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Clinical Negligence
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Clinical Negligence

Frequently Asked Questions

Clinical Negligence FAQs

When can I claim compensation?

If you have been injured physically or psychologically by a healthcare practitioner’s (doctor, nurse, midwife, dentist, health visitor etc.) negligence, you may be able to claim compensation. If you are not sure whether to try to claim compensation, seek advice from Williamsons Solicitors who offer a free initial interview.

What can I claim compensation for?

You can claim compensation for any injuries and financial losses that you can prove were caused as a result of the negligent treatment, together with any expenses you have incurred, which would not have incurred had the treatment provided not been negligent.

How do I find the right solicitor?

You should use a local solicitor who specialises in the field of clinical negligence; they will understand the medical and legal issues. The Clinical Negligence Department of Williamsons Solicitors is approved by the Legal Services Commission and Action against Medical Accidents (AvMA), and by the Law Society’s accreditation panel.

Are there any time limits to bring a claim?

In general, you must bring a claim for clinical negligence within three years from either:

  • the date of the treatment that caused your injury; or
  • the first date you could have reasonably discovered that you had suffered an injury wrongfully (date of knowledge).

However, there are exceptions to the three-year time limit for children under 18 and those who cannot manage their own affairs because of a mental disability. In certain circumstances, a Judge may allow somebody to bring a claim after the three-year time limit.

How do I fund any claim?

There are several different ways to cover the legal costs, including;

  • Legal Aid, although this is now only available for children who have suffered severe neurological injury at birth, or within 8 weeks of birth, and for advice and representation at an inquest in certain circumstances.
  • Legal expenses insurance
  • No win – No fee agreements – If it is considered the claim has a reasonable chance of success, Williamsons Solicitors often pursue cases in this way
  • Trade union help

How will a Solicitor assess my case?

When you first speak with a solicitor, they will make an assessment to decide whether they want to take on your case, based on how strong your case is. The Solicitor will base their decision on:

1. What happened, particularly everything you can tell them;
2. Your medical records, if you have them;
3. Any complaints letters or other papers;
4. How much your claim could be worth; and
5. The medical and legal issues.

What do I have to prove to obtain compensation?

You must prove two things:

  • That the care you received was below the standard that you could reasonably expect from a competent healthcare professional practising in that area of medicine (breach of duty); and
  • That you have probably suffered a physical or psychological injury as a result of the negligent act/omission (causation).

How much compensation will I get?

It is difficult to say at the outset of a claim what the likely damages will be. The amount of damages depends on a number of factors including:

1. The nature and significance of the injury;
2. Whether the injury has long-term or short-term effects;
3. Whether you have been unable to work as a result of the injury.
4. Whether any care has been provided, or is likely to be required in the future.

Who pays for my claim?

There are a number of ways to fund Clinical Negligence Claims, as follows:

Pre-existing legal expenses insurance – which is often found on home insurance policies;

Public Funding (previously known as Legal Aid) – Public Funding is available for a limited type of clinical negligence matter; and you would need to be financially eligible. This form of funding is generally only available to children injured in the first 8 weeks of his/her life.

Conditional Fee Agreements – Otherwise known as No Win, No Fee Agreements – this can initially be entered with/without an After the Event Insurance policy in place (After the Event insurance is an insurance against items not covered by the Conditional Fee Agreement). Whether such a policy will be available to you will depend on the prospects of success of your claim at the outset.
We will always discuss with you the best funding option available to you and fully explain everything. If your claim is successful, most of your legal costs will be payable by the Defendant.

How long will it take?

This can vary significantly from case to case. Once funding has been arranged, we anticipate that the initial investigations will take between six-to-nine months. During this time we will obtain your medical records, have them collated and a chronology of your clinical history drafted, and, if appropriate, forward them to an appropriate expert to prepare a report considering the issues in your case. At that time we would hope to be in a position to advise you as to whether your claim can be pursued further.
If supportive expert evidence is obtained, we prepare a Letter of Claim to the Defendant; this will outline all the allegations of negligence. The Defendant then has four months to provide a detailed response and advise as to whether liability is admitted or denied. If liability is admitted, we can take steps to settle your case – this usually takes around 12 – 18 months into your claim. If liability is denied and you claim has justifiable merits, we will commence your claim with the court and prepare for trial. If your case proceeds to trial, it is likely that your case will take around 24 – 30 months to conclude. However, your case could settle at any time up until trial.

Do I have to go to Court?

The short answer to this is:

Yes – If your case proceeds to trial.
No – If your case does not proceed to trial.

Very few clinical negligence cases proceed to trial, in the event that a trial is necessary, our team will support you throughout the court process.

Is it true that all Solicitors are difficult to talk to?

We don’t think so; all of the Solicitors in the Clinical Negligence department are approachable and friendly. We fight for all our clients to make sure that they get the very best outcome possible. However, we never lose sight of the personal difficulties that often accompany any claim.

Are there any time limits?

Under UK law there are time limits for making a claim for clinical negligence. Generally the rule is that a claim must be made within three years of the date of the incident OR the date of knowledge, whichever is the later. However, where the Claimant is a child, the three years doesn’t start to run until their 18th birthday and therefore they have until their 21st birthday to make a claim. Where the individual does not sufficient mental capacity (as defined by the Mental Health Act), the three years does not start to run until they acquire the necessary mental capacity, therefore if they never gain mental capacity the limitation period will not apply to them.
Whilst three years may sound like a long time investigations into clinical negligence matters do take time, and therefore, if you think you have a claim it is best to make enquiries earlier, rather than later.

How do I know which Solicitor to use?

There are many law firms that practice in the area of clinical negligence, however not all Solicitors are recognised specialist clinical negligence practitioners. To be certain that your Solicitor has specialist clinical negligence expertise you should ask whether they are a member of a specialist panel. Such panels include:

AvMA – Action against Medical Accidents
The Law Society – Clinical Negligence Accreditation Scheme

To become a member of the above panels the Solicitor has to demonstrate that they have the necessary experience, providing they satisfy the criteria they will be granted membership that recognises their specialist knowledge in the area of clinical negligence.

Mr Nick Gray, Solicitor and Head of the Clinical Negligence Department at Williamsons, is a member of The Law Society’s Panel of Clinical Negligence specialist Solicitors.
Mr Simon Ramshaw, Solicitor at Williamsons, is a member of AvMA.
Mr Wayne Walker, Solicitor at Williamsons.

Is it true that all doctors stick together and you never win a case?

No, if this were the case no claim for clinical negligence would succeed. However, it is vitally important to use the correct experts to advise on each case. We are very proud of the quality and quantity of experts that we use; our years of experience enable us to select the best expert for each case.

Should I use the solicitor closest to me, or the one that advertises on the radio/television?

Neither. One of the most important decisions that you will need to make is to identify the most experienced Solicitor to act for you. These types of claims are very complicated and technical; they require a solicitor who knows what he/she is doing. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, if the Solicitor has nothing to hide he/she will answer these honestly.

I have been told that “No win, No Fee” is the only sensible way to pursue a clinical negligence case. Is this true?

The answer to this very much depends upon your personal circumstances. Some Solicitors are not allowed to carry out Legal Aid work, so they don’t investigate if a client would qualify for this. Williamsons is one of the very few approved firms in Hull that is able to run Legal Aid (now known as Public Funding) cases. We can therefore offer you a complete service.

My doctor told me that what has happened to me is “just one of those things”. Shall I look into it any further?

Yes, it is usually very difficult to know at the beginning if any claim will be successful. Most doctors are reluctant to encourage people to look into bringing a legal claim, but they are not personally affected by the medical error made. At the end of the day, do you want to ask yourself in the future “what if I had done something about it, when I had the chance?” It is hoped that with the newly enacted “Duty of Candor” the medical/nursing profession will be a lot more candid and open about their mistakes in future, but this can by no means be guaranteed.

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Read some reviews from our clients

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229 Reviews

Terry G

I carnt thank Williamson solicitors enough for what they have done for us and expecially nick gray who as been brilliant with us Thank you

Mr and Mrs Scott

As always Jane Cousins has done an amazing job for us, Jane always goes that extra mile and I would never use anyone else….we buy and sell a lot, and she always gives us piece of mind… The only downside is …think we should have a loyalty card with Williamson cos we my daughter is using you now and friends who we have told…. We would have a gold card by now 😂😂 Thanks again Jane and thanks to Emily and Sam …jan and Ian Scott..

Peter E

I was given excellent legal advice through every step of the claim and was always kept informed throughout the entire process. My special thanks to Yana Byelova whose legal expertise and guidance helped reach a satisfactory conclusion to a very complex and strenuous case. If I or any of my family and friends are in need of legal assistance I will most definitely recommend using Williamson solicitors.

Paul P

Helpful,explained the process in terms a layman could understand which was especially useful with medical terminology and not just the legal.I am very pleased with the professional service i received and would have no hesitation in recommending Williamson’s Solicitors to anyone or using them again should the need arise.Thankyou Sarah Jackson for what you have done for me.

Neil S

Honestly, can’t really say much about “Willismsons” as a whole, but regarding our solicitor, Sarah Jackson, I only have the upmost respect and gratitude. What was an extremely difficult time for us, was handled with care, compassion and total professionalism. Sarah is aware about how I felt she looked after us, and I would not hesitate to recommend her/you to anyone in need of assistance, with a gentle hand and assured advice. Can’t thank her/you enough. Neil Shepherdson.

S K

Very helpful and supportive company. Explained everythign very well and always happy to take the time to talk.

Barbara A

I highly recommend Yana Byelova who dealt with my personal accident claim. From my first contact she kept me informed at every stage and patiently and clearly explained anything I didn't understand. Yana is professional, courteous and supportive. I am pleased with the settlement of my claim.

Adele L

Fantastic from start to finish with Jane and her colleagues. Constant communication and available to answer any questions I had via telephone or email. Thanks all.

Mike C

We were selling my late father-in-law‘s house and, as we live 200 miles away and have no close family in Hull, we needed a solicitor who was reliable. We chose Williamsons (a) because both of my in-laws had used them for their wills and (b) because the reviews on this website were positive. We are delighted with the conveyancing service which we received from Jane, Emily and Samantha; the phone was always answered promptly, courteously and professionally, and both telephoned and emailed questions were also dealt with quickly and fully. Their letters and emails were well-written, unambiguous and comprehensive. We did not need to visit their offices, except to collect my father-in-law’s will. Our house-sale went smoothly, but I was confident that they could be relied on if there had been any problems. We feel that the service we received was excellent value for money. No hesitation in recommending Williamsons for conveyancing work.

Denise H

Sarah Jackson was always approachable, helpful and understanding, explained everything as things progressed in a way I could understand. Would highly recommend very efficient.

Mary H

Williamson solicitors represented me in my clinical Negligence Claim . On my behalf Arranged Consultation Opinion/Report from Various Medical Experts . As well as as The opinion and Guidance of a Excellent Barrister. Mr Nick Gray my solicitor was bouth Personable and Professional His Expertise Navigating me through a very Stressful difficult period ,His communication with me , his regular update as well as Committement to my Case were Exelente. All the said incredibly important to me as The Client /Patient. My Solicitor and Barrister were Effectively My Voice. A settlement Was reached for me. This has given me and my Family Peace of mind for the future. Kind regard and prayer. Mary Habarek.

Gary C

I contacted Williamsons Solicitors at the beginning of 2019 with regards to a serious injury to upper limb whilst on duty. I assessed the market for Personal Injury Solicitors and the reviews, client engagement studies and performances based against several major law firms including the "large specialist one in Sheffield" and based upon a variety of performance levels I decided to go with Williamsons. I made contact with them, provided a brief report as to my circumstance and awaited a solicitor to make contact. That was when I was contacted by Yana. It became very clear from day one that I was indeed in good capable hands and so began the case. All information and scene evidence was provided and after a very short period of time the solicitors received a statement from the other party accepting full responsibility. Together we worked on the claim and Yana left me in no doubt that I could sit back, spend my time getting my injuries repaired and recover without any undue worries, right up to the final moments of the claim, I left everything in Yana's more than capable hands and we have had a very good outcome. I hope I never have to use the services of a Personal Injury Solicitors again, however If I did have to use one again then Williamsons is the first choice, so long as Yana is still there.

Mr Leech

I have dealt with williamsons solicitors before and would recommend them unreservedly to anyone ,they are friendly ,efficient, very professional and they get the job done ,all the staff are courteous and nothing is too much trouble . I also really like the fact that hard copies of documents I required where posted to me rather than being emailed once again thank you for a first class service in these difficult times

Lily

Thank you so much Karen for all you did for my family and keeping me and my daughter together. Like also thank you for all your support, understanding and patience. I could get anyone better and experienced than you. Thank you so much.

Eleni N

Great service.Made sure we were aware of what was going on.Friendly and professional people.

Mrs A E

used Williamsons to do a house purchase and a will. they are not the cheapest but did a good job and got the sale through when they said they would. Would recommend.

Benjamin B

Absolutely amazing team! Great help from start to finish and the result was better than expected. Highly recommended.

Linda J

I found Williamsons kept us informed all the way through our claim . I could always speak to someone regarding any queries . The result of the claim was handled efficiently and was very successful .

Judith H

I am very impressed with Williamsons Solicitors. After initial set backs with a Barrister who was not willing to proceed (in his estimation our case did not have enough of a chance of winning) Williamsons did not give up and advised they had approached another Barrister who agreed that our case was good and should be pursued. Williamsons gathered information and evidence very diligently and to good effect - we won our case. If Williamsons had not persisted our case would have fallen at the first hurdle - we are glad we took their advice.

Julie T

I have received an excellent service from Yana Byelova who has been dealing with my claim. Even though these difficult times she has kept us informed every step of the way.

Anonymous

Excellent service, friendly, knowledgeable and professional staff.