Helping the victims of hospital negligence
If you've been injured due to poor or negligent treatment in hospital, a specialist medical negligence solicitor can help you claim the compensation you deserve
How Much Could You Claim?

Hospital Negligence Claims

The term hospital negligence refers to errors made by a hospital and its staff that result in the illness or injury of a patient. The healthcare sector operates under strict guidelines and regulations to reduce risks, but negligence can, unfortunately, occur in any department within a hospital.

Cases of negligence can lead to new injuries or illnesses or worsen pre-existing conditions. These include hospital-acquired infections, surgical mistakes, misdiagnosis and medication errors. Furthermore, a negligent practice can have a significant psychological and emotional impact and cause financial losses to patients.

If you have been a victim of hospital negligence and this has resulted in an illness or injury, an experienced solicitor can provide empathetic and assertive support to help you obtain the compensation you deserve. To find out if you have a valid hospital negligence claim, call 0800 032 3660 or request a call back for a free case assessment.

Am I eligible to make a claim?

If you have suffered an illness, injury or loss because of negligence in any department, you will likely be eligible to make a hospital claim. An experienced solicitor with a wealth of knowledge in this area will strive to secure the highest possible compensation on your behalf. As a general rule, you must be able to prove the following to have a valid claim:

  • Breach of duty. A breach of duty means the hospital has failed to meet the expected standard of care owed to you. That means they did not meet the standard of care expected from skilled and competent professionals in their field.
  • Causation. Causation proves a direct link between the breach of duty and the harm you suffered. You must show that the negligent act directly caused or significantly contributed to your injuries or worsening condition. If the substandard care you received has not affected your health, you cannot make a hospital negligence claim.
  • Damages. The final element is the proof of damages, which refers to the harm or losses you suffered due to the breach of duty. Damages can include physical injuries, emotional distress, financial losses, medical expenses, and other consequences.

The hospital negligence solicitors we partner with will be happy to offer you a free consultation to assess your case and determine the strength of your claim. If you are eligible for compensation, they will take on your case on a no win no fee* agreement, so there will be no financial risk to you in starting legal proceedings.

What evidence do I need to claim compensation for hospital negligence?

If you think about suing a hospital for negligence, you need evidence to prove that the level of care you received was substandard and has caused you damages. Examples of proof that could help your case include:

  • Your medical records, including test results, diagnoses, treatment plans, and notes from healthcare professionals
  • Opinions from medical experts who can assess the standard of care provided and determine if there was a breach of duty
  • Statements from witnesses who observed the care provided or any incidents that may have occurred
  • Photographs or videos of any physical evidence related to the negligence, such as unsanitary conditions in the hospital or visible injuries
  • Any letters, emails, or communication with the hospital or medical staff regarding your concerns or complaints
  • Copies of any formal incident reports filed by hospital staff
  • A psychological assessment, if you have suffered emotional damages
  • Your detailed statement about your experience and how it has affected your life
  • Documents related to your financial losses, such as receipts and invoices

Having comprehensive and well-organised evidence will strengthen your hospital negligence claim and increase the chances of a successful outcome. Your solicitor will help you gather everything you need and contact the defendant to inform them of your allegations. The other side will have a limited amount of time, usually three months, to investigate the case and admit or deny liability.

If liability is accepted, your solicitor will strive to negotiate the best hospital negligence compensation award on your behalf. Otherwise, they will use the available evidence to take your claim to court and argue your case before a judge, which rarely happens. For example, in 2020/21, only 0.3% of all cases against the NHS involving negligence went to trial.

Can I sue the NHS?

The National Health Service (NHS) is the largest employer in Europe and one of the biggest in the world. All medical staff have a duty of care to provide a good standard of care and act with skill and competence. However, the medical treatment the NHS provides can occasionally fall short of what’s expected, and the impact can be devastating for patients.

In the year 2016/2017 alone, there were 653,000 instances of acquired infections among the 13.8 million patients under the care of the NHS in England, leading to 22,800 fatalities. Furthermore, overcrowding and long waits have led to at least 4,419 excess deaths that could have been avoided through proper care.

If you or a loved one suffered any injury due to substandard care, you might be able to claim compensation for hospital negligence from the NHS. All claims against the National Health Service are handled by NHS Resolution, a special health authority funded by the Department of Health and Social Care. They provide expertise to the NHS to fairly resolve claims arising from medical care and improve patient safety. In 2020/21 alone, more than £2.2 billion was paid to settle 15,674 clinical and non-clinical claims against the NHS.

Although claiming against an institution of this size may seem daunting, hospital negligence solicitors can represent you and ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.

Can I claim hospital negligence compensation from a private healthcare provider?

Yes. You can start a hospital claim against a private healthcare provider just like you would against the NHS. According to the General Medical Council, private hospitals also owe a duty of care to their patients and are liable for compensation if they fall short of their duties. Furthermore, they must have insurance to cover any personal injuries arising from a breach of duty towards patients.

Claiming against a private provider may differ slightly from making a hospital negligence claim against the NHS. You may have to claim compensation either through the doctor’s private insurance or the hospital’s third-party insurance. Also, you will often sign a contract when agreeing to receive private healthcare. To claim hospital negligence compensation, you must show that the terms of the arrangement were broken, leading to your injury. Furthermore, private hospital trusts may be less likely to admit liability.

What treatments may lead to a hospital negligence claim?

Many types of medical negligence claims may arise from a hospital stay. Some of the common causes for suing a hospital for negligence include:

Errors made during surgical procedures

These errors might involve operating on the wrong body part, damaging organs, or failing to sterilise instruments. Such mistakes can result in longer recovery, heightened pain, and the need for extra surgeries. Furthermore, surgical errors can also lead to emotional distress and a loss of trust in medical care.

Illnesses or injuries that are misdiagnosed or diagnosed late

Misdiagnosis can lead to delayed treatment or incorrect care, which may cause setbacks in your health. Misdiagnosis can lead to delayed or wrong treatment, which may cause setbacks in your health. While some mistakes may have minor effects, failure to diagnose the symptoms of conditions like cancer or sepsis can be devastating.

Prescription and treatment errors

Being given the wrong medication or dosage can have severe repercussions for your health and well-being. This can lead to adverse reactions, prolonged illness, and even life-threatening situations. If you have suffered due to a medication error, you could claim compensation for hospital negligence.

Pressure sores, dehydration and other conditions caused by poor care

Pressure sores can develop when patients are not repositioned adequately, leading to skin breakdown and open wounds. These and other similar conditions can cause significant pain, discomfort and complications. They can be avoided through proper care and are a valid reason for suing a hospital for negligence.

Hospital-acquired infections such as C. difficile

These include bacterial, viral, or fungal infections, such as MRSA or C. difficile. They can rapidly spread in a hospital setting, and around 300,000 NHS patients acquire such a disease each year. They are typically due to the hospital’s failure to adhere to strict hygiene practices.

Failure to monitor patients

Healthcare professionals must regularly monitor and assess the condition of patients. Examples include checking for indications of infection after surgery, changes to a baby’s health during labour that may cause a birth injury and signs of distress that may help diagnose a disease. Any failure in this regard could lead to multiple immediate and long-term issues.

Premature discharge

This type of medical negligence involves discharging patients before reaching an optimal level of health, which can result in various adverse outcomes. When patients are discharged prematurely, they may not have had sufficient time to heal and regain their strength, leaving them vulnerable to potential health setbacks. That could negatively impact their overall well-being, prolong their recovery period, and the need to return to the hospital.

Accident and emergency claims

The A&E is a critical medical facility where individuals seek urgent treatment for various health issues, injuries, or emergencies. Hospital negligence claims related to the A&E usually involve long waiting times and inadequate care. That may lead to additional pain and suffering, long-term health consequences, and even fatalities.

Falls in hospitals

These incidents can result in injuries that range from minor bruises to more severe fractures, head injuries, or other complications. They are a significant concern because patients are often already vulnerable due to their health conditions. Hospital accidents can be due to various hazards, including wet floors, uneven surfaces and cluttered hallways.

Anaesthetic complications

These complications can range from minor side effects to more severe reactions that can put your health and well-being at risk. In rare cases, an allergic reaction to anaesthesia can lead to anaphylactic shock, a life-threatening condition that requires immediate medical intervention. Anaesthesia can also suppress the respiratory system, potentially causing breathing difficulties or respiratory arrest.

Failure to correctly interpret or follow up on an abnormal scan or test result

This occurs when healthcare providers, such as doctors or radiologists, overlook, misinterpret, or fail to take appropriate action based on the findings of diagnostic tests or imaging scans. This negligence can lead to delayed diagnosis, missed treatment opportunities and the deterioration of your condition.

If you have suffered from any of these or other types of negligence, you can call 0800 032 3660 or request a call back to speak to a legal adviser. They can confirm your eligibility for making a hospital claim and answer any questions you may have.

How much compensation will I receive?

Your solicitor will carefully assess the details of your case and evaluate the impact the negligence has had on your life. They will then be able to confirm your eligibility to claim and the possible compensation for hospital negligence you will be entitled to. In general, the worse your symptoms are and the greater the impact on your life, the larger the amount you are likely to secure.

When assessing the estimate of settlement figures, they will consider the following:

  • General damages. That is the amount of compensation that you may be entitled to for the pain and suffering that you have been through. In the UK, the Judicial Studies Board Guideline will determine the compensation you may receive for general damages. Some factors considered include pain, loss of physical ability, discomfort, whether you have a continuing disability, etc. You can refer to our compensation calculator to get an idea about how much your claim might be worth.
  • Special damages. That refers to the quantifiable financial losses you have suffered due to the negligence and subsequent injury or illness. Special damages may include:
    • Loss of income from taking time off work
    • Loss of future wages from being unable to work
    • Past and future medical expenses
    • Prescription costs
    • Travel costs to and from medical appointments
    • Expenses related to medical care

The amount of medical negligence compensation you can claim will largely depend upon your specific circumstances. Your solicitor will work hard to achieve the maximum settlement figure possible. They will do this by gathering evidence about your diagnosis, treatment and the severity of your symptoms.

If you have suffered from any of the above losses through the fault of negligent acts of staff and processes in your hospital, you may be eligible to claim compensation. The hospital negligence solicitors we work with offer a free initial consultation, which allows you to confirm your eligibility and how much compensation you may receive.

How long will it take to process my claim?

The time it takes to process and complete your claim will vary depending on your circumstances. The more complex your case and condition are, the longer your case will likely take.

To make a successful compensation claim on your behalf, your solicitor will need to demonstrate the severity of your symptoms as well as the liability of the defendant. If either of these points is difficult to prove or disputed by the other side, it may take longer to complete your case.

To support your solicitor with your hospital claim, you should try to provide as much information as possible to defend your case. Be as detailed as you can in your descriptions and keep copies of all relevant documentation, as this will be of substantial use to your solicitor when they process your claim and negotiate the highest compensation award possible for you.

Claims for medical negligence are more complex and may take longer to settle than other personal injury cases. According to NHS Resolutions, it typically takes up to two years to settle a claim under £25,000, and it may take over five years to conclude a case worth more than £1,000,000.

In the unlikely event that your claim goes to court, this could significantly increase the time it may take to receive your compensation. However, if there are no liability disputes or the evidence strongly suggests the defendant is liable, your solicitor may be able to secure interim payments to help you cover immediate financial needs.

Can I claim on behalf of a loved one?

Yes, you can often claim on behalf of a loved one if they are unable to do so themselves due to a disability. You could also start a hospital negligence claim for a child under 18. To claim for someone else, you must apply to the court to become their litigation friend. Your solicitor will help you fill in and file the necessary documents. Before giving you power of attorney, the court will verify that:

  • You can conduct legal proceedings fairly and competently
  • There is no conflict of interest between you and the victim
  • You agree to pay any fees requested by the court
  • You consent to take on the duties of a litigation friend

Once you are appointed as a litigation friend, the claims process will be similar to any other personal injury case. Your solicitor will help gather all the relevant information related to the injury or illness and contact the other side to inform them of your intention to claim compensation for hospital negligence. You will have several duties and responsibilities throughout the process, including:

  • Sign legal documents
  • Instruct hospital negligence solicitors and take legal advice
  • Make decisions about the claim
  • Keep the injured person informed and try to find out what their wishes are
  • Make sure they attend all their medical appointments
  • Pay any fees requested by the court
  • Consider any settlement offers from the other side

If you are successful in suing a hospital for negligence on behalf of a loved one, the court must approve the compensation awarded. A judge will consider the available evidence and decide whether the agreed settlement is fair and sufficient. Based on the circumstances, the claimant may be required to attend the Court Approval Hearing.

Often, the compensation awarded to a child is placed in a personal injury trust. This legal arrangement holds and manages the funds until the child turns 18 and can access them. You can ask the court to release some funds early if you can prove it is in the child’s best interests or if you have to cover medical or educational expenses you cannot otherwise afford.

Will my claim be made on a no win no fee basis?

Yes, your solicitor will be able to provide their advice and experience on a no win no fee basis. That means you can access the hospital negligence compensation you rightly deserve following an illness or injury caused by another party without suffering further financial loss. If the solicitor takes on your case and is unsuccessful, you will not pay them a penny.

If they win the claim and you receive compensation, their fees are paid out of your settlement. They will receive a success fee that you agree upon from the beginning and cannot be more than 25% of general damages and past financial losses.

This arrangement makes legal representation more accessible for individuals who might not otherwise be able to afford the upfront costs of pursuing a hospital claim. It also incentivises solicitors to do their utmost to secure compensation, as their payment is contingent upon the success of your case.

Another essential benefit of the no win no fee service is the After the Event (ATE) insurance policy your solicitor will take out before starting legal proceedings. This is a legal expenses insurance that will cover all the expenses and disbursements incurred during claiming if your case is lost, such as:

  • The defendant’s costs and solicitors
  • Court and counsel fees
  • Travel expenses related to the claim, such as fuel and parking
  • Medical reports
  • The cost of expert witnesses
  • Barrister fee if you need representation in court
  • Costs of printing and copying
  • The ATE policy premium, which you only pay if you win compensation

Is there a time limit for making a hospital negligence claim?

Yes, there are time limits for starting a claim for all types of personal injury, and these must be carefully observed. The time limit is three years from the date of the accident or the date of knowledge to claim compensation for hospital negligence.

Whether you go by the date of the accident or the date of knowledge will depend on the circumstances of your particular case. If you have slipped over on a wet hospital floor, the three-year period will begin on the date it happened. For many other hospital negligence claims, the date of knowledge will be used. That is when the claimant is made aware they have suffered an avoidable injury due to substandard care and a breach of duty.

This could be weeks, months or even years after the negligent act or omission. It could come about after following the NHS complaints procedure or after being examined by a specialist. As soon as you know that your injury or illness may have been due to the hospital visit, it is essential to speak to an experienced personal injury solicitor as soon as possible. That will give them enough time to investigate your case and ensure you do not miss any deadlines.

There are some situations where the typical three-year claiming limit does not apply, such as:

  • If the injured party is a child, the three-year countdown will not begin before their 18th birthday, and they will have until turning 21 to start a hospital claim.
  • Under the Mental Capacity Act 2005, the time limit is suspended if an adult cannot make decisions for themselves in a claim. That could be due to:
    • An intellectual disability like Down syndrome
    • A neurodegenerative condition like dementia
    • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
    • Being in a coma
    • Having suffered a stroke or traumatic brain injury
    • A mental health disorder such as schizophrenia
    • In such cases, a litigation friend could claim on their behalf. If the claimant regains their mental capacity, such as if they recovered from a brain injury, the three-year time limit starts from the date they recovered.
  • If a loved one has suffered a wrongful death due to hospital negligence, you have three years to claim from the date they passed away.

Can I get some free legal advice?

If you would like some free legal advice about making a claim, call 0800 032 3660 today for a free consultation. Alternatively, you could enter your details into our online claim form to receive a call back. A friendly legal adviser will be happy to discuss your accident, answer any questions you may have and let you know if you have a valid compensation claim.

The free case assessment is provided with no obligation to proceed. So, you can contact a legal adviser for a chat even if you are unsure about whether or not you want to pursue a claim.

If your case has merit and you decide to move forward, your solicitor will provide you with a 100% no win no fee arrangement. That gives you the benefit of no upfront costs, no hidden fees and no financial risk. If your solicitor cannot win your compensation claim for hospital negligence, you will not pay them a penny. They will also be able to offer you an experienced estimate of the likely compensation amount, which will allow you to manage your expectations successfully throughout the claim.

* Personal injury claims are offered on a no win, no fee basis. If your claim is successful, your solicitor will receive up to 25% of your compensation as their success fee. Any additional costs, such as legal protection insurance, will be clearly explained to you by your solicitor before you decide to proceed with your claim. Termination fees may apply if you fail to cooperate with your solicitor. This includes deliberately misleading your solicitor, failing to attend scheduled medical or expert examinations, or not appearing at a required court hearing.