Who Can Make Surgical Negligence Claims?

In this guide, we’ll explain how to make surgical negligence claims. All medical professionals, including surgeons, owe their patients a duty of care to provide care of the correct standard. A failure to do so leading to avoidable harm could constitute medical negligence or surgical negligence. Medical negligence can have a significant and long-lasting effect on your day-to-day life, especially when surgical errors are involved. But no matter how major or minor the harm you suffered is, you may be able to claim compensation.

We’ll explore when you could be eligible to make a medical negligence compensation claim, and what kinds of evidence you can use to support your case. We’ll also discuss the different types of surgical negligence, and how they can occur.

Finally, we’ll discuss compensation payouts and how they’re calculated. Many factors contribute to the calculation of compensation, including the severity of your injuries and the circumstances of your accident. We’ll discuss this in more detail, and then talk about how a No Win No Fee solicitor from our panel could help you throughout the claims process.

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Our team of advisors are here to help. If you’d like to learn more about the medical negligence claims process, or if you are ready to start your surgical negligence claim, contact us today by:

Sterile instruments sit on a cloth pad prepped for surgery.

Browse Our Guide

  1. What Are Surgical Negligence Claims? 
  2. How To Prove A Surgery Negligence Claim
  3. What Are The Different Types Of Surgical Negligence?
  4. How Much Compensation Could You Receive For Surgical Negligence? 
  5. How Do You Make No Win No Fee Surgical Negligence Claims?
  6. Read More About Surgical Negligence Claims

What Are Surgical Negligence Claims? 

When suing a hospital for compensation, you need to be able to prove that medical negligence occurred. All healthcare professionals owe their patients a duty of care, including surgeons. This means that the care they provide needs to meet a minimum standard, and they need to prevent causing avoidable harm to their patients.

For the purposes of a compensation claim, medical negligence occurs when:

  • You are owed a duty of care by a medical professional
  • This duty is breached
  • You suffer avoidable harm as a result

If you can prove that medical negligence occurred while you were undergoing surgery, you may be able to make a surgical negligence claim.

The steps that doctors and other professionals are expected to take to uphold their duty of care can vary between disciplines. For example, the General Medical Council (GMC) provides guidance for doctors, and the Nursing and Midwifery Council provides standards for nurses and midwives.

Is There A Time Limit For Claiming Surgery Negligence Compensation?

Generally, you have three years to start surgery negligence claims. This time limit is set out in the Limitation Act 1980, and begins on the date you suffered the avoidable harm due to a breach of duty, or on the date that you realised medical negligence had occurred.

However, there are some exceptions to this rule. For example, the time limit doesn’t apply to those under the age of eighteen. A litigation friend can claim on their behalf during this time, but if no claim has been made by their eighteenth birthday, then they’ll have three years to claim for themselves.

The same applies to those who lack the mental capacity to claim. In these cases, a litigation friend can claim on their behalf at any time. If they recover the needed capacity and no claim has made, they’ll have three years from the date of their recovery to make their own claim.

To learn more about surgical negligence claims, read on. Or, to find out if you are within the time limit to claim medical negligence compensation, contact our advisors today.

Surgeons prepare for an operation in a hospital.

How To Prove A Surgery Negligence Claim

When making surgical negligence claims, one of the most important steps is collecting evidence. It’s your responsibility to prove your claim, but you don’t need to do it alone. One of the benefits of working with a solicitor is that they can help you gather relevant evidence such as:

  • Witness statements: These could include statements from a chaperone or a member of staff who witnessed the medical negligence. You can’t take these statements yourself, but a professional can later on in the process so be sure to have a record of the witnesses contact details.
  • Photographs: Taking photographs of visible injuries, such as infected stitches, can help illustrate the severity of the harm you suffered.
  • Medical records: Your medical records and other documentation, such as copies of X-rays, ultrasounds, and test results, can all be used as evidence.
  • A symptoms diary: Keeping a symptoms diary of how the surgical error affected you can help demonstrate how your day to day life has changed.

Your case may also be put to the Bolam test. In this case, a panel of experts in the surgical field will review the actions of the medical professional in question and produce a report on whether they provided the correct standard of care.

Get in touch today to find out how a solicitor from our panel could help you prove your claim, or read on to learn more about how to sue a hospital for surgical negligence.

What Are The Different Types Of Surgical Negligence?

There are many different kinds of surgical errors that could occur in a hospital, including:

  • Wrong-site surgery: Surgery on the wrong site of the body, for example, if a patient requiring an appendectomy received surgery on their colon instead.
  • Wrongful amputation: For example, if patient medical records were mixed up and no checks were carried out, a patient could have amputation surgery that was meant for another patient.
  • Foreign bodies: If foreign bodies such as watches, sponges, towels, or other surgical instruments are left inside the body after surgery, this can result in serious damage and infection.
  • Poor hygiene: This can lead to serious infections. For example, if a surgeon were to drop an instrument and then continue using it, or if they failed to properly scrub in.

These are just a few kinds of surgical errors, some of which could potentially lead to valid surgical negligence claims if the relevant criteria is met. To learn more about when you could potentially make a claim, get in touch with one of our advisors today.

Surgeons operate on a patient.

How Much Compensation Could You Receive For Surgical Negligence? 

When it comes to compensation, a variety of different factors can affect how much you’re awarded for a successful claim. For example, the severity of the harm you suffered, the effect it will have on your life, and the financial repercussions will all be considered.

Generally, compensation can be split into two heads. The first head, general damages, is awarded to every successful claimant. This head of claim covers the pain and suffering you endured as a result of medical negligence, as well as the loss of amenity or loss of enjoyment you suffered.

The Judicial College Guidelines (JCG) can help when calculating this head of claim. This document provides guideline compensation brackets for injuries of differing severities. In the table below, you can find some examples of brackets that could relate to surgical negligence. Please note that the first entry in this table is not a bracket from the JCG.

Guideline Compensation Amounts

InjurySeverityCompensation Bracket
Multiple Serious Injuries and/or Illnesses And Special DamagesSeriousUp to £1,000,000+
Brain DamageVery severe (a)£282,010 to £403,990
Moderately severe (b)£219,070 to £282,010
Injuries Affecting SightTotal blindness (b)In the region of
£268,720
Kidney Injuries Serious and permanent (a)£169,400 to £210,400
Bowel Injuries Total loss of function (b)Up to £150,110
Bladder Injuries Total loss of function and control (b)Up to £140,660
Chest Injuries Damage to chest and lungs (c)£31,310 to £54,830

Special Damages

Not everyone is eligible for special damages, which is the second head of compensation you could receive. Under this heading, you are compensated for the financial losses you receive as a result of the medical negligence. For example, under this heading, you could recoup the cost of:

  • Lost earnings
  • Travel
  • Prescriptions
  • Home adjustments
  • Mobility aids
  • Prosthetics

To claim under this heading, you need to be able to prove your losses. This can include providing invoices or receipts.

If you’re ready to start your claim, contact our team today. Alternatively, you can read on to learn more about the benefits solicitors can bring to surgical negligence claims.

How Do You Make No Win No Fee Surgical Negligence Claims? 

Making a medical negligence claim can seem daunting or complex, but you don’t need to do it alone. Our panel of expert solicitors work on a No Win No Fee basis, which means that they work with their clients through a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA).

With a CFA, your solicitor won’t take an upfront fee to start working on your case, nor will they charge you for their work if the claim fails. If the claim succeeds, then they will take a success fee. This fee is taken from your compensation as a small percentage that is capped by law.

Contact Our Team

Our team of advisors are here to help. When you get in touch, they can evaluate your surgical negligence claim for free, and answer any questions you might have about the claims process. Then, if you have a valid medical negligence claim, they may connect you with a No Win No Fee solicitor from our panel.

If you’d like to sue a doctor for compensation following a surgical error, contact our team today by:

A solicitor working on surgical negligence claims.

Read More About Surgical Negligence Claims 

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Thank you for reading our guide to surgical negligence claims. If you have any other questions, please contact an advisor on the number above.