Time Limit On Medical Negligence Claims Against The NHS

By Megan Cullen. Last Updated 11th January 2023. Were you the victim of clinical negligence when being treated by the NHS? If so and you have clear evidence of how they’ve breached their duty of care, you could sue for compensation. However, there are time limits for medical negligence claims which must be respected. We will look at these in more detail throughout this guide. 

Time limit on medical negligence claims against the NHS guide

In addition to looking at the time limits that apply to medical negligence claims against the NHS, we will also look at the different circumstances that can affect these time limits.

We will also look at exactly what constitutes medical negligence and what a typical claim for compensation could include. Furthermore, we’ll look at the different circumstances that could affect the length of time you have to make a medical negligence claim against the NHS.

If you’d like more information about the time limits for claiming against the NHS, then continue reading our guide. Alternatively, a member of our team can be reached on 0161 696 9685.

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A Guide To Time Limits On Medical Negligence Claims Against The NHS

Our guide provides information on medical negligence time limits in the UK, which apply to cases brought against the NHS. If, for example, a condition is misdiagnosed or a surgical mistake was made, you could be entitled to seek compensation. The time limit to sue the NHS would depend on the circumstances surrounding your injuries; we will look at this in greater detail further on in this guide.

We provide detailed advice on what constitutes clinical negligence and how you can tell if the duty of care you were owed was breached. Our guide will offer you an insight into the amount of compensation you could receive for various injuries caused by medical negligence. Furthermore, we will look at the kinds of damages that can be included in a typical compensation claim.

To summarise, we will provide you with further resources that you may find useful when pursuing a claim. We will also answer some of the questions we’re commonly asked about making a claim following medical negligence. 

If, after reading this guide, you still have any questions about medical negligence claim time limits, then please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. Alternatively, if you’d like to get started with the claims process right away, we can help; just call us at the number to the top and bottom of this guide to speak with a member of our team.

NHS Medical Negligence Compensation Calculator

It can appear difficult to put a value on a compensation claim for medical negligence. After all, a breach of the duty of care owed by a healthcare practitioner could have a wide range of effects depending on the individual circumstances. 

Below, we have provided a table indicating the level of compensation you could receive in general damages. General damages is the part of your claim that compensates you for the injuries you’ve sustained and the impact they’ve had on your quality of life.

The amounts used in our compensation table are taken from the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG), which solicitors, as well as courts, use to value medical negligence claims. When you pursue a claim, you’ll be asked to attend a medical appointment with an independent expert. They’ll compile a report, which your solicitor will refer to in conjunction with the JCG in order to put a value on your claim. 

The amounts included are guideline brackets only; the actual amount of compensation you receive could vary.

Injury Type Notes Amount
Kidney Serious damage to both kidneys or both have been lost. £169,400 to £210,400
Kidney There is a serious risk of the kidney loosing its natural function or of a future urinary tract infection. Up to £63,980
Female Reproductive System Disease that causes infertility with sexual dysfunction and pain. £114,900 to £170,280
Male Reproductive System A total loss of the male reproductive organs. In excess of £153,870
Bowels Depending on the person’s age, they may depend on a colostomy due to the total loss of the bowels natural function. Up to £150,110
Epilepsy Established petit mal epilepsy. How much is awarded will depend on whether the attacks can be controlled by medication, effect on social/working life and the prognosis. £54,830 to £131,370
Lung Disease Lung cancer in an older person that affects their quality of life, impairs the lungs function and leaves them in severe pain. £70,030 to £97,330
Bladder The person experiences some incontinence and pain due to a serious impairment of the bladder’s control. £63,980 to £79,930
Lung Disease A disease such as emphysema that worsens the lungs function and impairs breathing. £54,830 to £70,030
Digestive System (b)(i) Pain, vomiting, fever and diarrhoea due to severe toxicosis. The person will be admitted to hospital for a few weeks, £38,430 to £52,500

To receive a more specific estimate of your potential compensation award, we’d need to hear more about your case. Why not call our team of clinical negligence advisers on the number at the top of this page?

Types Of Damages You Could Claim

Medical negligence compensation can consist of two parts. We’ve already looked at general damages, which compensate you for the pain, suffering and loss of amenity you suffered. 

The second part of a compensation claim is special damages. These will compensate you for the financial losses and expenses you’ve incurred as a direct result of the medical negligence that you experienced.

Special damages can include things like: 

Medical Expenses

You can claim back the cost of any prescriptions or medications that you’ve had to pay for while recovering. If you’ve had to pay for any treatment that you weren’t able to get on the NHS, then you may also be able to include the cost of this in your claim. 

Travel Costs

If you’ve been left unable to drive because of your injuries, then you could claim the cost of using public transport to get around. You may also be able to claim back any parking or fuel costs incurred when travelling to and from medical appointments. 

Care Costs

You may need assistance around the home with daily tasks due to your injuries. No matter who takes care of you, the cost of their help can be claimed in special damages.

Loss Of Income

Having to take time off work to recover from your injuries could see you earning less income or missing out on an attendance bonus or pension contributions. You could claim loss of earnings if you did not get paid your normal wage. Your injuries may be so severe that you are unable to carry on working. If this is the case, you can claim loss of future income as special damages as well.

You must provide evidence of costs and losses you incurred to claim these back as special damages. This could be in the form of payslips, receipts and other documentation.

The list of special damages included above is not exhaustive by any means. If you’d like to know whether something can be included in special damages, please speak to a member of our team. They will be happy to provide you with free legal advice.

What Is NHS Negligence?

Patients may sue the NHS for medical negligence compensation for a number of reasons which includes:

  • GP Negligence– This is where an error made by a general practitioner has caused you to become ill or injured. This could include missing or ignoring symptoms that you’re displaying or prescribing you the wrong medication, amongst other things. 
  • Childbirth negligence- This is where errors or negligence that occur during childbirth result in injury to the mother, baby or both. 
  • Surgical negligence– Where an error made during a surgical procedure results in you being harmed. This could include surgery being performed on the wrong site, amongst other things. 
  • Dental Negligence– Where a dentist neglects their duty of care to you, resulting in you being injured.
  • Hospital negligence –This is where a treatment you received in a hospital caused you illness, injury or harm.

What Is An NHS Never Event?

A ‘never event’ is a serious incident that is totally preventable. It is one that could have been avoided, provided the correct guidance and recommendations regarding safety were followed.

Furthermore, when a medical practitioner does not follow the correct protocols, the consequence of their actions has the potential to cause a patient serious harm. In serious cases, it could result in a patient’s death. 

The NHS has provided a list of “never events”. An example includes a surgeon leaving foreign objects inside a person’s body after surgery. These events always require investigation under the Serious Incidents framework.

If you’ve been impacted by any of these forms of medical negligence, get in touch with our team for free legal advice.

What Is A Medical Negligence Claim Against The NHS?

Sometimes, a medical practitioner provides you with treatment and care which falls below the minimum standard of competence, resulting in injury. This constitutes medical negligence. However, in order to claim, you must prove an injury could have been avoided if the treatment you received had been of an acceptable level.

Above all, for a clinical negligence claim to be valid, you must prove a medical practitioner in an NHS healthcare facility breached their duty of care when treating you. In addition to this, you would need to show that the injuries or ill-effects you experienced were directly caused by the action or inaction of the health professional.

An adviser is here to take your call and to offer advice on the time limits for medical negligence claims; just get in touch with our team today.

When Might You Want To Claim For NHS Negligence?

Medical experts have a range of responsibilities towards their patients, depending on their area of care. So it follows that there are a number of different ways that you can be the victim of medical negligence. These include: 

  • Being prescribed incorrect medication or dosage, resulting in you becoming ill or your original condition worsening. 
  • During childbirth, you or your baby were injured due to the negligence of a nurse, midwife or surgeon.
  • Suffering harm during or after a surgical procedure because the surgery was carried out incorrectly
  • Having the wrong tooth extracted by a dentist 
  • Contracting an infection during a hospital stay as a result of unsanitary conditions, tools or instruments

The list that we’ve provided above doesn’t cover all of the ways a medical professional can breach their duty of care. Speak to a member of our team to see if you would be eligible to claim.

What Is Breach Of Duty Of Care And Causation?

You have to show that on the balance of probabilities, the harm you were caused could have been avoided had you received a better standard of care.

This means you have to show that, were it not for the actions of the negligent healthcare provider, you wouldn’t have suffered from the injury or illness. Sometimes, a claim might be made for misdiagnosis or an illness that hasn’t been diagnosed in good time. In these cases, you need to be able to show that the condition would not have worsened were it not for the standard of care you received. 

In a claim for compensation for medical negligence, the medical professional’s peers will be asked to confirm how they would have acted in the same circumstances. Someone in the same profession could confirm that they would have acted differently when presented with the same circumstances. If this is the case, then the healthcare provider can be said to be negligent.  

A member of our team can assess your case and offer free legal advice on whether you could proceed with a claim for compensation against the NHS. Just get in touch with us today for more information.

Who Could I Make A Claim Against?

The NHS Resolution, formerly known as the NHS Litigation Authority, handles clinical and non-clinical claims made against the NHS.

There are some schemes specifically designed to compensate patients who are harmed. These are:

Please do not hesitate in contacting a member of our team to find out who your negligence claim could be filed against if you are unsure who is to blame. Furthermore, for advice on time limits for medical negligence claims, a member of our team is here to assist you.

Medical Negligence Claim Time Limits And Their Exceptions

If you have suffered harm due to a medical professional breaching their duty of care, such as a doctor or nurse, you could potentially make a medical negligence claim. However, for doctor negligence claims, there is a time limit that you must adhere to when making your claim. Generally, these time limits are 3 years from the date medical negligence caused you harm, or 3 years from the date of knowledge. This is the date you first realised medical negligence caused you to become harmed.

However, there are exceptions to the time limit on medical negligence claims. These are:

  • Those who lack the mental capacity – If someone lacks the mental capacity to make a claim for themself, they will have 3 years to start a claim if they regain this capacity. Alternatively, a court-appointed litigation friend could make a claim on their behalf.
  • Minors – If your child was harmed due to medical negligence, they will have 3 years to start a claim once they turn 18. Or a litigation friend could make a claim on their behalf before this time.

Do not hesitate to contact our advisors today if you have any questions, such as ‘Can you sue the NHS for medical negligence?’.

Frequently Asked Questions About NHS Negligence Time Limits

Below, we’ve included some of the questions we’re commonly asked about the time limits for claiming against the NHS.

Can I sue the NHS after 3 years?

A medical negligence claim against the NHS should generally be filed within 3 years. To clarify, you must make a claim for compensation within 3 years of being injured or from when you became aware that your injury was caused by negligence.

Where children are concerned, the time limit does not begin until they turn 18 years of age. This means that a child has up until their 21st birthday to seek clinical negligence compensation, provided a litigation friend hasn’t claimed on their behalf while they were still underage.

What if my loved one lacks the mental capacity to claim for themselves?

You can act as a litigation friend to claim on their behalf. The time limit for claiming is frozen unless they regain the mental capacity to make a claim. At this point, the three-year time limit starts.

What would a patient have to prove to claim medical negligence?

In order to make a claim for medical negligence against the NHS, you need to be able to prove two things: “breach of duty” and “causation”. 

“Breach of duty” means that the level of care you received fell below the acceptable standard. To prove causation, you need to show that the injury or illness suffered was a direct result of the breach of duty you experienced. You need to be able to show that, were it not for the substandard care you received, you would not have suffered in the way you did.

No Win No Fee Medical Negligence Claims Against The NHS

A No Win No Fee agreement, which is sometimes referred to as a Conditional Fee Agreement, is a way of making a claim that doesn’t require the upfront or ongoing payment that’s often associated with legal representation. 

When you sign a Conditional Fee Agreement with a lawyer, you do not have to pay anything for them to start working on your case. The benefits of working with a No Win No Fee lawyer are detailed below:

  • No upfront or ongoing fees to pay, no matter how long it takes to settle your claim.
  • Nothing to pay your solicitor in the event that your claim doesn’t succeed
  • If you win your case, a legally capped success fee is taken from your payment to cover your solicitor’s costs. 

For more information on whether you have good grounds for a medical negligence claim against the NHS, please reach out to a member of our team today. If your claim has a good chance of success, you could be connected with a No Win No Fee lawyer from our panel.

Contact Us

If you want to learn more about making a clinical negligence claim against the NHS, get in touch with our team today. Additionally, if you have questions you would like answered, a friendly adviser is here to assist you. We can be reached in the following ways:

More Information

Claiming compensation for a hospital-acquired infectionIf you contracted an infection in a hospital, read our guide to see if you could claim.

How to sue the NHS for clinical negligenceThis guide provides more information on claiming against the NHS.

Medical negligence wrongful death claims– In this guide, we’ll look at the process of claiming compensation for medical negligence resulting in death. 

Making a complaint to the NHSThe link provided takes you to the NHS complaints website.

NHS Resolution This page provides more information on the NHS Resolution procedure.

Duties of a doctor- This ethical guidance from the General Medical Council outlines the standards expected from doctors in four domains.

Other Medical Negligence Guides

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