claim within the time limit?
There are strict time limits for bringing a negligence claim for injury or death in England and Wales. This is called the limitation period.
- The usual rule is that a claim must be formally started at Court within three years of the date of the negligence or three years from when the injured person should reasonably have been aware that there might be grounds to bring a claim (if that date is later)
- If the claim is for a child, they usually have until their 21st birthday for their claim to be formally started at Court
- If an injured person does not have ‘mental capacity’ to bring the claim themselves, there is usually no time limit. If they later regain mental capacity, the three year time limit begins to run from that point
- Claims relating to someone’s death should normally be brought within three years of the date on which they died or within three years of the ‘date of knowledge’ of the person who would benefit from the claim
There may be other types of claim or circumstances in which different time limits apply. In some rare situations, it may even be possible to argue that a claim should be allowed after the end of the limitation period
It takes time to investigate a claim, so you should contact us as soon as possible.
Will the injured person benefit from compensation?
Compensation is intended to put right, as far as possible, the effects of the negligence.
We understand that no amount of money can undo the impact of a serious injury or illness. However, compensation which provides an individualised package of care and support can be life enhancing.
Depending upon the circumstances, compensation may include funds for some or all of the following:
- Private care
- Private therapies and medical treatment
- Specialist equipment and vehicles
- Adapted accommodation
- Support with education or work (if that is possible for the injured person)
- Compensation for loss of earnings and pension
- Compensation for losses in self-employment
In most cases, if you do not have any on-going effects or significant losses caused by your injury, any compensation you can obtain is likely to be quite limited.
Does the claim relate to the death of someone who was supporting family members?
If someone has died as a result of negligence, a claim may be brought to compensate their Estate and any dependant relatives whom they were supporting, either financially or practically. For example, this might include situations in which the deceased had been caring for a child or a disabled relative or where they had been contributing financially to their household.
A limited amount of bereavement damages can also be claimed by the deceased’s spouse, civil partner or long-term co-habiting partner. If a child dies, these bereavement damages can instead be claimed by the child’s parents.
A claim may also include damages for funeral expenses and any losses incurred by the deceased between the date of injury and the date of death (if death did not occur immediately).
Situations in which we often assist
Our experienced team of solicitors act for clients in a wide range of claims, including cases arising from:
- Medical negligence (where substandard treatment provided by the NHS or a private healthcare provider has led to a worsening of someone’s medical condition)
- Road traffic accidents
- Injuries or diseases caused in the workplace, at school, or in some other place outside the home
- Accidents on holidays or organised trips (including accidents which occur abroad)
- Injury claims for members of the Armed Forces
- Suicide of someone under psychiatric care
When to contact us
Please contact us if you believe that you or a family member may have been affected by personal injury or medical negligence. We will discuss how we may be able to help. If you do not want to take things further, there will be no charge.
We support many injured people and families through the process of bringing a claim each year and frequently secure substantial awards of compensation for them. Our specialist expertise is recognised by the legal directories Legal 500 and Chambers UK.
Partner and Head of Department