Tag Archive: medical negligence

  1. Medical Negligence – What It Is, and What You Can Do About It?

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    When you’re recovering from an illness or injury, you want to feel that the best possible care has been taken of you. That’s why injuries or sickness caused by medical negligence are so personal, affecting your trust as well as your health.

    At DRN, we speak to clients who have been the victims of medical negligence regularly. Our medical negligence lawyers are experienced in dealing with cases of this kind and know exactly how to take care of your individual case efficiently and sensitively.

    Medical negligence law can seem a little confusing, so here are some of the most common questions our solicitors are asked by real clients.


    What Is classed as “Medical Negligence”?

    Technically, medical negligence is the term for any medical error that leads to an adverse effect of care, that could have been prevented.

    This means that should you become or continue to be unwell, injured, or suffer unreasonably as the result of a doctor, nurse or other medical professional’s error, you have been the victim of medical negligence.

    Overlooking or missing vital information is also classed as an error, so if a medical professional misses a test result or other important details that would have led to a faster diagnosis or a different treatment being carried out, this is also medical negligence.


    What are the types of “Medical Negligence”?

    There are a number of different classes of medical negligence, and at DRN our solicitors can support you with all of them.

    Misdiagnosis – This form of medical negligence can have serious consequences, including unnecessary and invasive surgery, incorrect or even insufficient treatment.

    Care Home Negligence – Leaving your loved ones in the care of professionals is a difficult decision, and negligence in their care in areas such as their treatment and living standards can be very upsetting.

    Obstetrics and Gynaecology – Medical negligence during pregnancy or birth can lead to avoidable complications for mother and child.

    Fatal Negligence / Gross Negligence Manslaughter – In the worst case scenarios, unfortunately clients or their loved ones have died as a result of medical negligence.

    GP Negligence – If you have been misdiagnosed or treated in a substandard manner by your GP, this is also classed as medical negligence.


    I’m no longer sick – can I still make a Medical Negligence claim?

    Now that you are well again, you can of course make a medical negligence claim. Our specialist medical negligence solicitors will be able to guide you through the steps you need to take, and will be able to help you find the information you need to create a case.


    Can I make a claim on behalf of someone else?

    Sometimes, medical negligence cases cannot be brought forward by the victim themselves. In these cases, depending on the circumstances and your relationship with the victim, you may be able to put together a medical negligence case. Our lawyers will be able to discuss this with you, and walk you through any initial fact-finding steps you might need to take before beginning proceedings.


    Will I need to go to court? 

    It is very rare for a medical negligence case to reach Court level. However, if your case is complex in nature, you may need to appear in Court. Our expert solicitors will be able to support you through every step of your case, making sure you’re prepared for Court, if necessary.

    What evidence will I need to provide?

    In order to put your case together, our solicitors will ask you to provide photographs of your injury and a detailed statement. Your friends and family can also help you, by providing evidence to support your case as witnesses.

    It will also help us is you can provide details of expenses you’ve amassed since your illness or injury was made worse. This can include details of loss of earnings due to missing work, any private treatments or therapies, or any extra aids you may have purchased as a result, such as walking frames or wheelchairs.

    We will collate your medical records, such as any x-rays or prescribed medicines, so you do not have to worry about this part of the process.

    We will then talk to an independent medical professional who will consider your injury, illness or treatment and discuss with us when they feel you will recover, and the lasting effects of your mistreatment that you may suffer.


    How long will it take?

    All medical negligence cases differ, because of their personal nature. Once we have spoken to you about your individual case, we will be able to talk to you about how long we expect the process to take, from start to finish.

    If you’d like to talk to us about starting your own medical negligence case, or you have more questions about the process, please feel free to call us on 01282 433 241.


  2. What is Gross Negligence Manslaughter?

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    The way Gross Negligence Manslaughter is sentenced has undergone significant development in England and Wales in recent years, but are you confident that you know exactly what it is?

    Essentially there are 4 key elements to Gross Negligence Manslaughter:

    • A duty of care owed by the defendant to the victim
    • A breach of that duty of care, applying the principles of negligence
    • The death of the victim caused by breach of the duty of care
    • Proof that the defendant’s conduct departed from the proper standard of care. As this involved the death of the victim, this also should be judged as criminal.

    Gross negligence manslaughter is a form of involuntary manslaughter – in these cases the defendant has been acting lawfully.

    This involuntary manslaughter may have arisen where the defendant has caused death but neither intended to cause death nor intended to cause serious bodily harm. This means that the defendant has not committed murder but an accidental death by other means.


    How is it different to Constructive Manslaughter?

    Gross negligence manslaughter is not committed by an unlawful act, whereas constructive manslaughter is.

    Where gross negligence manslaughter can be committed by omission, constructive manslaughter applies when unlawful actions by the defendant have caused the accidental death of the victim.


    A case example

    R v Adomako [1994] 3 WLR 288 House of Lords

    In this case, the appellant was an anaesthetist in charge of a patient during an eye operation. During the operation an oxygen pipe became disconnected and the patient died. The appellant failed to notice or respond to obvious signs of disconnection. The jury convicted him of gross negligence manslaughter.

    This meant that the jury’s main question was whether the conduct of the defendant was such that it constitutes an unlawful act, or whether this was an omission.


    David Lawson, head of DRN’S Regulatory team explains the jury’s process further.

    “A jury in a gross negligence manslaughter case must apply an objective assessment of whether there was a serious and obvious risk of death. Effectively, as long as the reasonably competent professional would have appreciated the obvious risk of death, liability cannot be avoided simply on the basis that the defendant was incompetent and that he or she had not appreciated that risk.”


    David’s regulatory team are able to offer advice to businesses facing health and safety investigations and/or prosecutions. Further to this, DRN’s Commercial Litigation Department are experienced with undertaking extensive reviews of businesses in relation to a range of matters including employment, commercial and contractual matters.

    Dependant on the size of the business annual retainers are appropriate and can be arranged.


    Have you lost a loved one from the issues that we have covered in this blog? We understand it’s an extremely distressing time, our sympathetic & compassionate solicitors can lead the process so and alleviate one less stress for you. Please call our specialist team on 01282 433 241.