Will my medical negligence case be kept confidential?

Yes, your files will be kept confidential according to the General Data Protection Regulation.  All Tees staff understand the need for strict confidentiality.  Tees is a member of the Law Society and the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) and people from these organisations may occasionally inspect our files.

Is there a time limit on when I can make a medical negligence claim?

In most cases, there is a three year time limit for bringing a medical negligence claim.  The three years begins from the date of the negligence or from the date that the patient should have known that the injury was or could reasonably be linked to the original negligence.  

There are some exceptions to the three year rule:

  • If the patient is incapable of managing his / her property or affairs and is a “protected party”, the three year time limit begins when they have capacity to bring the claim.   
  • For children, the three years begins on their 18th birthday, so claims must be made before they turn 21 in England
  • If the patient has died, the three years begins from the date of death

Other dates may also apply, such as where incidents occur abroad, where there is a Human Rights Act claim, or a defective product and so early advice is needed as some time limits are 1 year only.

There is a great deal of investigation work involved in medical negligence claims, so it’s important to contact a solicitor as soon as you can.

How do I start a medical negligence claim?

If you think you have a medical negligence claim it is important to take legal advice from a specialist medical negligence solicitor as soon as possible. A medical negligence solicitor will assess your claim and support you, and your family, through the process.

The solicitor will talk to you about what happened. At this initial assessment stage they may ask for your medical records. 

If the solicitor thinks you have a potential claim for compensation, they will arrange a meeting to discuss whether you’d like to look into this further. At this meeting they will advise on the funding options for your claim (for example, through a ‘No Win No Fee’ agreement). If you want to proceed, the solicitor may take a witness statement from you and other potential witnesses. They will need to carefully review your medical records and if you have not already obtained these they can request them on your behalf. They will also review any complaints correspondence that you have had with the hospital Trust 

At Tees we will advise you on options to conclude your case without the need to go to Court where possible, in order to reduce the stress on you and the time taken. If this is not possible we will support you through the litigation process, and go to Court if necessary, to achieve appropriate damages for you. 

What is the result of a medical negligence claim?

If your medical negligence claim is successful, you may be entitled to financial compensation. Financial compensation is for your pain and suffering, and any past or future financial losses which result from your injury. 

It is possible that the NHS Trust or medical professional responsible for your care will face disciplinary action,. However, your claim cannot demand that disciplinary action be taken, although where relevant we may assist in a recommendation being made. 

It’s also possible for procedures to change as learnings about what went wrong are implemented. This means you will have helped to make it less likely that the incident may happen again to someone else.

Talking to an expert about what happened may also help you as the medical negligence lawyer will listen to you and help you to understand what happened.

What is a settlement agreement?

A settlement agreement is a legally binding agreement between employer and employee.  It would usually provide for a sum of money to be paid by the employer to the employee, in return for agreement by the employee, not to pursue any claims against the employer in the employment tribunal or courts.

The agreement will usually contain clauses relating to confidentiality and may also include an agreed reference and clauses relating to post termination restrictions.

It can be used in various scenarios including redundancy, disciplinary and performance issues or grievances and settling work place disputes.

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What is the difference between a compromise agreement and a settlement agreement?

They are the same thing essentially. In July 2013 the government introduced some changes including pre-termination negotiations and at the same time changed the name from compromise agreement to settlement agreement.

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What does “without prejudice” mean?

It means that any discussions or negotiations between the parties are confidential and “off the record” and cannot usually be used against the other party, if the negotiations break down and a claim is brought in the court or tribunal. An employer may also commence what is known as a “protected conversation” which is similar. If the employee has been placed under undue pressure or there is no genuine dispute, the discussions may not be “without prejudice” or protected from disclosure. Care should be taken in what is said in such communications, and you should seek specialist legal advice.

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What is a reasonable settlement agreement?

There is no set method or formula to calculate what you should get under a settlement agreement, however, at a minimum you should receive any contractual payments (i.e. salary and benefits to termination, any accrued but untaken holiday at termination, notice pay, any contractual bonus/commission/shares etc).  In addition to this it is usual for the employer to offer a payment as compensation for loss of office. 

If the reason for termination is redundancy this should include any entitlement to a statutory redundancy payment.  The first £30,000 of any compensation payment should be able to be paid tax free so long as it is not made up of any contractual elements.  Employers generally offer between 1 to 6 months salary on top of the contractual entitlements.

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Are settlement agreements tax free?

Payments of up to £30,000, which are not made up of any notice or other contractual elements, can often be paid without any deduction of tax. However, we strongly recommend you take specialist advice from an accountant on the tax treatment of lump sums received , particularly in complex transactions involving, for instance a transfer or sale of shares, alongside leaving employment. At Tees we will work with your accountants and can provide you with specialists to assist you.

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How much do solicitors charge for settlement agreement advice?

It is usual for an employer to offer a contribution towards legal fees but there is no legal requirement for them to do so. Contributions are usually between £350 and £750 plus VAT but it depends on the employer.  We try to stick within the contribution offered by the employer where possible but if you require us to negotiate with the employer, costs could rise above this and unless the employer agrees to increase their contribution, you would be responsible for any costs in excess of the contribution. 

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We understand your situation and our expert team are here to help

Get in touch to speak with someone who can help you move forward.

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