What is medical negligence?

‘Medical negligence lawyers focused on your needs’

If you’re asking yourself ‘What is medical negligence?’, as medical negligence lawyers we’re ideally placed to help. Before anything else, we’ll help you assess the costs of pursuing a claim against any compensation you may be likely to receive. If costs make a claim unviable, we may advise you against pursuing it.



The three steps of medical negligence claims

One way of answering the question ‘What is medical negligence?’ is to explain the three steps involved in every claim. Think of each step as a hurdle that has to be cleared in order for your claim to be successful. If your case falls at any of the hurdles, your claim will fail.

  • Liability
    Your case has to show a breach of duty of care that has led to negligent medical treatment. Your medical negligence lawyers have to prove that a clinician or health professional has not exercised a reasonable standard of skill or care when treating you.
    The standard of medical treatment has to be judged by the standards of that particular grade of staff, the area of medicine involved, and the time when you had treatment. The clinician must have done something, or failed to do something, that his or her colleagues would say showed that your treatment wasn’t up to a proper standard.
    Of course, doctors and medical staff can get something wrong without being negligent. This really is a question for medical experts. So unless another medical professional says there has been negligence, you won’t be able to bring a claim.
  • Causation
    You must show that your injury or condition was caused by the negligent treatment. The court won’t take into account any outcomes from your treatment that might have been expected, or any pain and suffering that would unfortunately have been inevitable. You can only claim for extra pain and suffering if it was caused by the negligence. Medical experts will need to assess your situation.
  • Damages
    You must be able to demonstrate that you’ve suffered losses. The court calculates the amount of compensation you should receive for any injury caused by the negligent treatment. This is known as the value of your claim, and is what your opponent agrees to pay, or what the court decides if no agreement is possible.

Compensation is made up of two parts. The first takes into account general damages, which is compensation for your pain, suffering and effects on your day-to-day life. How much you receive will depend on the Judicial Studies Board Guidelines and past awards made in similar cases. The second is special damages, which includes funds for your financial losses, both in the past and in the future. You’ll need to provide evidence and documentary proof to support any claim. Interest will also be included in any award you receive.


Our credentials

“A premier Somerset firm with experience of a broad range of high-value matters, including catastrophic birth injury claims. Routinely engaged on cerebral palsy cases and spinal injury claims, and offers expertise in weight loss surgery and dental negligence matters. Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients): “Withy King were caring and understood us. They listened to our concerns and needs, and helped in whichever way they could.” “They are incredibly organised, easy to approach and they have a very supportive team who are incredibly sympathetic.” Notable practitioners: Head of department Simon Elliman (Band 1) oversees an array of complex claims, including cerebral palsy and spinal injury matters. In addition he acts on dental negligence cases. Sources say: “He is very able and he inspires confidence through calmness.” Market observers consider Paul Rumley (Band 1) “a very approachable lawyer with vast experience on high-value and complex cases.” He handles a range of matters including birth injury claims, fatal accidents and delay in diagnosis of cancer claims.” Chambers 2017 Somerset

“Highly commended firm with an excellent reputation across a broad spectrum of clinical negligence matters. Routinely acts on catastrophic cases including brain and spinal injury claims. Also noted for its handling of matters arising from amputation, delayed diagnosis and weight loss surgery. Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients): “They’ve been amazing. They spoke to me on a level I understood. They are very understanding and compassionate and they advised me well the whole way through.” Notable practitioners: Head of department Richard Coleman (Band 1) offers vast experience of complex claims involving cerebral palsy, spinal injury and bariatric surgery, among other matters. “He is very good at negotiating settlements in difficult cases” and “doesn’t lose sight of the human aspect of it all,” assert sources.” Chambers 2017 Oxford and surrounds

“Royds Withy King is a ‘leading firm’ for catastrophic birth injury cases. Key figures include practice head Simon Elliman, who handles dental negligence, cerebral palsy and spinal injury claims; ‘first-rate solicitor’ Paul Rumley; and Kerstin Kubiak, who stands out for her ‘exceptional analysis’.” Legal 500 2016 South West 

“The ‘knowledgeable, dependable and competent’ team at Royds Withy King is led by ‘astute strategist’ Richard Coleman and includes Tracy Norris-Evans, who is ‘extremely knowledgeable and committed to her clients’.” Legal 500 2016 South East

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Contact us now to find out more about medical negligence

Since my initial enquiry to Royds Withy King regarding poor treatment by the NHS, I have received a first class service… the end result exceeded my expectations… I would wholeheartedly recommend Royds Withy King
Royds Withy King client

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