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Five of the most common clinical negligence claims in the UK


Author: Sara Westwood

Clinical Negligence, Legal Updates

What is a clinical negligence claim?

‘Clinical’ refers to medical and dental professions, and includes GP’s, Consultants, Nurses, Dentists, Paramedics etc.

‘Negligence’ involves a failure to exercise the care toward others which a reasonable or prudent person would do in the circumstances; or taking action which such a reasonable person would not.

What are common clinical negligence claims?

Accident and Emergency

In the last three months ambulance services across the UK (including the East of England Ambulance Trust) have hit the headlines more than once for their worryingly low response times because of delays in A&E.

In many of the cases we are seeing in the news, patients are being left with a worsened condition due to the late arrival of an ambulance and in the most severe of cases, some patients have lost their lives.

A delay in the response time of an ambulance is not the only case of negligence, there are also other ways in which injuries and errors can occur, and these cases are becoming alarmingly common. A paramedic may administer the wrong medication, fail to diagnose an injury or illness or may even arrive far too late due to miscommunication.

Cases involving ambulance services are unfortunately becoming more frequent.Our expert solicitors have experience of dealing with these claims and understand the devastating impact they can have on patients and their families.

Pregnancy and Birth Claims

For the most part, pregnancy and child birth is a wonderful experience for everyone involved. However, in some circumstances, things can go wrong for mother and/or baby during a pregnancy and labour.

Serious tears (third or fourth tears) during childbirth, known as obstetric anal sphincter injuries can unfortunately lead to complications for some women and are often a result of poor or negligent medical treatment.

In some devastating cases, a child can be born with an injury, including serious brain injuries because of mismanagement of a labour or the delivery.

Cases of this nature are settled for high amounts, due to the significant amount of care required throughout their lifetime.

Dental Negligence

Almost half of UK adults have a fear of the dentist, with a visit to the dentist even being ranked as the number one reason for making a person nervous.*

Most of the time a trip to the dentist is pain free, and treatment is swift and successful. However, in some circumstances things can go wrong and once an error has been made by a dentist, it is often the case that it cannot be undone and leaves the patient in distress and discomfort.

Failure to manage and treat teeth, extraction of the wrong tooth or implants failing to work are all examples of dental negligence claims that we have experience of.

We not only support clients in their claim for compensation, but also in seeking restorative dental treatment.


Misdiagnosis refers to occasions where an illness, such as cancer, is missed or diagnosed at a late stage.

Due to significant advances in medicine over the years, it is easier to both diagnose and treat illnesses such as cancer as early as possible and delays or misdiagnosis can result in a patient’s prognosis being seriously compromised.

Patients and their families can be left deeply affected, and in some cases, bereft.

We work on behalf of our clients to secure compensation for anyone affected by a delay or misdiagnosis of an illness.

Surgical Claims

Whilst the majority of operations in the UK are successful, mistakes can unfortunately be made.

Common types of surgical negligence include:

• Wrong Surgery performed. • Wrong Site Surgery; this can include the removal of healthy organs or surgery being performed on the wrong part of the body. • Foreign Objects left in the body, such as gauzes, scalpels and clamps. • Anaesthesia Errors; cases include patients being administered too much or too little. • Nerve damage • Infection caused by poor hygiene. • Cosmetic surgery errors.

Making a claim

If you think you may have a Clinical Negligence case, you have three years from when the incident happened or when you first realised you had suffered an injury.

In the case of children, the three-year limit does not apply until their 18th birthday.

If the claim is about a patient who cannot manage their own affairs due to a mental disability, the three-year period does not apply until (and unless) they recover from their disability.

In both cases, a parent or other person close to them can make a claim on their behalf.

Contact us

If you think you have a Medical Negligence legal case, contact us on 01603 660 811. We are happy to discuss your case with you and advise as to whether you can or cannot make a claim. Our team includes Sara Westwood and Simon Bransby, formerly of Morgan Jones Pett Solicitors.

*Source – National Smile Month

Five of the most common clinical negligence claims in the UK

Five of the most common clinical negligence claims in the UK

If you would like further information about any service, call us on 01603 214220