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The first matter when considering an Accident and Emergency (A&E) department medical negligence compensation claim is the issue of whether or not the health authority has been negligent. The standard of care of a hospital A&E department is judged by comparing it the standards achieved by similar A and E departments in other hospitals. The individual treatment of a patient by a healthcare practitioner in an A&E department is compared to other qualified healthcare professionals working in a similar location and in a similar environment. If the healthcare professional working in Accident and Emergency fails to reach an acceptable standard of care then that treatment offered by that person may be determined as being negligent. The fact that the chosen treatment fails whereas different treatment may have been successful does not usually indicate negligence. If the treatment that was carried out was logical and was supported by substantial number of medical practitioners it will not be judged to be negligent treatment even though it may be ineffective. An A&E medical negligence solicitor will be able to advise on the standard of care that you received.

Inexperienced Accident and Emergency Doctors

Peace and quiet are two things that you will never find in the accident and emergency department of an NHS hospital. The typical scenario in A&E often borders on chaos and usually involves numerous patients often waiting for a considerable period of time and treating them are tired and harassed junior medical personnel trying to attend to their medical needs as best as they can. A new patient registers in an accident and emergency room every ten seconds, 24 hours a day and seven days a week nonstop.

The disturbing aspect of this situation is that many of the health workers, the doctors, the nurses and the medical technicians assigned to A&E are often relatively inexperienced. To make matters worse the supervising physician in the department may not be an A&E consultant. This situation is reasonably typical of the underfunded National Health Service. Any mistakes that are made which have caused physical harm should come under the scrutiny of an accident and emergency medical negligence solicitor with a view to claiming compensation.

A&E Treatment and Diagnostic Mistakes

Given the fact that the day-to-day scenario in A&E is chaotic and that the majority of health workers manning A&E do not have enough experience in dealing with the numerous situations facing them, it is not surprising that mistakes due to medical negligence, in diagnosis and treatment occur frequently. Often the health worker dealing with a patient does not have enough knowledge and misinterprets the signs and symptom and even a competent but stressed and overworked physician may be misled into making the wrong diagnosis or an overworked medical technician may make an error in conducting the tests necessary for the diagnosis.

Overworked and Underfunded

The fact that A&E is overworked and underfunded does not mean that health workers, inexperienced or not, cannot be made accountable for any careless mistakes that they make. Also lacking in knowledge is not a valid excuse and is not something that health workers can hide behind. If a patient feels that he or she has been the victim of medical negligence in A&E then a solicitors compensation claim can often be made.

Medical Negligence Compensation

Damages awarded in a personal injury compensation claim for pain and suffering depend on the extent of the injury, the recovery period and whether or not there are long term consequences or disabilities all of which rely on detailed consideration of medical reports, medical records and a statement from the injured party. Compensation is intended to put the injured person back into the position that they would have been in had there been no injury sustained. In coming to a valuation the judge will consider previously decided personal injury cases, judicial guidelines effectively provided by the government and will draw upon his own previous experience both as a judge, a practising lawyer, solicitor or barrister and in accordance with common sense principles of a man in the street. Awards of compensation may also include the following items which is not an exhaustive list :-

  • loss of lifestyle
  • disadvantage on the job market
  • property damage
  • medical expenses
  • special equipment
  • out of pocket expenses

Time Limits

Medical negligence compensation claims for personal injury arising out of an error in the Accident and Emergency department of a hospital are subject to a time limit known as the 'limitation period' which is imposed by statute. If a compensation claim is not settled or if legal proceedings have not been started in a court of law within three years of the injury occurring or of being discovered with reasonable diligence then the chance to claim damages may have been lost. There are some exceptions to the general 3 year rule which mainly apply to children (legally those under the age of 18 years), and to the mentally disabled or handicapped of any age. Do not rely on these exceptions without taking qualified legal advice. Limitation statutes and time limits are difficult academic topics even for trained medical negligence solicitors and qualified legal advice is a necessity.

A&E Medical Negligence Solicitors

Most people who receive NHS treatment in the Accident and Emergency (A&E) department of a UK hospital are entirely satisfied with the standard of their care however there are unfortunately times when things do go wrong and you may need to talk to an accident and emergency solicitor who deals with medical negligence compensation claims. If you have suffered personal injury as a result of inadequate treatment or inappropriate care at a UK hospital Accident and Emergency department, our medical negligence solicitors offer free legal advice without any further obligation and in appropriate cases will deal with an A and E medical negligence compensation claim against the healthcare authority using legal aid or the no win no fee* scheme otherwise known as a conditional fee agreement. No legal charge is payable unless the legal case is won and the client obtains an award of compensation. In the event that the legal claim is lost there is no charge made to the client. We will discuss the legal issues of Accident and Emergency negligence with you over the telephone and will advise on liability and the value of the claim without delay. To speak to a lawyer of the same sex as yourself, please advise us as soon as possible. If after speaking to us you decide to progress no further with your potential A and E legal claim, you are under no obligation to do so and we will not charge for our legal advice.



*Legal Information

The author of the substantive medical writing on this website is Dr. Christine Traxler MD whose biography can be read here