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 amount of money should be offered under a settlement agreement?

There is no set method to calculate an amount due under a settlement agreement. At a minimum an employee should normally be paid their notice pay (unless they have been dismissed for gross misconduct) plus any accrued but untaken holiday (if any) and any other contractual payments.

Additional compensation for loss of office will differ depending on the circumstances and facts relating to the termination of employment.  Employers will often consider length of service and what an employee could achieve if they were to take a claim to the employment tribunal.  It is not uncommon for employers to offer between one to four months’ salary on top of contractual entitlements, but there is no one size fits all.  Make sure you take legal advice.

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Will I have to pay tax on my settlement payment?

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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Do I have to pay legal fees for advice on a settlement agreement?

An employer would usually offer to contribute towards legal costs, although there is no legal requirement for them to do this.  The contribution will not necessarily cover all of the legal costs incurred, for example, if long negotiations are entered into with the employer, or the employee wants additional advice. In those circumstances the employee will normally be responsible for those costs unless the employer can be persuaded to pay more. 

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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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Tees coronavirus update

We’re open and here to help you. We’re running as normal with our employees all working from home.

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You can call us as normal on 0800 013 1165 or email us: hello@teeslaw.com.

You can also find contact details for all our advisers here. 

As a flexible and technologically-adept firm, we already had many home-working systems in place. We have now rolled this technology out to all our employees working for clients, so they can continue to work normally - and from home.

If you are a client, please be assured you can get in touch with Tees and we are still working on your case. To replace face-to-face meetings, we have the facilities to do video-conferencing, conference calls or just speak on the phone, as you need.

Due to the circumstances, please call us if you would have wanted a home visit, and we can organise the best and safest way of being in touch.

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