Who to sue
If you were a patient in a hospital in London and think you may have a claim for compensation arising from your medical treatment, one of the questions you are likely to have is who to sue? The answer to this question - who to sue in a medical negligence claim - depends on the particular circumstances and where you were treated, as well as whether your negligent medical treatment was under the NHS or funded privately.
Claims where negligence occured in an NHS Hospital
If the medical negligence took place in a hospital during the course of treatment under the NHS, then in most cases a claim for compensation will be brought against the responsible NHS Trust rather than against the individual doctor, nurse or other medical practitoner involved in your care. For many of Medical Negligence London's clients this is welcome. Whilst they are unhappy with their treatment and want the maximum compensation possible for the medical harm they have suffered, they do not feel personal animosity towards the treating medical team and are pleased that the action is against the NHS Trust rather than the individual. Indeed, in many (but certainly not all) cases that we handle at Medical Negligence London the ultimate underlying cause of the negligence is not incompetence of a particular doctor, but rather a system that has let down the doctor by failing to provide the necessary resources, time and support. This is particularly the case where negligence is caused by a juniour doctor who has not been given the support he needs and as a result a client of Medical negligence London has suffered serious damage and harm.
Claims where medical negligence is attributable to a GP
Where claims are brought against GPs, in most cases the appropriate defendant will be the GP him or herself. In nearly all cases the GP will be insured by either the Medical Protection Soceity or Medical Defence Union so a claim will not cause any financial impact on the GP - although of course it may well impact his or her reputation. A common concern amoungst Medical Negligence London clients is that the claim will damage their relationship with their GP. In our experience, although GPs are professionals, there is invevitably a consequence of bringing a claim; and generally we would anticipate that most of our clients would change GP if contemplating a claim against a GP.
Claims brought in relation to private medical treatment
If you are bringing a medical negligence case against a private doctor, in most cases it will be necessary to sue the doctor personally. On occassion it is possible to sue a private hospital or private clinic, but in most instances a private doctor is not an employee of the hospital and the hospital is not responsible for the conduct of the hospital, meaning that a claim should be brought against the named doctor. Doctors should have insurance and therefore any damages will be paid by their insurer rather than the Doctor personally. Of course, bringing a claim against a doctor for medical negligence is likely to have an impact on his or her future insurance premiums.
It is for your solicitor - the team at Medical Negligence in London or the medical negligence solicitor you have instructed - to work out the appropriate party or parties to sue. In some medical negligence cases, it is necessary, at least in the initial stages, to bring a medical negligence case against multiple parties, as due to the complexity of medical evidence it may take some time before it is possible to ascertain which hospital, or which doctor, was ultimately responsible for the medical negligence.
If you think you may have a medical negligence claim the team at Medical Negligence London are here to help. Please give us a call on 020 8541 1181.