Countless people are treated by doctors, nurses, dentists and other medical professionals on a daily basis. Fortunately, the standard of healthcare in the UK is generally excellent and we can trust our medical professionals to provide good quality treatment.

It is the case, however, that things can go wrong and the outcome may not be what was expected by the patient. In many such cases, this is not due to fault on the part of the doctor but due to the medical condition of the patient before treatment began or complications which happen regardless of the care and skill of the doctor. Our bodies are complicated and individual to us and it is not always possible for a doctor to control the outcome of treatment, hence why we are warned of the risks of any procedure in advance so that we can make an informed decision about proceeding.

Our medical profession work incredibly hard in often difficult circumstances and, on the whole, genuinely want to help people. All professional people must, however, be accountable and should a medical professional act in an unreasonable manner and a patient suffers unnecessarily or even dies as a result, the English justice system rightly allows the wronged person (or their family) to pursue a negligence claim.

The first thing that must be established in such a claim is breach of duty. You need to prove that the medical professional acted in a way that fell below a standard considered as reasonable for their experience and specialism. Provided you can establish a breach of duty, you then need to show that the breach of duty caused you to suffer an injury which you would not otherwise have suffered. You have to prove both elements in order to succeed with a claim. It is sometimes possible to establish breach of duty but not causation, in which case the claim would fail. An example of this is where you can prove that a doctor was negligent in failing to diagnose your cancer but, even if it had been diagnosed earlier, your outcome would have been the same in any event.

If you succeed with your claim, you are entitled to be compensated for your pain, suffering and financial losses, both past and future. Some people suffer life-altering injuries meaning that they cannot return to their chosen career or their family now need to care for them.

Medical Negligence claims will not succeed where a medical professional has acted reasonably and so, if you have concerns that you may have suffered medical negligence, speak to one of the specialist solicitors at Blythe Liggins for an initial view on 01926 831231.

Caption: Claire Kirwan, Partner and Head of the Personal Injury Department at Blythe Liggins.

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