Medical Negligence

When we receive treatment from medical, dental or nursing staff we expect it to be of a high standard however just like everyone else medical professionals can make mistakes.

Not all treatment has the desired result, and as a result of those mistakes thousands of us every year are suffering.

This is why BHP Law have specialist solicitors who have extensive experience in dealing with medical negligence claims.

It is important to note that all treatments carry some risks and patients are warned of serious risks prior to any procedure taking place. Therefore, not all unexpected or undesirable outcomes of procedures are due to the fault of the medical professional. 

However, if it can be proved that the treatment was negligent; meaning the standard of care fell below the general expectation, then you may be entitled to make a medical negligence compensation claim. 

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About BHP Law's Medical Negligence team

The medical negligence team at BHP Law forms part of the most experienced personal injury team in the North East. The team includes medical negligence solicitors who are members of various specialists groups, including APIL.

BHP Law's medical negligence team will be there for you every step of the way.


How to pursue a Medical Negligence claim

We would initially advise you to contact the institute where the negligence occurred and raise a formal complaint. For a GP surgery you would need to write to the Practice Manager of your surgery, if it is a hospital or private health institution you will need to write directly to the Complaints Manager. Your letter should detail the procedure and what exactly raises concern. Many complaints are put right at this stage and can be due to a simple miscommunication. Making a complaint is useful if you have concerns about your procedure, or have witnessed or suffered from behaviour that you want to put right, or you would like an apology for the way you have been treated, as those investigating the complaints are in the best position to make these changes.

You can seek legal advice prior to making a complaint, however no legal action can be taken until a complaint has been raised and investigated. These complaints must be answered within three months and the responses to complaints can assist greatly in giving your chosen solicitor insight into the matter prior to obtaining any medical records.

A guide to Medical Negligence law

There are two hurdles you must overcome in order to be successful in your claim for medical negligence; establishing liability and establishing causation. These hurdles ascertain whether or not the treatment was negligent and if it was whether or not the client suffered as a result of that negligent or if the subsequent problems would have occurred regardless of the procedure. Both must be established in order to succeed.


In particular you need to be able to satisfy what is known as the Bolam Test. The Bolam test comes from a legal case of the same name. In that case, the Court ruled that a medical professional is not guilty of negligence if he has acted in accordance with the practice as accepted as the proper procedure by a responsible body of medical peers skilled in that particular art. In plain English that means a medical professional is not negligent if they have acted in accordance to the practice that is generally accepted by a body of their peers. The test is therefore extremely difficult to satisfy as it must be proven that no reasonable skilled medical professional would have acted in the same way.


Even if you can show that the care given was negligent you must also prove your injury was caused by the negligence. This means that there must be a link between negligent treatment and the condition/injury that has been suffered. It is not sufficient to show that the treatment was negligent, it must also be shown that the negligent treatment caused damage.

It is for the claimant to prove on the balance of probabilities that the injury was a result of the negligence rather than the ailment being treated.


We will of course instruct specialist medical experts who will help us in establishing whether or not your treatment was negligent and if so what damage was caused. We will have a better understanding of your claim and be able to advise you as to the possibility of success in your claim once we have received your medical records. 



More cases than not will settle before getting Court; however Court proceedings may need to be issued to prompt an out of Court settlement, but there is always the risk of needing to attend Court with any Personal Injury or Medical Negligence claim. 

It must be remembered that legal action must be taken within three years of the date you first knew, or could reasonably have been expected to know, that you had suffered an injury caused through someone else's negligence. However, there are exceptions to the three year rule. This includes injuries to children and that lack capacity to handle their own personal affairs.

If you would like to have a chat about your options or how we may be able to help you please contact a member of the team, complete our call back form or contact us directly at your local office.

Your Medical Negligence Team

Ruth Markham


Ruth is a former member of the Bar Council before cross qualifying as a solicitor. She joined BHP Law in March 2014 as an associate and was made head…

Tracy Farman


In January 2022 Tracy Farman joined BHP Law’s Personal Injury and Medical Negligence department, in Durham, after working for a solicitors practice…

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