Medical Negligence Compensation Claims

By Danielle Fletcher. Last Updated 31st March 2023. When you go to the hospital or a doctor’s appointment, the expectation is that your health will improve because of it. However, in some cases, a mistake could be made by whoever’s treating you. This can cause you injuries or even make existing injuries or illnesses worse than before. If you are unfortunate enough to experience this, then you may deserve medical negligence compensation.

A Guide To Medical Negligence Compensation Claims

medical negligence compensation

You could make a claim against a healthcare provider if it can be proven they’re responsible for an injury or illness you’ve suffered. Alternatively, if you are the next of kin of an individual who has died, is a child or lacks the mental capacity to take legal action themself, you could make a medical negligence claim on their behalf.

Read on to learn more about what exactly medical negligence is. We’ll also explain how to make a compensation claim for it and how the process works. We’ll look at how you can use our services to help with a medical compensation claim you want to make.

Get In Touch With Our Team

Looking to make a claim for medical negligence? You can contact UK Law for free legal advice on making this type of claim. Our panel of lawyers can provide valuable insight on what to expect when making a claim.

Our claims team can also advise on the strength of your potential claim and estimate the amount of compensation you could receive. So feel free to get in contact with us now by filling our online claim form or by phoning us on 020 3870 4868.

Services And Information

  1. What Is Medical Negligence In The UK?
  2. Common Types Of Medical Negligence
  3. Am I Eligible To Claim For Medical Negligence?
  4. Statistics On Medical Negligence In The UK
  5. Medical Negligence Compensation Examples
  6. Time Limit On Medical Negligence Claims
  7. I Was Harmed By Medical Negligence, What Should I Do?
  8. Claiming For Medical Negligence With A No Win No Fee Solicitor
  9. Contact Us For More Help
  10. Other Information

What Is Medical Negligence In The UK?

Medical negligence occurs when a medical professional provides substandard care to a patient, resulting in them being injured or causing an existing condition to worsen. For example, a negligent doctor may incorrectly carry out a surgical procedure on you, resulting in unnecessary harm.

Other forms of medical negligence include:

  • Being misdiagnosed
  • Prescription errors
  • Dental negligence
  • Pregnancy or birth injuries

Continue reading to find out more about how you could make a medical negligence claim. Alternatively, speak to our advisors and they can discuss topics such as the average birth injury settlement in the UK, or what the dental negligence payouts are in the UK.

Common Types Of Medical Negligence

If you are getting a diagnosis, treatment or advice from a medical expert, then it’s possible they could make a mistake that could lead to medical negligence.

Medical negligence can come in many forms because of the vast number of conditions and treatments which exist. Certain types of medical negligence are more common than others though. If you are looking to make a medical compensation claim, it could be for one of the following types of negligence:

Birth injuries (including cerebral palsy)

Some medical negligence cases can centre on birth injuries. These can include any harm the mother or baby suffer either during pregnancy or delivery because of a medical professional’s negligence. Problems during pregnancy can cause life-changing issues for the mother and baby.

Issues can include:

  • Cerebral palsy
  • Maternal diabetes
  • Bowel trauma

If it can be proven that a health expert or hospital contributed to any of these issues, then a medical negligence case could be made.

A claim can also be made in wrongful birth cases, where a procedure like a vasectomy went wrong.

Hospital negligence

Sometimes a patient could be harmed because the hospital and its staff they’re visiting provided incorrect or poor treatment. Another example of hospital negligence is poor hygiene standards from the staff.

If you become ill or your injuries become worse after a hospital visit, then a specialist medical negligence solicitor can help determine if the hospital contributed to your problem in some way.


Misdiagnosis is when a medical expert fails to correctly diagnose a condition which a patient is suffering from. This might happen if the expert thinks the patient has a different illness or it could be a missed diagnosis. A patient could therefore be prescribed the wrong treatment or receive no treatment at all. This can make the patient’s existing condition worse or even create new health issues.

A misdiagnosis can potentially be devastating, particularly if it involves a serious condition such as epilepsy. Therefore, it’s certainly worth consulting a specialist medical claim expert if you experience this problem. A claim could also be made if your condition has been correctly identified but the diagnosis was delayed.

Surgical negligence

There is an inherent risk in virtually all surgical procedures. Sometimes, though, an issue during surgery that brings you harm may be caused by a mistake.

Potential mistakes can include:

  • Foreign objects being left in a patient.
  • The wrong area of the body being operated on.

Surgical negligence also covers cases where an operation wasn’t actually required and the patient is harmed or the patient did not provide their full consent and suffers.

Dental negligence

Dental negligence compensation claims can be made against a dentist if they provide low-quality treatment that causes you to suffer.

Potential issues which fall under dental negligence can include misdiagnosis, mistakes during surgical procedures or generally poor patient care from a dentist.

Cancer misdiagnosis

Cancer is one of the most serious conditions a patient could experience, so diagnosing it accurately and as soon as possible is critical. A specialist solicitor could work on a medical negligence case if a doctor or hospital makes a mistake or delays while diagnosing cancer, providing it causes you harm.

GP medical negligence

If you fall ill or notice another issue with your health, then the first medical expert you may consult could be your General Practitioner (GP).

Potential mistakes a GP could make include a misdiagnosis, prescribing the wrong medication or failing to refer you to an appropriate specialist. If any of these issues happen, then it could harm your health. You could then claim against the GP for medical negligence.

Am I Eligible To Claim For Medical Negligence?

Have you been injured or suffered another medical issue? Do you have reason to believe it was caused by negligent medical treatment? If so, it’s absolutely worth establishing whether you can claim compensation.

To understand whether you’re eligible to make a claim, you should check whether:

  1. Someone owed you a duty of care.
  2. They breached that duty.
  3. You suffered injuries or an illness because of that breach.

The objective of a claim is to prove that negligent treatment caused injury or made an existing condition worse. The same applies if you are the next of kin claiming on behalf of someone who died, is a child or lacks the mental capacity to claim themself.

If you choose to use the services of a solicitor for your potential claim, they will review the evidence you have available. Usable evidence can include medical records which your solicitor can acquire (like X-rays or ultrasounds), photographs and a detailed statement from yourself. Witnesses like family members may also be able to provide evidence.

You would also attend an assessment with an independent medical expert. They’d produce a report which details whether your condition was at least worsened by the incident. This report, if it does establish that your injuries were caused or exacerbated by the incident, could act as crucial evidence too.

You can contact UK Law online or by phone if you are looking for advice on whether you’re eligible to make a medical negligence claim.

Statistics On Medical Negligence In The UK

The NHS Resolution’s annual report and accounts for 2019/20 provides insight into the number of medical negligence claims they deal with and their cost.

According to the report, there were 11,682 new clinical negligence claims and reported incidents recorded in 2019/20 by the NHS. In the same period, the cost of settling claims was £2.3 billion, which is £103 million less compared to the previous annual report. An extra £61.4 million was spent on settling general practice claims.

Of the 15,550 claims the NHS resolved in 2019/20, 71.5% were resolved without court proceedings, while 27.9% included court proceedings. 0.6% were resolved at trial.

Obstetrics claims settlements covered 50% of the total estimated value of all claims. However, they only represented 9% of the volume of claims received. 

The graph above was created by the NHS as part of their annual report for 2019/20. It provides a visual representation of their payments across all their indemnity schemes plus the relative size of the schemes.

Medical Negligence Compensation Examples

A medical negligence claim will look at the harm caused to you physically, psychologically and financially. However, it is important to note that you can only claim for financial losses if you have suffered psychological or physical harm.

The amount of compensation awarded for the pain and suffering is known as general damages.

To show you this, we have included a table of potential injuries and figures from the 2022 edition of the Judicial College Guidelines. The figures are calculated using payouts from previous medical negligence cases in the UK, as well as other personal injury cases.

Injury Notes Compensation
Kidney Both kidneys have either been seriously and permanently damaged or they have been lost. £169,400 to £210,400
Bowels Depending on the person’s age, they may depend on a colostomy due to the total loss of the bowels natural function. Up to £150,110
Chest Injuries The total removal of one lung with serious heart damage that causes prolonged pain. £100,670 to £150,110
Brain Damage – Moderate (ii) A moderate to modest intellectual deficit with a risk of epilepsy. £90,720 to £150,110
Deafness/Tinnitus – Total Deafness and Loss of Speech A rubella infection could have caused deafness at an early age. This also affects the speech’s normal development. £109,650 to £140,660
Epilepsy – Established Petit Mal How much compensation is awarded will be affected by various factors such as the prognosis and the effect on social/working life. £54,830 to £131,370
Lung Disease A disease such as emphysema that significantly worsens the lungs functioning and impairs breathing. £54,830 to £70,030
Asthma Chronic asthma with the person needing to use an inhaler frequently due to breathing difficulties. £26,290 to £43,010
Spleen A complete loss of the spleen that causes a continuing risk of internal infections due to the immune system being damaged. £20,800 to £26,290
Digestive System (b)(iv) For a few days or weeks, the person will suffer with varying degrees of disabling pain, diarrhoea and cramps. £910 to £3,950

If you suffered financial losses, you can also seek compensation for this under special damages. You can make a claim for any monetary losses caused by your injury, such as:

  • A loss of earnings
  • Care costs
  • Prescription costs
  • Modifications made to your home for your injury

If you are looking for an estimate of compensation for your claim, please reach out to one of our advisers. They can value compensation for you and explain how medical negligence case law in the UK could affect your payout.

Time Limit On Medical Negligence Claims

If you have determined that you have grounds for a valid medical claim for negligence, you will need to start it within the set time limit. Generally, the time limit for starting medical negligence claims is 3 years. This time begins from the time of your injury or the time of the negligent act.

Sometimes, an illness or injury which develops gradually from a negligent act may not be immediately obvious. In such instances, the medical negligence claim time limit can start from the time of knowledge.

However, if a child has been harmed by medical negligence, the medical negligence claim time limit works a bit differently. A child is not able to make their own claim while they are under 18 years old. The 3-year time limit on medical negligence claims is suspended until they turn 18. A ligation friend could claim on behalf of a child during this period.

Adults with reduced mental capacity would also need a litigation friend to claim on their behalf. The medical negligence claim time limit would be suspended as long as mental capacity is still reduced. Once mental capacity is restored, the usual time limit on medical negligence claims will apply.

I Was Harmed By Medical Negligence, What Should I Do?

If you get harmed by medical negligence, then the first priority should always be to ensure you get the medical care you need for your injuries. When you receive your treatment, collect what evidence you can which shows what sort of treatment you’ve had and why you’ve received it. This medical evidence could prove valuable for your potential claim.

The next step is to make a claim if you’d like to. You could contact a solicitor who can handle your case. It is advisable to contact a solicitor who specialises in medical negligence cases.

Your chosen solicitor should ask for details about the medical negligence that has affected you. They could also help you understand what evidence you can use. Your solicitor should determine how strong your claim is and if it’s a case worth pursuing.

Compensation For Medical Negligence – What Is The Bolam Test?

Before you use an injury claim calculator for an estimate of how much compensation you could receive, you may like to know how medical negligence could be proven. In this section, we look at the Bolam Test.

If you are making a claim for medical negligence, the duty of care a doctor or other medical professional owed you mustn’t have been adhered to. Additionally, to qualify for compensation for medical negligence, you must be able to prove that when the medical professional failed to adhere to their duty, you suffered unnecessary harm.

One of the ways your claim might be proven is with the Bolam Test. This puts your case to other, appropriately trained medical professionals. They will then decide if the care you received met an acceptable standard.

The Bolam Test isn’t the only way to prove medical negligence. For example, an X-ray may show a broken bone, but the doctor missed this leading to a delay in your treatment. This could also be submitted.

Call our advisors for further information about proving your claim. In addition, they can provide free advice as well as discuss potential compensation figures, such as hernia settlement amounts in the UK.

Claiming For Medical Negligence With A No Win No Fee Solicitor

When claiming for compensation for medical negligence, you might want to consider being legally represented. Our panel of solicitors have the requisite knowledge and years of experience handling medical injury claims. They could help you gather evidence and build a solid case to help ensure you receive the most compensation possible. Additionally, they may offer to represent you with a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA), which is a type of No Win No Fee agreement.

A No Win No Fee agreement is a way of funding the work of a solicitor. Some of the benefits of claiming on a No Win No Fee basis can include:

  • Not having to pay any upfront fees to your solicitor.
  • Not having to pay any ongoing fees during the process of your claim.
  • If the claim is successful, you will pay your solicitor a success fee. The amount is legally capped and taken from your compensation award.
  • You won’t have to pay your solicitor for their services if the claim fails.

Contact our advisors today if you have any questions about claiming compensation for negligence by a healthcare professional. Our friendly advisors are available 24 hours a day to answer your questions and offer you free legal advice regarding your specific claim.

Contact Us For More Help

You can contact us if you’d like to get free legal advice and guidance on making a medical negligence claim. Our team is on hand to help and we’ll happily answer any question you may have.

You can reach our team by:

Alternatively, you can chat with us now by using our live chat, bottom right, or writing to us by using our contact form.

Other Information

Looking for additional information on how medical negligence claims work? You can view the additional resources included just below.

Clinical Negligence Scheme for Trusts (CNST)

This NHS page provides information on the Clinical Negligence Scheme for Trusts (CNST). It handles all clinical negligence claims against member bodies.

Clinical Negligence Scheme for General Practice

This NHS page provides more details on the Clinical Negligence Scheme for General Practice. It is a government-backed scheme designed to provide more stable and affordable indemnity cover for GPs.

Fixed recoverable costs for clinical negligence claims

This UK Government page gives information on a closed consultation that took place in 2017. The consultation covered the fixed recoverable costs for clinical negligence claims. The Government sought views on the proposal to launch a mandatory system in England and Wales of fixed recoverable costs for clinical negligence claims of a low value.

We also have guides that may be of use to you:

What are your rights after an allergic reaction at a restaurant?

We explain what a personal injury is

What is an accident at work?

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Thank you for reading our guide on medical negligence compensation.