The Process of Clinical Disputes and Resolutions
While it is up to the doctors, nurses and other medical staff we visit to take care of us, there are times when they may make mistakes. While these situations occur infrequently, they can cause major pain, suffering and financial setbacks for you and your family. If you find yourself the victim of clinical negligence, you have the right to ask for a claim under UK law. Here are the stages you will have to pass through to resolve these types of unfortunate disputes.
Step 1: Find a Lawyer
As the law is complicated in these areas, you will have to work alongside an expert who knows what they are doing. Find yourself a local solicitor who specialises in medical negligence claims. These legal experts should be members with relevant authorities such as:
• The Legal Services Commission
• The Law Society
• Action Against Medical Accidents
• Association of Personal Injury Lawyers
If they have been accepted and accredited by these societies, you then have a very good idea of the skills and expertise they can bring to your medical scenario.
Step 2: Present the Evidence
Before your lawyer takes the case, they will ask to look at a number of important documents. In most cases your solicitor will want to see your medical records.. This is so they can then gauge the chances of winning your case. Since they are well versed in this area, they should be able to see whether it was indeed negligence that caused your current pain and suffering.
Step 3: Send a Letter of Claim
If your lawyer decides to take your case, they will then have to write up a letter of claim addressing the situation at hand and then send this to whatever medical organisation you are demanding compensation from. They’ll also send a copy to the NHS Litigation Authority to add to the government records. Within this letter will be details about the nature of your injuries, any financial losses on your part and other important details about the case.
Step 4: Wait for a Response
After this you’ll then have to sit back and wait for the accused clinical firm to reply. Hopefully you can find legal confidence by working with firms like Mintons UK. These experts will have written the letter of claims in such a way as to provoke quick action from the defendant. They will also make sure that:
• There is an acknowledgement of the letter within 14 days
• A detailed answer is finally provided within four months
After this, you and your lawyer will then have to work with the defendant to come to some sort of agreement. This leads into the next and final two steps.
Step 5: Discuss the Offer to Settle
When it comes to medical compensation claims, most are actually settled out of court to save time, costs and loss of reputation. In these stages, negotiations take place with offers to settle being passed back and forth until a suitable agreement is reached. Either plaintiff or defendant may make the first offer to start off the process. However, an offer to settle must be accompanied by supporting evidence if it is provided by the medical firm who you are suing. If the two parties can agree at this stage, there is no need to go onto the next phase of the dispute resolution process.
Step 6: Take the Matter to Court
This last stage is only necessary if the previous offers to settle weren’t satisfactory. In this case, the matter will then be taken to court where your lawyer will present the evidence in front of a jury and judge. This will incur additional legal fees and could take a long time. Also the final verdict given must be obeyed and there is a chance it is lower than the initial offers to settle presented in the previous step. Thus, you should carefully weigh up the pros and cons of going to court and discuss the matter with your solicitor before proceeding.
This is a basic summary of the different steps you will need to go through when resolving any sort of medical dispute. For more information, we recommend contacting a local legal advisor specialising in this field.
Author: Erik Steiner is a freelance writer for Mintons UK, a firm that is passionate about helping people in filing a compensation claim for medical and clinical negligence cases. They are specialists in cerebral palsy and Erb’s palsy claims.