Medical negligence, or clinical negligence, refers to a medical accident caused by a breach of duty of care by a healthcare professional.

There are different types of medical negligence, including birth injuries like cerebral palsy, brain and head injuries, and amputations, fatalities, surgical errors, prescription errors, spinal injuries, faulty products and misdiagnoses.

To help our clients fully understand what medical negligence is, we have compiled a medical negligence glossary of common terms you may come across while seeking compensation.

  • This refers to the standard of proof necessary for a medical negligence claim to be successful. The patient must prove that the clinical practitioner has been negligent by showing that the standard of care fell below what is 'reasonably expected'.

  • A healthcare professional has a duty of care to their patient. If the standard of care falls below the appropriate standard expected of professional practice, then the practitioner is in breach of his or her duty to the patient. If the patient consequently suffers as a result, then the patient could be entitled to medical negligence compensation.

  • The causation is the cause of medical negligence. It is usually based on the “but for” test, which means, but for the other party’s negligence, would you have avoided injury or would your injury have been less serious than it is?

  • Clinical negligence is often used interchangeably with medical negligence. Clinical negligence refers to claims brought against all healthcare professionals and clinical practitioners for inadequate treatment or care.

  • Healthcare professionals have a ‘duty of care’ to their patients. This means that all healthcare professionals and clinical practitioners must provide a certain level of care and treatment that meets the standard expected from professional practices. If you have suffered because the level of care fell below the acceptable standard, then you could have a claim for medical negligence.

  • A medical expert is a healthcare professional who the solicitor will instruct to examine the patient and prepare a report outlining the injuries caused by medical negligence.

  • Misdiagnosis refers to the incorrect decision of a healthcare professional to diagnose a patient with a particular illness or condition, or failure to identify the patient’s symptoms correctly.

  • This refers to a medical product that has failed to provide an appropriate level of safety and has harmed the patient. A product liability claim can be made against the manufacturer of the faulty medical product or the organisation that provided and installed the product.

  • Sub-standard care is when the level of care from a healthcare professional has fallen below the appropriate standard expected from a professional practice.

  • Surgical errors are mistakes that occur during surgery. While most operations performed in the UK have a successful outcome, unfortunately, mistakes can and do happen. Examples of surgical errors are failed sterilisation, complications of hysterectomy procedures, anaesthetic awareness, and breast surgery errors. If you have been a victim of surgical error, you should seek medical advice as soon as possible.

Do you have a medical negligence claim?

If you, or someone you know, have suffered as a result of medical negligence, our expert team are on hand to offer legal advice on starting a claim. To learn more about medical making a medical negligence claim with us, visit our medical negligence service page. Alternatively, you can contact us to start your claim by completing our online claim form.