Making a claim for paediatric medical negligence on behalf of a child – what you need to know

On behalf of Attwaters Jameson Hill posted in Medical Negligence on Thursday, July 4th, 2019

Paediatrics is the branch of medicine that involves the medical care of new-born babies, infants, children and adolescents. Instances of medical negligence affecting children can be complicated and diverse. But however large or small your child’s injury is, if it is the result of negligent or inappropriate medical treatment, then you may be able to bring a claim for compensation.

For instance, if you feel as though a medical professional has breached their duty of care to your child, by misdiagnosing them or dismissing symptoms that later turned out to be something serious, you may well have a case.

 

Acting on behalf of your child

A child can bring a claim in their own right, but you as a parent will act on his or her behalf as your child’s Litigation Friend. This term is used to describe someone who conducts proceedings on their behalf and protects their interests. As a parent you would be looking after your child’s best interests by instructing one of our medical negligence solicitors on your child’s behalf.

Paediatric negligence claims are not limited to negligence by a paediatrician. If your general practitioner, obstetrician, nurse, orthopaedic surgeon or any healthcare provider has been negligent in treating your child resulting in an injury, then your child may have a claim.

 

The process of making a claim

We will need to establish how the standard of care your child received fell below reasonable expectations, whether there is a link between the ‘breach of duty’ and your child’s illness or injuries, and the levels of compensation your child will require to help them sustain as independent a life as possible.

 

The process of making a claim

We will need to establish how the standard of care your child received fell below reasonable expectations, whether there is a link between the ‘breach of duty’ and your child’s illness or injuries, and the levels of compensation your child will require to help them sustain as independent a life as possible.

Medical negligence claims can be complex, so bringing a claim can often be time-consuming and involve several key steps along the way. For example, we may need to obtain independent expert advice to help substantiate your claim.

In addition, once a medical provider has received a Letter of Claim they can take several months to investigate and respond. However, we will be on hand to help you throughout the process and will keep you up to date with how your case is progressing.

 

What happens to the compensation?

Once compensation has been agreed the court will have to approve the settlement. Once approval is granted it is usual for the compensation to be paid into court where it will be invested on the child’s behalf until they reach the age of 18. It is possible for you, as Litigation Friend, to apply to have some of the money paid out providing it is helpful and advantageous to your child. If the compensation is substantial it may be beneficial to request approval of the Court for the damages to be held in a Personal Injury Trust.

 

Interim payments

In some cases, a child’s injury is so serious that doctors may not be able to predict the long-term consequences of the injury until the child is older. In those cases, claims won’t be finalised but instead, it is possible to pursue interim payments to help meet a child’s ongoing care needs until the full extent of their injuries can be determined at a later date.

 

The time limit for making a claim

The time limit for starting a medical negligence claim for an injured child is three years after the injured child turns 18, but it is important to investigate possible claims as quickly as possible after the incident while events are still fresh and relevant documents and witnesses are available.

 

Other sources of information

If you would like to know more about our experience in this area, then you can read our latest newsletter covering Paediatric Health here. It also features information on Personal Injury Trusts, highlighting the important role they can play in helping clients protect and manage their compensation awards.

 

Contact Us

Call us on 0203 871 9258 or email medneg@attwaters.co.uk. After our first meeting, if we think you have a strong case, we will carefully explain how the costs of your claim will be met. This is likely to be on a no-win, no-fee basis.

We are members of the AvMA (Action Against Medical Accidents) Specialist Clinical Negligence Panel. For further information about this charity for patient safety and justice visit their website avma.org.uk.

We are also members of APIL (Association of Personal Injury Lawyers), SCIL (Society of Clinical Injury Lawyers) and the specialist Law Society Clinical Negligence Panel.

 

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