Clinical negligence is one aspect of personal injury litigation. If you, your family or friend, feel that you have suffered an injury because of defective ('negligent' or careless) management or treatment by a health professional (not just doctors), you have the right to investigate whether the service was indeed below standard and, if so, whether you would be entitled to compensation. This applies whether you were on the NHS or private.
A medical negligence claim can arise in many different areas, for example, accident and emergency, anaesthetics, surgery, cardiology, general practice, mental health, neurosurgery, obstetrics and midwifery, paediatrics; these are only examples.
Health professionals have a duty to act in accordance with a practice accepted as proper by a responsible body of medical people of that specialty. For negligence to be proved, the doctor has to fall below a standard of practice recognised as proper by every responsible body of opinion at the time of the alleged negligence. Common examples leading to catastrophic injury are problems around the time of birth (obstetric, paediatric, anaesthetic, midwifery), and failure to diagnose early warning signs of a medical catastrophe such as a stroke, poor management in hospital (e.g. wrong drugs, wrong dosages, defective machinery or equipment).
A medical negligence claim is a distinct form of personal injury litigation, but the same principles apply. As always, you need to prove that the medical professional was careless (i.e. was in breach of duty), and that that carelessness caused your injury.
In order to do that, it is always necessary in major claims to gather together all relevant medical records, including incident reports, and then to consider the documents with the help of experts in the appropriate type of treatment or management. Selection of experts is vital, and is an area where good solicitors and barristers can win or lose cases.