Medical Negligence & Personal Injury FAQs

Use the FAQs below to find out more about bringing a claim and the way in which Kingsley Napley can support you and your loved ones through the process.
 

If you have suffered a personal injury or an unexpectedly poor outcome from medical treatment and would like to discuss the possibility of bringing a claim, please contact us or call 020 7814 1200.

Do I have a case?

Anyone who has been injured or has suffered a deterioration in their health, as a result of an accident that was someone else’s fault or because of medical negligence, may be able to bring a claim for compensation.

Compensation can provide funds for life-enhancing, high quality care and support, as well as compensation for losses, such as lost earnings and pension (including in relation to self-employment).

If someone has died, the Executor(s) of their Estate or their dependents may be able to claim for compensation.

To help you consider this further, see our Do I have a case? page.

 

Why instruct Kingsley Napley in a medical negligence or personal injury claim?

We are a highly experienced team, specialising in medical negligence and personal injury, and committed to achieving the best outcome for every client.  Each of our cases is run by a specialist lawyer and led by a partner.   We work with leading experts and barristers to ensure that every case has the best opportunity to succeed.

We frequently achieve very substantial settlements in a range of claims, including multi-million pound settlements for adults and children who have suffered catastrophic injuries.  In some cases, this has included settlements of well over £20million.

Our expertise is recognised by high rankings in the legal directories Legal 500 and Chambers UK.  We are also members of specialist panels and organisations which represent injured people including the Spinal Injuries Association (SIA), Headway (the brain injury association) and Action against Medical Accidents (AvMA).

For further information, including comments from our clients and the legal directories, see Why Instruct Kingsley Napley?

 

Do you offer free initial advice?

Yes. We are happy to meet with you to discuss the possibility of bringing a claim. We will explain clearly what is involved and how claims are funded.  If you decide that you do not want to take things further, there will be no charge.

 

Can I bring a claim on behalf of a child or an adult who is unable to do it themselves?

If a claim is for a child or an adult who does not have ‘mental capacity’; a family member (or other trusted person) can act as a ‘Litigation Friend’ and bring the claim on their behalf.

If you are unsure about whether you can bring a claim on someone else’s behalf, we will be able to advise you. 

 

Can I bring a claim relating to someone’s death?

A claim relating to someone’s death can be brought by the Executor(s) of their Estate or the deceased’s dependant(s).  “Dependent” is a wide term and can include:

  • Spouse or civil partner
  • Long-term cohabiting partner
  • Children and stepchildren
  • Parents
  • Grandparents
  • Siblings
  • Aunts and uncles

We can advise on whether you are entitled to bring a claim in connection with someone’s death.  We can also help you with any further steps you may need to take to represent their Estate (such as obtaining a Grant of Letters of Administration if the deceased died without leaving a Will).

 

 How are claims funded?

We offer a number of ways of funding a claim.  Most of our cases are funded by Conditional Fee Agreements (popularly known as “no win, no fee” agreements). 

In some cases, clients are able to use a Legal Expenses Insurance policy to fund their claim or they may choose to fund their claim privately.

Legal Aid (State funding) is only available for medical negligence claims on behalf of children who sustained neurological injury (brain damage) causing serious disability, due to negligence which occurred prior to, or in the weeks immediately following, their birth.  We are one of small number of solicitors’ firms able to offer Legal Aid funding for this type of case.

For more information, see our How are claims funded? page.

 

How will you deal with my case?

Our team approach means that your case will be dealt with by a specialist lawyer, led by a partner, and supported by more junior members of the team.  You will receive regular updates and will be able to contact your lawyer if you have any questions.  We will advise you and ask for your instructions whenever a decision needs to be taken.

We use leading experts and barristers in the fields of medical negligence and personal injury to maximise the likelihood that claims will succeed.   Typically, there will be case conferences during your claim with the barrister and expert(s), which you will be able to attend.

You will be closely involved throughout the process.

 

Can I transfer an existing case to Kingsley Napley?

Yes. Clients sometimes decide to transfer their case to Kingsley Napley from another firm of solicitors.  There are a variety of reasons for this.  Some clients did not realise at the beginning of their claim that they would need specialist solicitors.  Others have been advised that their claim will not succeed and ask us to consider investigating their case further.

Some people choose to transfer their case because we also offer Deputyship services for children and adults who are not able to manage their compensation themselves.

For further information on when it might be appropriate to transfer your case and the process for doing so, see our Can I transfer a case to Kingsley Napley? page.

 

What is the process for bringing a claim?

We start by obtaining evidence such as medical records, witness statements, and expert evidence to prove that an injury or worsened medical condition was caused by negligence.

We also calculate the amount of compensation to be claimed.  Typically, this involves instructing experienced experts to advise on the injured person’s needs, in order to maximise the level of compensation.  We then try to reach a financial settlement with the Defendant (the individual or organisation legally responsible) or their insurer. 

In some cases, settlement is agreed at an early stage.  In other circumstances, it may be necessary to begin Court proceedings.  For further information on this process, read our Guide to Making a Claim.

 

Will I have to go to Court?

Probably not.  The vast majority of medical negligence and personal injury claims are not decided by the Court.   Successful claims are usually resolved by agreeing a settlement either before or during formal Court proceedings.

Occasionally; however, the Court will decide a case, if it cannot be resolved any other way.

Where compensation is agreed for a child (or for an adult who does not have ‘mental capacity’), the Court will be asked to consider and approve the settlement.  This is a safeguard required under the Court rules to ensure that the settlement is in the best interests of the injured person.

 

How is the amount of compensation decided?

We tailor the compensation claimed to meet the needs of the injured person.

The first step is to consider how the disabilities have affected their life and whether that will change in the future.  We then calculate the amount of funds required to meet their additional needs and compensate them.  Depending upon the circumstances, this may include funds for:

  • Private care
  • Private therapies and medical treatment
  • Specialist equipment and vehicles
  • Adapted accommodation
  • Support with education and work (if that is possible for the injured person)
  • Compensation for loss of earnings and pension
  • Compensation for losses in self-employment

We regularly use leading experts and barristers to assist in identifying all aspects of an injured person’s needs.  This can include predicting the long-term needs of disabled children and adults over their whole lifetime, to ensure that they are fully compensated.

If someone has died, the claim usually relates mainly to compensating the deceased’s dependents for the practical and/or financial support which they would otherwise have received from the deceased.

 

How long will it take to get compensation?

Medical negligence and personal injury claims usually involve detailed investigation and expert evidence.  Therefore, they often take several years to resolve.

Our approach is to seek an admission of liability (i.e. that negligence occurred and caused injury) as early as possible in the process.

When liability is established, the Defendant usually has to pay part of the compensation immediately.  This allows the injured person’s needs to begin to be met, while the work to quantify the full amount of compensation continues.   In a high value claim, this interim payment can be substantial and might cover; for example, the cost of a private care package and purchasing specially adapted equipment or accommodation.

 

Can you also help me with rehabilitation and obtaining specialist therapies?

Wherever appropriate, we will involve experts to advise on the injured person’s needs.  For example, this might include specialist doctors, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, speech and language therapists or experts in technology and accommodation for disabled people.  The experts’ recommendations are used to calculate the compensation. These recommendations can also provide the injured person with information about the rehabilitation and specialist therapies which are most suitable for them.

We are signatories to the Serious Injury Guide.  The Guide applies to high value personal injury claims and encourages Defendants to agree to early access to rehabilitation (to maximise the chances of recovery), as well as encouraging early resolution of claims.  Many Insurers are also signatories to this Guide.

 

Can you advise on managing the compensation and its effect on my entitlement to state benefits?

We can advise on personal injury trusts to protect your entitlement to state benefits. 

 

What happens to compensation obtained for a child or an adult who is unable to manage their financial affairs?

If the child is likely to have ‘mental capacity’ when they reach adulthood, the Court will usually hold the compensation for them until they are 18.  Before that age, funds can be released from the Court to meet their needs.

If the child will not have ‘mental capacity’ to manage their financial affairs as an adult, a professional ‘Deputy’ is usually appointed to manage the funds on their behalf.  The Deputy will release money and support the family to ensure that the child’s needs are met in an appropriate way.

See Kingsley Napley’s Court of Protection and Deputyship page for further details about the role of a professional Deputy. 

 

How do I access medical records?

Medical records are usually the starting point for our investigation of a claim.  With your permission; we request these records directly from the treatment provider(s).

Our clients sometimes wish to obtain copies of the medical records before deciding whether to begin a claim.  Please see our Guide to Accessing Medical Records for further information on how to request records yourself.

 

Are there time limits for bringing a claim?

There are strict time limits for bringing a negligence claim for injury or death in England and Wales. This is called the limitation period. 

For adults, the usual rule is that a claim must be formally started at Court within three years of the date the negligence occurred, or of the date on which the injured person should reasonably have been aware that there might be grounds to bring a claim (if that date is later). 

Where a child is injured by negligence, they usually have until their 21st birthday to formally start their claim at Court.

Where the claim relates to someone’s death, the limitation period is three years from the date of death or from the ‘date of knowledge’ (if that is later).

There are circumstances in which the rules differ; for example, where the claim is for someone who does not have mental capacity to bring a legal claim.

It takes time to investigate a claim, so you should contact us as soon as possible.

 

Other organisations and resources which may help

 

 

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