General Practitioners make a irreplaceable contribution to the wellbeing of UK citizens, and in the vast majority of consultations, correct medical advice and treatment is given. However, on rare occasions, GPs fall short in the care they provide to their patients and in such situations this lead to serious medical complications, physical and emotional trauma, financial loss and, in the most serious of cases, premature death. If this has happened then you maybe able to claim against your doctor.
More Information about Claims Against General Practitioners
To make a claim you need to prove three things. First there is a duty of care between the Claimant and the Defendant, secondly you need to prove that there has been a breach of the duty and finally that there is been damage caused because of the breach of the duty. If these can be proven then the GP will be potentially liable for the harm caused.
Your GP owes you, as a patient, a common law duty of care. If a GP gives medical advice or treatment which is so substandard that it constitutes a breach of his or her duty of care towards the patient and this breach causes the patient loss, this gives rise to a medical negligence claim.
The reasons for GPs failing in their duties towards their patients are numerous; they may be tired or overworked; they may be poorly trained or inexperienced; there may have been a breakdown treatment systems or communication; or, for many reasons, they may not have taken their patient’s complaints seriously enough.
Breach of Duty
In the case of a medical negligence claim the standard reasonable man test is modified. The Claimant now has to show that the doctor followed a course of action which is not supported by any reasonable body of medical opinion. If the doctor is able to show that he did act in line with medical opinion then it is likely that he did not breach his duty. There is often mentioned a 10% rule where if the Doctor performed an action that 10% of other Doctors would have done then it won’t be viewed as negligent, however this is not supported by statute or case law at present.
You should note that just because an operation has gone wrong does not mean that there has been a breach of duty. As long as he has acted how other doctors would have acted it is doubtful there is a breach.
The third and final hurdle to prove the liability of your doctor is that of causation. This is often simplified in personal injury claims to a “but for” test. But for the breach of duty by the doctor the claimant would not have suffered further or have his chances of recovered hindered.
When considering medical negligence causation against your GP the Court will consider the state of medical knowledge/practice at the time rather than the current knowledge/practice. It is also important to note that if the failure to act made no difference to whether the patient died then it is doubtful the doctor will be considered as negligent.
The causation test is often seen as much more of a challenge in medical negligence claims than in normal PI claims. This is because in normal PI claims the Claimant will normally be fit and the injury caused is due to the accident. Within a medical negligence claim the injury complained of could be a result of a number of factors not just the alleged breach of duty by the doctor.
Problems caused by negligence by your GP
Medical negligence by your GP can lead to many problems :
- Illnesses caused by the prescription of unnecessary or inappropriate medicine;
- The need for surgery which may otherwise have been available has a correct diagnosis been made;
- Progression of an illness beyond the point upon which it can be operated upon following a failure of diagnosis or a misdiagnosis;
- Permanent disability or prolonged recovery periods;
- The suffering or infection or pain which would otherwise have been avoidable;
- Loss of earnings or capacity to work.
If you feel a doctor has breached their duty of care towards you and because of it you have suffered because of it, don’t suffer in silence. Please don’t hesitate to contact us on 0800 014 8727 or 020 3923 0888 as you may have a claim against your doctor. Our professional team will offer some initial advice on your situation and also advise you on whether you case could be taken on on a potential no win no fee basis.
Alternatively fill out a form and we will call you back at a time more suited to you.