General Practitioners (GPs) are our go-to when we have concerns about our health or issues that need checking out. It’s crucial that they correctly and accurately identify symptoms to provide suitable treatment, or refer patients to a specialist who can help – this is something that patients expect as standard from their GP.
A GP, much like a doctor or nurse at a hospital, must provide patients with a duty of care to ensure they receive a sufficient standard of medical treatment and advice. However, this isn’t always the case. So, if for any reason, the level of care you receive falls below the standard you expect or deserve — you should enquire about claiming for GP negligence.
Below, we’ll provide all the information you need to get started with claiming for GP negligence.
What are Medical Negligence Claims?
GPs treat patients with minor health issues and can refer them to specialists for more complex or severe medical concerns. Doctors are lifesavers and help many patients with a vast range of problems every day. However, unacceptable mistakes are made at times, and the results of which can significantly impact a patient’s health and well being.
Examples include overlooked conditions, incorrect diagnoses, lack of urgency when referring to specialists, and too much time taken to review test rules, among others. In all of these cases, it causes patients distress and potential suffering, and in more crucial cases, it can lead to early treatment options no longer being available.
When a GP fails to provide a high or even an acceptable level of care, it is known as medical negligence. Independent medical professionals will assess whether treatment is deemed acceptable or sub-standard.
A GP negligence claim or a medical negligence claim is a legal process in which a patient can claim compensation for negligence. When claiming for GP negligence, the victim can claim against individual GPs, a group of GPs or the practice itself.
Claiming for GP negligence: Your Quick Guide
To fully understand how claiming for GP negligence works, you need to learn the steps that need to be taken to claim successfully. Each step is a hurdle that you need to clear if you want your claim to succeed. The steps are as follows:
If you are claiming for GP negligence, success or failure depends if you can clearly show that your medical practitioner has breached their duty of care. This means they have failed to uphold their responsibility of ensuring you are protected from harm, within reason, of course. With the help of an experienced solicitor, you need to prove that a health professional has not provided a reasonable standard of care and skill when treating you.
In these situations, the treatment received must be judged according to the specific area of medicine involved and the time you were treated — as new treatments may have become available since that period. From here, the GP must have acted, or failed to act, in a way that their colleagues agree that treatment was up to the appropriate standards.
At this point, it’s essential to note that just because a GP got something wrong, it doesn’t mean they were negligent. Everyone makes mistakes. This is why we refer your case to an independent medical professional to see if the treatment you received reached the appropriate standard.
The next step of claiming for GP negligence is demonstrating ‘causation’, meaning you must be able to clearly show that your medical condition or injury was caused by or worsened by negligent treatment.
It’s critical to note that any expected treatment outcomes will not be taken into account by the court. For example, if you have surgery or begin a form of treatment and a GP explains the risks to you beforehand, the related pain and suffering are inevitable and not negligence. You can only claim for pain and suffering if it was a direct result of GP negligence. As with identifying liability, medical experts will need to assess the situation.
Also note that GPs will be insured for this purpose, and suing a GP will not impact the availability of care for other patients.
To make a compensation claim for GP negligence, you must be able to demonstrate that you’ve experienced financial losses or losses in other regards. It’s the court’s duty to calculate the amount of compensation you receive for injuries or conditions stemming from negligence. This is referred to as your claim’s value. This amount will be determined by what the defendant agrees to, or if they cannot agree, the court will decide.
Your compensation for GP negligence will be made up of ‘general damages’ — which covers pain, suffering and loss of amenity — and ‘special damages,’ which are quantified by your financial losses.
- Special damages can include loss of earnings in the past, present and future.
- Any impact on pensions
- Cost of care if severely injured
- A need for mobility installations at your property
- Treatments and therapies
- Any other loss attributed to GP negligence
OH Parsons: Medical Negligence Solicitors
The team here at OH Parsons has several decades of experience in handling complex GP negligence claims. Our skilled medical negligence solicitors will thoroughly investigate your claim and do their utmost to help you get the compensation you deserve.
Once we have an admission of liability from your GP, we will ask for an interim payment (immediate payment) of damages, which can be used to get whatever treatment you need as and when required. This payment will ensure you receive compensation for some of your damages right away, allowing you to pay for the treatment with no delays.
Would you like to find out more about claiming for GP negligence and how our experts can help? OH Parsons is a leading law firm with an excellent reputation and a proven track record of success. Get in touch with our helpful team if you want to make a claim.