A medical negligence case is a case that involves a physical or emotional injury that has been suffered by a patient due to failing medical care. Defining failing medical care can be very difficult, but it basically that a patient did not receive minimum standards of care that they can expect in terms of the safety of their health. Medical negligence can occur in any form of healthcare facility, be that their hospital or their general practitioner. It can be a failure of the treatment or a failure to diagnose a condition.
In the United Kingdom, the 1980s saw a sharp rise of medical negligence cases. Some people feel that the rise in clinical negligence claims came from the fact that this was the first time that it was possible to claim for compensation. Hence, the process became more litigious. Others, however, feel there is less of an issue of greed and trying to get compensation, but more so the fact that people are aware of their rights and are prepared to stand up for them. Through this argument, it would stand to reason that medical negligence has always been around in the same manner, but that people simply did not have the means or possibilities to actually make rightful claims for justice or compensation as a result of poor medical care.
Due to the “Bolam” precedent in the 1950s, doctors had all the power in terms of diagnosing and medical negligence laws. Hence, patients that felt they had received insufficient care were unable to pursue any form of compensation. Since then, doctors still have the power of diagnoses, even though there is an increase of medical negligence claims. This increase certainly shows that people have increased their awareness of their rights and are willing to stand up for these when they feel their rights are being violated. This is an empowering feeling, since the “Bolam test” still stands in their way.
New figures released by the NHS Litigation Authority show that they pay about 3 times more money for medical negligence than they did one decade ago. That’s in £1 billion (around $1.6 billion) between 2010-11 compared to £277 million ($439 million) during the years 2000-01. The most personal injury problems are reported in the newborn field. We are talking either about birth injuries. Such compensations are awarded lifetime if injuries caused during birth will affect the child throughout his entire life.