Although the UK healthcare system is rated as one of the best in the world, in part thanks to the high level of expertise of our healthcare professionals, that doesn’t guarantee that things wouldn’t go wrong sometimes. . Medical negligence lawsuits have become much less common in the UK, although issues such as lack of medical skills, human error and understaffed or underfunded medical facilities can all contribute to issues that tragically affect patients.
Filing a medical malpractice complaint is a difficult process, and doing so for a minor can make it even more difficult. When your child is hurt, it can be difficult to stay calm and think clearly, but if you want to make the best decisions for your child, you need to resist impulsive emotions.
If your child has been injured as a result of medical malpractice, he or she has the right to file a medical malpractice claim and obtain compensation for his injuries. While the process can be intimidating for both the child and the parents, a legal professional can help make the process less difficult to navigate.
Because every medical malpractice claim is unique, what works for one person may not be a feasible option for another. However, to help you understand and manage the process, we have put together a number of questions and answers which you can read below. Hopefully this clarifies what you can or should do if your child has been injured as a result of medical malpractice.
Can children file a claim for medical negligence?
A claim can be made by anyone who has been the victim of medical negligence, whether minor or not. The following are examples of cases that count as medical negligence:
- Incorrect diagnosis or failure
- Trauma and injuries
- Wrong surgical procedures
- Ignoring or misinterpreting test results
- Prescribing or administering inappropriate medications
- Poor or lack of follow-up after treatment
- Ignoring the patient’s medical history
In addition, children can claim compensation for damage caused to themselves or their mother as a result of their birth. Depriving a child of oxygen in the first moments of life, for example, can lead to cerebral palsy and other disorders for which compensation may be sought.
Because a young person may not always know what is best for them, they need a friend in litigation to be able to make a claim. Usually it is one of their parents. The Litigation Friend will speak with the lawyer and ensure that the case is handled in the best interests of the child.
Against whom are these claims made?
One of the main reasons parents fear filing medical malpractice lawsuits on behalf of their children is lack of knowledge about who to sue. As the experts at Medical Negligence Law explain, anyone with a medical obligation to the child, such as hospitals, doctors, surgeons, nurses and mental health specialists, can be subject to ” a complaint if they do not provide the appropriate care.
In these types of situations, the most important thing is to make sure that the claim is genuine, which means proving that the medical expert did not offer specific treatment or therapy and caused an injury to the patient. child.
Is there a deadline for filing the complaint?
Victims of medical malpractice in England and Wales have three years to file a complaint. This is called a “limitation period”. As far as minors are concerned, however, the restriction period does not begin until they reach the age of 18, when they acquire adult mental capacity.
Even at the age of 18, if it is established that the child does not have the mental capacity to handle a claim, the statute of limitations does not start, which means that the child can file a claim at any time. moment. If the person’s mental capacity improves in the future, that changes.
Yet time is running out when it comes to filing a medical claim. Over time, valuable evidence that could help the case may be lost, making the case harder to win. Experts urge you to take action as soon as possible to avoid these consequences.
What will happen to the compensation received by a minor?
If the child receives compensation, the court is obligated to protect the funds on their behalf. They will be able to access it after reaching adult mental capacity, which normally happens when the child turns 18. If necessary, requests can be made to access some of these funds before the child turns 18, but it must be shown that the money will be used for the welfare of the child. child.
A professional assistant will be appointed to administer these funds if the young person does not acquire mental capacity as an adult. The professional assistant is responsible for making payments to meet the child’s needs, such as housing, professional babysitters, and appropriate treatment.
Should I contact a medical negligence lawyer?
Getting the help of a personal injury and medical malpractice lawyer can be extremely helpful in your case. Lawyers specializing in this area have great expertise in claiming compensation and can provide you with good advice on how to proceed.
When it comes to medical negligence, especially with a child involved, there are many tricky issues to consider, and only a professional can properly handle these issues. In most cases, the friend in the dispute is one of the parents, and it can be difficult to assess things objectively and make the best judgments when your child has been hurt. A qualified lawyer can offer help and alleviate some of the family’s worries in this situation.
How much does it cost to file a compensation claim?
This may be the most pressing problem for most parents, but even as the costs rise dramatically, there are solutions to consider. Most medical negligence attorneys work on a No Win No Fee basis – officially known as the Contingency Fee Agreement – which allows the victim to make little or no financial effort.
Your lawyer will review the case to see if it is strong enough to pursue a claim, and if so, they will. If your legal action is successful, the defendant will be responsible for covering the legal costs.