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The Claims Process
The Investigation Stage
The initial stage of any Medical Negligence claim is the investigative stage. During this stage your Legal Advisor will gather the necessary documents and evidence required.
The investigation stage will usually follow a set process:
- Obtain medical records – usually all records that relate to you (e.g. GP, Hospital and Physiotherapy records)
- Review medical records – this task will usually be undertaken by a Nurse Paralegal. However, some Lawyers prefer to do this process themselves
- Witness Statement – You may be asked to give a statement setting out the events leading up to your injuries and what you believe to have been negligent
- Report on breach of duty – this will be prepared by an independent medical expert
- Report on Causation – again, this will be prepared by an independent medical expert
- Pre Action Protocol Letter of Claim – see below
- Pre Action Protocol Letter of Response – see below
Pre Action Protocol for Clinical Disputes
The Pre Action Protocol for Medical Negligence Claims was developed to reduce the number of claims that reach the Courts and to encourage early settlement.
Before issuing our claim at Court, your Legal Advisor must approach the Defendants and provide them with detailed information in relation to:
- The background to your claim
- The allegations that you are making (based on the evidence obtained)
- The injuries that you have suffered
- The likely value of your claim – or the losses that you will be claiming
The letter is known as a Pre Action Protocol Letter of Claim.
The Defendants must then acknowledge this letter within 14 days. The will then have a period of three months in which to provide their Letter of Response. This letter must either:
- Admit your claim and therefore offer to pay compensation; or
- Reject your claim and explain their reasons why. Many claims will settle at this stage avoiding the need for Litigation.
Should the Defendant reject your claim your Legal Advisor will discuss with you the procedure for Issuing Proceedings at Court.