How to make a medical negligence claim

If you have suffered injury and loss as a result of clinical or medical negligence, you may be able to claim compensation. As experienced clinical negligence solicitors, we understand that the process of making a complaint and starting a compensation claim can seem challenging. We’re here to help. We’ll explain every stage of the process, help you understand your options and guide you towards the best possible outcome.

Clinical negligence cases can be complex, so it is important that your legal advisors have specific experience in this field. You should seek legal advice quickly because there are strict timetables for making complaints and proceeding with legal action.

Making a complaint of clinical negligence

We will advise whether or not, and before starting legal action, you should make a complaint in to the hospital or medical practitioner. There may be a general misunderstanding or a problem with communication which can then be resolved.

If this is not the case, we may advise you to make a formal complaint. Again, there may be time limits involved. To complain about a hospital, you should write in the first instance to the complaints manager. The Patient Advisor Liaison Service (PALS) can often assist you. Complaints about your GP should be made to the Practice Manager in the first instance.

When making a complaint it is useful if you express your concerns about the treatment or behaviour in as much detail as possible and explain what you want to put right or that you require an apology for the way you have been treated.

Sometimes, a complaint to the hospital or medical practitioner is not enough and will not return you to the condition you were in before the medical negligence. This is when you should call us – we may be able to advise you on a no win no fee basis.

It’s also important to understand that all initial consultations are free of charge. We will talk to you about the circumstances of your proposed claim and advise you on the best way forward, including whether your case meets our no win no fee assessment criteria.

Time limits for making a clinical negligence claim

In most clinical negligence cases, you have three years to make a compensation claim, starting from the date of your injury, or the date you first became aware that your injury was a result of negligence. If you suffered an injury as a child, this three-year period begins on your 18th birthday, though you can bring the claim at any point prior to this via a Litigation Friend.

Clinical negligence cases can take a very long time so it is important that you contact us as soon as possible so that we can begin to investigate your claim. If you have questions or concerns about the time limits, please contact us free today online.

Funding your clinical negligence claim

In many cases we will be able to handle your clinical negligence claim on a no win no fee basis. This means that there’s no financial risk to you when making a compensation claim.

At the start of your case, we’ll discuss all available funding options with you, advising you which we think is most suitable. If you have legal expenses insurance (LEI) or are covered by a trade union policy, these may be the best options for you. Legal expenses insurance is often included in many home insurance policies, so we always ask for you to check whether you’re already covered.

If we think a no win no fee agreement is most appropriate for your case, we’ll explain the process clearly. You will only have to contribute towards your legal costs on successful conclusion of your medical negligence claim. For more information about no win no fee click here. In certain circumstances, your claim may be eligible for funding through legal aid. We will discuss this with you during your initial consultation.

The clinical negligence claim process

  1. Our expert clinical negligence team will provide a free initial consultation during which we will consider the facts of your case and confirm as soon as possible whether are able to assist
  2. We will provide advice regarding the funding of your claim, including whether you have legal expenses insurance that covers your claim or whether we can offer you a no win no fee agreement.
  3. If we take your claim on, once funding is in place, we will explain the claims process to you and will advise you on how long it is likely to take.
  4. Our expert medical negligence lawyers will look into your case in detail, gathering medical records and evidence from independent medical professionals. These experts evaluate whether the care you received amounted to medical negligence and whether it has any future implications for your health and any future care needs.
  5. If our independent medical experts agree that your treatment was negligent, we will contact those responsible for your negligent treatment as soon as possible to see if they accept liability for your injury. If they accept responsibility, we will try to secure compensation for you in the interim, which can fund private medical care and ongoing expenses, before your claim fully settles at a later date. Any interim payments will be taken out of your final compensation award.
  6. We will always try to negotiate claims out of court, keeping the claim process as short as we can. However, if your opponent does not accept responsibility or does not agree with the amount of compensation our experts say you require, we will start court proceedings on your behalf.
  7. Even in these circumstances, claims are still often settled before reaching Court. It is rare for a medical negligence claim to go to Court but, if it does, we will be there to help you every step of the way, talking you through what will happen, so you feel as comfortable as possible until a conclusion is reached.


Rachel Pearce

Head of Clinical Negligence and Personal Injury

Gareth Monk


Sharon Parsons

Litigation Executive

Key contact

Rachel Pearce

Head of Clinical Negligence and Personal Injury

Get in touch

Call us on 0800 328 3282, or complete the form below and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

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This guide to making a complaint against the NHS contains useful assistance.

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