Director Hasina Choudhury from our Clinical Negligence and Personal Injury team talks about when and how you can make a claim for clinical negligence.

When you seek medical treatment from a doctor, the last thing on your mind is what could go wrong. Sometimes, however, things do go wrong and if they do, you’ll want answers and explanations as to why. Every healthcare professional should be open and honest with patients in their care when treatment may have gone wrong. This is particularly the case if harm has been caused or has the potential to result in harm in the future.  

Duty of candour regulations

Duty of candour regulations apply as soon as reasonably practicable after the treatment provider has become aware that an incident has occurred. The intention of the duty of candour legislation is to ensure that the treatment providers are open and transparent with people who are in their care. It sets out specific requirements that must be followed when things go wrong with treatment, including informing people about the incident, providing truthful information and an apology.

However, it is also perfectly reasonable to seek financial compensation for an injury suffered because of the negligent actions of medical professionals.

Seeking compensation for clinical negligence

The only way to get full compensation for clinical negligence is by taking legal action. Legal action cannot put things right but it can help you to cope with the consequences of the negligent actions.

You will only be able to bring a legal claim in medical negligence if you can show that the treatment you received was negligent. Negligence has a very specific meaning in law and there are certain tests that must be applied and satisfied to assess whether the treatment provided might be considered negligent.

To succeed in a legal claim, you must show that:-

  1. the healthcare provider owed you a duty of care;
  2. the care provided fell below an acceptable standard; and
  3. the negligence caused you injury and damage.

There are many scenarios that may give rise to a breach of duty. The following is not intended to be an exhaustive list but the sort of care that can result in negligence include:-

  • Failing to diagnose a condition or making an incorrect diagnosis
  • Failing to warn a patient about the risks of a particular treatment
  • Failing to provide adequate treatment or delay in treatment  
  • Failing to obtain informed consent to treatment
  • Giving the wrong medication
  • Making a mistake during a procedure or operation

Time limits for clinical negligence claims

The time limits for bringing a clinical negligence claim are strict; it is therefore important to act quickly. Generally, you must bring your claim within three years of the date of your injury or date of knowledge.

Led by Steve Webb our specialist Clinical Negligence team has years of experience handling clinical negligence and personal injury claims. Our aim is to support victims who have suffered as a result of someone else’s negligence through the legal process and help secure their future. The team offers a free initial evaluation of your case. To discuss a potential claim contact our Clinical Negligence team on 01206 574431 or by e-mail at