Medical Negligence claims procedure
Medical negligence claims follow a set procedure which is explained briefly here…
There is a procedure in relation to medical negligence investigations which must be undertaken before Court proceedings can be pursued. As soon as possible a detailed statement is obtained from you and we then proceed to obtain your medical records.
It can take up to 3 months, in some cases longer, to obtain the medical records. In rare cases it may be necessary to obtain the records from those suspected of being negligent by issuing an application in the appropriate Court.
Access to Medical Records
For your information, the Data Protection Act 1988 which came into force on the 1st March 2000 covers requests for access to information which includes health records s. The new Act replaces the access to health records act and covers all health records, both hard copies and those in electronic format, whenever they were created. The maximum fee for access to electronic records and the maximum for hard copy records is £50.00 but if treatment has been recorded 40 days immediately prior to the request there is no fee for access.
Your statement and medical records are then submitted to an expert medical practitioner of the appropriate expertise who will advise on the liability issues.
If the conclusion of that report is positive, i.e. we can establish that there has been negligence in the medical care, we would then instruct the expert on the causation element of the claim, i.e. the difference that the negligence has made to the outcome.
It will probably be necessary for the expert to see you but this does not happen in all cases. As experts are busy and generally limit the number of cases they take on there may be considerable delay before that report is available. In some cases this could take up to 6 months and in rare cases more.
Instruction of Expert
During the course of the action, we will need to instruct medical experts and possibly other non medical experts and Counsel. If so, we will instruct one of the approved experts from the list maintained by our firm unless you instruct us otherwise.
It is difficult to give a definitive view in terms of timescales however it is likely to take 3-5 months to obtain copies of medical notes. Whilst we are waiting for those, time will not be lost since we will make enquiries with suitable experts who can assist by providing a report on liability (and causation) so that as soon as we have the notes they can be sent straight off with the letter of instruction.
The experts may take anything from 3-6 months to provide their report (in rare cases longer) but we hope to be able to advise whether or not your case can proceed within 18 months of our first meeting.
Generally we would agree to take the case on a Conditional Fee Agreement basis unless you had some form of Legal Expense Insurance that may support the claim.
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