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Medical negligence payments

The aim of making a clinical negligence claim is to seek financial compensation to help pay for the extra support and care needed as the result of disability.

If you want financial compensation

The first stage is to consult a solicitor, who should help you to:

  • get access to medical records
  • get independent and unbiased expert medical opinions about the causes
  • establish whether you have a potential claim for negligence and the possibility of an award of compensation

If you cannot establish a negligence claim, this basic investigation should give you a better understanding of what may and may not have caused your or your child's condition.

The Law Society and Action Against Medical Accidents (AVMA) both have panels of accredited specialist solicitors. If you need a recommendation, you can look on their websites for a recommended local specialist.

Law Society's Clinical Negligence Panel

Action Against Medical Accidents Referral Panel

Choosing a medical negligence solicitor

Why is compensation awarded?

Compensation is awarded to compensate for the injury and to pay for support, such as care and expenses that arise because of additional needs.

Compensation aims to place the person in the position they would have been in had the negligence not happened. But this is impossible for someone whose impairment will affect every aspect of daily living for the rest of their life.

Tips to help with your claim

To help with your claim, try to keep :

  • receipts for the extra costs of disability, such as equipment and other bills
  • letters from the hospital or medical professionals
  • a copy of the hospital’s internal review into the care, usually called a serious untoward incident report
  • any complaints documentation where you have already raised concerns about the hospital’s care

How is compensation calculated?

Future expenses specific to the individual’s need are calculated following advice from a range of experts such as:

  • occupational therapists
  • physiotherapists
  • architects
  • accountants
  • employment and rehabilitation consultants

The amount awarded should reflect:

  • the additional cost of accommodation adapted to meet the person's needs
  • the cost of providing adequate care and specialist equipment
  • loss of earnings where employment potential is compromised
  • transport and mobility aids
  • social and leisure pursuits
  • other factors such as the cost of continuing education, occupational therapy, physiotherapy and speech and language therapy
  • costs involved with administering the award in the Court of Protection

An award of compensation can be split into:

  • a lump sum designed to meet past expenses and immediate future expenses
  • annual payments made in advance to provide a guaranteed index-linked, tax-free income to meet future predicted costs, such as care and case management

What happens to the money awarded?

The Court will hold the money awarded in compensation until a child is 18. After that, it can pay this into that person’s control, often with the support of a case manager.

If the individual is incapable of making their own decisions, a deputy can oversee their affairs.

Deputies: make decisions for someone who lacks capacity (GOV.UK)

This is to prevent a vulnerable person being exploited financially. Parents usually work with a professional deputy in managing the award and making decisions.

For larger expenditure, such as buying a house, the Court of Protection will need to make an order allowing that step. The Court also has to approve annual accounts.

Last reviewed by Scope on: 06/07/2021

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