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GP negligence compensation claims

There is no denying that we have access to some of the finest healthcare in the world, and while the majority of patients seen by GPs encounter the best care, sometimes treatment can fall below the standard that is considered reasonable.

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You may be able to make a claim for compensation if you've suffered as a result of GP negligence. This may have happened if your doctor failed to provide the appropriate treatment, provided wrong or delayed treatment, or delayed in seeking urgent specialist advice, and that negligent treatment caused you harm that you would not have otherwise suffered.

Our team of expert lawyers are here to guide you through the claims process, and help you get the compensation you need at this difficult time.

How can Shoosmiths help with a claim?

Our specialist medical negligence lawyers have helped thousands of individuals and their families navigate some of the most difficult and traumatic periods. Helping them to find out what went wrong and secured compensation to help them move forward with their lives.

We work with experts in all areas of medicine and rehabilitation services to ensure that where possible you have the care that you need paid for by securing early interim payments.

What is GP medical negligence?

GPs must have wide medical knowledge and are required to deliver care using their skill, judgement and experience at a standard expected of a reasonable and competent body of GPs. 

Examples of cases we have dealt with involving GP negligence include failure to diagnose infections such as meningitis, failure to recognise and act on the symptoms of cauda equina and spinal conditions, misdiagnosis of cancer or heart problems, and delay in referral to specialists. Prescribing the wrong medication or incorrect doses are also common grounds for making a claim.

If you have suffered a worse outcome and loss as a result of GP negligence you may be able to make a GP negligence claim.

How can GP medical negligence affect you?

GPs are often our first port of call when we're seeking advice or treatment for an illness or ailment. So, if we encounter negligence it can have a profound impact on us.

Not only can a failure to recognise, diagnose and treat a condition led to exacerbation of an existing condition, it can also result in the condition getting worse and, tragically in some circumstances, can result in death.

While we understand that no amount of compensation could ever make up for what happened to you, compensation can make a difference and help make life easier. Making a claim can also help you understand what happened, why it happened and prevent it from happening to someone else.

  • The impact of COVID-19 on GP negligence claims

    Understandably, the pandemic has impacted our lives greatly, and none more so than our GP practices. With online video and telephone appointments, delayed tests and results, and even cancelled appointments, there are some patients who aren't receiving the care they deserve. As a result of this, many patients are being misdiagnosed or receiving a diagnosis too late.

    Which is what occurred in the case of a 12-month-old, whose hip dysplasia wasn't diagnosed in time. Because of this, she could be left with lifelong mobility issues that could so easily have been avoided. 

    The COVID-19 pandemic has caused major disruption to the treatment of cancer and heart patients as well as many other departments, and these disruptions could have far reaching consequences.

    Whilst the way in which GPs have been able to deliver their services and treatment has been impacted by the restrictions imposed by the Government, GPs are still required to provide a safe, reasonable and acceptable standard of care. 

    If during the pandemic you have been misdiagnosed or there is a delay in your treatment that has caused your outcome to be worse, it does not mean that you will not be able to make a GP negligence claim. Our specialist medical negligence lawyers will review the facts of your claim and will take into account the circumstances at the time and be able to advise you if you have a potential claim.

    If you or a loved one is suffering as a result of GP negligence, whether it was because of a medical mistake, a delay in diagnosis, or poor treatment, get in touch and we can tell you free of charge whether your claim should be investigated.

  • Why should you make a GP negligence claim?

    There is no denying that we have access to some of the finest healthcare in the world, and while the majority of patients seen by GPs encounter the best care, sometimes treatment can fall below the standard that is considered reasonable.

    As a result of this breach of duty of care, you may be suffering unnecessarily from a deterioration in your condition or illness that will impact your life in the short and possibly longer term.

    Many people remain reluctant to take legal action against a negligent GP because they fear it will sour the relationship and affect their future care. We understand that making a claim against your GP is distressing, but if you think you may have been harmed as a result of inadequate or negligent care from your GP, you are entitled to seek an explanation and legal redress.

    While monetary compensation can never fully make up for the undue distress and trauma that you have experienced, it can help you to start to rebuild your life.

  • How to make a complaint against a GP

    Most NHS care, treatments, and procedures run smoothly, and patients are treated with the full care and respect they deserve, and receive correct and adequate treatment, but sometimes mistakes happen. If you have concerns regarding the care you received, you have a right to make a complaint.

    Some problems can be dealt with on the spot if you’re comfortable raising them informally with staff. However, if you don't feel comfortable with that course of action, or you are dissatisfied with their solution, you can ask for a copy of the surgery's complaints procedure and use this to make a formal complaint. It's important that you keep a record of who you speak or write to, and on what date. If you raise your complaint verbally, make sure you write down everything you discuss.

    You must also decide what you want from the complaint: an apology, reimbursement of fees paid, to make certain that a safe system is put into place, or compensation.

    All complaints made against a GP or nurse practitioner will be handled within a 'reasonable time', though there is no official limit on how long it can take to resolve your issue. In the meantime, you can seek additional advice from a specialist GP negligence solicitor, who can take a witness statement, and start gathering evidence should you wish to make a claim.

Next Steps

With our expert legal advice, you’ll have the tools and options to make informed choices if you decide to make a claim for GP Negligence. It doesn’t cost a penny to get in touch for an initial chat 0808 231 1564 or by sending us a message.

 

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We can help you

Call our specialists for a free initial discussion.

Meet our experts

Phil Barnes

Phil Barnes

Partner

Medical negligence

Phil is national head of medical negligence. It has been said of Phil that he's the kind of guy to pull out all the stops so call Phil today.

Denise Stephens

Denise Stephens

Partner

Medical negligence

Denise is a passionate, highly skilled medical negligence lawyer with a heart of gold. She cares genuinely about getting you justice so tell Denise your story.

Kashmir Uppal

Kashmir Uppal

Partner

Medical negligence

Award winning medical negligence lawyer Kashmir is tireless in her pursuit of accountability. Contact Kashmir today.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How do you know if you have a claim?

    As the claimant, you have to prove that the care and/or treatment that you received from the GP fell below the standard of care that was expected of a GP at that time. If you can establish this, you must also then establish that the negligence of the GP caused you to suffer a worse outcome and caused you a loss.

    Medical negligence claims can be complex and require a specialist lawyer who not only understands the law in this area but also understands the medical issues and is able to identify the experts needed to prove your claim.

    At Shoosmiths, our team of specialist medical negligence lawyers have the skills and expertise to investigate the claim and take cases through to a successful conclusion.

    Which is what we did for one of our clients who visited his GP on several occasions with concerns about a known heart condition. We pursued a claim against all three GPs who had failed to refer him. We settled a few months later before trial for a significant amount of compensation.

    If you're unsure whether you have the grounds to make a claim, you can call us free on 0808 231 1564 or send us a message and we'll speak with you on a date and time that works for you.

  • How to make a GP negligence claim?

    Whether you're dissatisfied with the outcome of your complaint or you're seeking additional redress, the first step in making a GP negligence claim is to speak to an expert lawyer. They will assess whether you have a case for bringing a claim, and whether there are likely to be sufficient prospects of success and if so, assess the potential value of the claim.

    You will need to obtain a complete set of your medical records, which will be reviewed by a medical expert, as well as your lawyer.

    To be successful with a medical negligence claim it is necessary to prove two tests. Initially we need to show that the treatment, or lack of treatment, provided to you was unreasonable (breach of duty). We then need to prove that, as a result, harm has been caused (causation). To help establish these two tests independent medical experts will be instructed to prepare reports. Experts can only comment on areas within their direct specialism.

    You may also need to be examined by a medical expert in order for them to comment on how likely you are to recover in the future. This information is crucial when valuing a claim.

    Once we have received the expert evidence, and issues of breach and causation have been established, we can start to value your claim. We will be in a position to present a claim to the defendant(s).

    The defendant(s) will then have four months to investigate, obtain their own reports, and to confirm whether the claim will be contested or admitted.

    If a settlement cannot be reached or the defendant(s) deny any wrongdoing, then it might be necessary to take your claim to court.

    But please rest assured that throughout this process, no matter the duration, we'll be by your side.

  • Who to bring a claim against?

    If you think you have encountered negligence at the hands of your GP or nurse, leaving you with ongoing difficulties that would not have arisen if you had received proper care, then you may be entitled to make a claim.

    When bringing a claim against a GP the correct defendant must be identified, and a separate claim must be brought against each individual involved. Because GPs do not work for the NHS, and they are in fact only contracted by them, GPs and nurse practitioners must take out their own indemnity insurance. This includes doctors and nurses who work in out of hours clinics; even those attached to hospitals.

    GPs obtain medical indemnity cover from not for profit mutuals like the Medical Defence Union (MDU), Medical Protection Society (MPS). MDDUS were set up to protect the interests of their members and to manage litigation on behalf of the doctor. In most cases, GPs are indemnified to a maximum of £10 million, and nurse practitioners to a maximum of £3 million. This has caused issues in the past with previous claimants, because the indemnity cover does not cover the amount of damages awarded, and in some circumstances, the insurer has refused to cover individuals all together. However, the issue is now changing because the NHS has, in certain circumstances, taken over the indemnity if a GP or nurse practitioner is sued.

    Since 1 April 2019, NHS Resolution started operating a new state indemnity scheme for general practice in England. This scheme covers clinical negligence in relation to incidents that occurred on or after 1 April 2019 and provides a fully comprehensive indemnity for all claims within its scope.

    A case we are still working on, highlighted the problems of such loopholes in liability and indemnity cover. The tragic case involved at the time, a 2-year-old girl who had contracted meningitis. As a result of the failures in the care provided by a nurse practitioner, she is now, at 14, severely disabled. However, because the treatment was sought in a sub-contracted out-of-hours GP service, the NHS denied any liability. 

    On 6 April 2020, the Existing Liabilities Scheme for General Practice (ELSGP), was established to provide indemnity cover for NHS clinical negligence claims made against current and former GP members of medical defence organisations (MDOs) in respect of liabilities incurred before 1 April 2019.  This is where terms have been agreed with MDOs in relation to indemnity provision for their GP members under the ELSGP.

    While it appears that this loophole has been partially closed by new NHS schemes, which now cover liabilities arising in general practice, including some events that occurred before the schemes started, the schemes do not currently cover this claim.

    If you find yourself in a similar position, we're here to help. When you're ready, you can call us on 0808 231 1564 and we can explain more about the process.

  • Could a claim affect treatment?

    Claims should not affect your treatment. However, if you have any concerns about this and you no longer feel comfortable being treated in a place where you have suffered at the hands of those who should have helped you, a complaint should be made to the practice and/or you can contact the Primary Care Trust.

  • How long do GP medical negligence claims take?

    Unfortunately, there is no set duration as each case is different. Sometimes, when the other party admits the negligence, things can take less than a year to resolve whereas other times, if the other party does not accept responsibility and there’s a lot of complex information to understand, the claim may take more than two years.

    Often GP medical negligence claims can take so long to resolve simply because the claims can be very complex. Your claim has to be properly investigated so that evidence can be gathered. Your solicitor will obtain and review your medical records and you will also need to be examined by one or more medical experts, and these steps alone can take between six and twelve months.

    But you can rest assured that we will try and settle claims as quickly as possible while making sure you get the compensation you need. In fact, during negotiations, it may be possible for you to receive an interim payment as an advance on your compensation. This could help you to make any alterations you need to your home or to pay for additional treatment. Any amounts received as an interim payment are deducted from your final award.

  • Do claims end up in court?

    GP negligence claims rarely go to court, with only the most complex cases ending up there. Although if the defendant denies responsibility altogether, your claim will take longer to settle, and court action becomes more likely. However, if your case does go to court, we will help you through the process, and will be with you every step of the way.

  • Can you make a claim on behalf of someone else?

    It is possible to make a claim on behalf of someone else if: 

    • You're the parent/guardian of a child under the age of 18 
    •  A loved one is unable to claim themselves because of the injuries sustained
    • A family member has passed away as a result of their injuries

    If you're unsure about whether or not you can claim on behalf of a loved one, you can call us for a no obligation chat on 0808 231 1564

  • How long do you have to make a GP negligence claim?

    A GP negligence claim is given the same time restrictions as any other medical negligence claim - and you will however, in certain circumstances, the three year time limit doesn't apply:

    • You’re acting on behalf of someone under the age of 18. In child injury claims , you can start a claim at any point up until their 18th birthday. This is when the three year limit then starts.
    • You’re acting on behalf of someone who lacks the capacity to. The time limit only starts when they regain that capacity. If it’s permanent, however, no limit will apply.
  • How much does it cost to bring a claim?
    Because we want to provide access to justice for as many people as possible, we take most cases on a No Win No Fee basis. With our medical negligence cases, we do not charge a 'success fee'. Instead, our lawyers will charge their full costs and any shortfall that cannot be recovered from the defendant, including counsel’s costs and any insurance premium (although part may be recoverable) is deducted from the total compensation award. We aim to keep this sum as low as possible to minimise any deductions from your compensation.
  • How much could you receive in GP negligence claims compensation?

    There is no set amount for how much compensation you could receive following a successful claim, but it will depend on a few factors:

    • The extent of your injury/illness
    • Any expenses you've incurred as a result the negligence
    • Your future care needs

    It is important to remember that the amount awarded is to reflect the loss / and or damage you have encountered, and to help put you in the same financial position that you would have been in prior to your treatment.

  • Why chose Shoosmiths to help with your GP negligence claim?

    When you choose Shoosmiths to help with your negligence claim you're not only trusting a firm with decades of experience and a proven track record of securing excellent results for our clients, but you're choosing a team that understands the difficulties you are facing and are passionate about helping you achieve the best possible outcome. 

    We've built a reputation for taking a professional and sensitive approach to individuals and families by providing access to justice for those who need it the most. We treat everyone with the same care and understanding they deserve.

    As well as that, we also have the accreditations and awards to back up our knowledge. These include: 

    Ultimately, you can trust Shoosmiths to help you with your GP negligence claim because we care about you. We understand that what we do can make a real difference to your life. 

    We know that there is no figure that can be put on a life changed or a life lost as a result of negligence, but we do everything in our power to ensure you achieve the best result possible. 
    Read what some of our clients have to say about us and see that you're not alone, and there are people out there who can help. 

    And when you're ready to get in touch, we'll be here for you. 

     

Next Steps

With our expert legal advice, you’ll have the tools and options to make informed choices if you decide to make a claim for GP Negligence. It doesn’t cost a penny to get in touch for an initial chat 0808 231 1564 or by sending us a message.

 

Contact Us
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