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14 Medical Accidents

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1. Introduction

2. What is a medical accident?

3. What should I do if I have suffered a medical accident?

If you have been injured during treatment, you must first make sure you are getting the right treatment to try and correct the injury. You may need to get a second opinion or ask your doctor to refer you to another hospital or clinic.

You may be feeling distressed and confused about what has happened, and may want advice and support. This could be from friends, family or from specialist support groups. You could also talk to your doctor to see if they can help, if you think they will be understanding about it.

If you cannot work because of the accident, you should get advice about claiming benefits and how to deal with any debts that have built up. You should also get advice about benefits if your partner contributes to the household income but cannot work because of a medical accident. Your local Citizens Advice Bureau is a good place to start. There are also two CLS Direct leaflets that could help:

What action can I take?
After you have taken steps to take care of your health, you should think about what you want to do next. You should about what you want to happen. You may want:

  • an explanation and an apology;
  • to make sure that the same mistake is not made again (this may include a hospital changing its procedures or the person responsible being disciplined or retrained); or
  • compensation.

It is important to understand that taking legal action is only about getting compensation. If an apology or the safety of other patients is more important to you, you should think about the other types of action you can take. See 'What if I want to complain about a professional's behaviour?' and 'What if I want to make sure that the same mistake is not repeated?'

Whatever you want to happen, you can get advice from a solicitor, but they will usually be better able to advise you about your claim if you have first made some enquiries about what happened to you. Once you start a legal claim, you may not be able to take another course of action.

4. How do I find out more about what happened to me?

5. What if I want to complain about a professional's behaviour?

6. When can I claim compensation?

7. How do I claim compensation?

8. How do I decide whether to take legal action?

9. What if I can't afford to pay for a solicitor?

10. What do I have to prove to claim compensation?

11. What can I claim compensation for?

12. What can I do if my treatment was private?

13. What if a relative has died as a result of a medical accident?

14. What if my injury was caused by faulty medical equipment?

15. What if I want to make sure that the same mistake is not repeated?

16. Further help

17. About this leaflet

Logo of AVMAThis leaflet is published by the Legal Services Commission (LSC). It was written in association with Action Against Medical Accidents.

The leaflets are regularly updated but the law may have changed since they were printed so the information in them may be incorrect or out of date.

Leaflet Version: June 2019


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