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Thousands Miss Deadline To Make Medical Negligence Claims Potentially Losing Out On Millions Of P
Thousands of people are potentially missing out on legitimate medical negligence claims against the NHS, and life changing compensation payments, because they fail to file a claim in time, according to figures from the Medical Accident Group.
By: Medical Accident Group
London, 30 January 2014 – Thousands of people are potentially missing out on legitimate medical negligence claims against the NHS, and life changing compensation payments, because they fail to file a claim in time, according to figures from the Medical Accident Group (http://themag.org/)
Medical Accident Group receives hundreds of clinical negligence and major injury enquiries every month, but a significant number, despite having what seems like a genuine claim on first inspection, are rejected because they have taken too long to file a claim.
An analysis of enquiries recorded by the Medical Accident Group in November and December 2013 alone revealed that around a fifth of all claims were rejected because the three-year deadline had passed.
Claims for compensation caused by medical negligence are subject to the provisions contained in The Limitation Act 1980. Under the Act, claimants must commence legal proceedings within three years from when the incident occurred or when they first realised they had suffered an injury, whichever is the later.
Medical Accident Group believes that a staggering 81% of claims rejected because they were not made in time, would have been a legitimate claim. Examples of claims rejected by Medical Accident Group because the deadline had passed included cancer and kidney failure misdiagnosis.
There are exemptions from the three year deadline. In the case of children the three year limit does not apply until their eighteenth birthday, in other words they have until they are twenty-one before commencing a legal claim.
If the claim involves a patient who is not running their own affairs because of a mental disability, the three year rule does not apply until (and unless) they recover from their disability.
In both of these cases a parent or other person close to them can make a claim on their behalf (acting as their ‘litigation friend’).
Where a claim is brought on behalf of the deceased's estate, the limitation period is three years from the date of death or the date of the personal representatives' knowledge, whichever is the later.
Clinical negligence cases take a considerable amount of investigation and potential claimants should ensure that they take legal advice at least six months before the expiry of the limitation period.
Peter Savage of Medical Accident Group, comments:
“These figures reveal an alarming lack of knowledge about the medical negligence claims process in the UK. Most people simply don’t know that, apart from a few exceptions such as claims involving children, there is a three-year time limit to file a claim.
“For whatever reason, many people wait before enquiring about making a claim. And millions of pounds in compensation is potentially being lost, money which could change the lives for thousands of people, simply because claims aren’t being filed in time.
“It’s always worth speaking to a legal expert as soon as possible to see if you have a case, if you feel the treatment or operation you or a member of your family has had is below the standards you would expect.”
Medical Accident roup