For any individual about to undergo an invasive medical procedure such as an operation, it is normal for them to have given the appropriate consent to that that treatment. Clinicians have an obligation to initially obtain an individual’s consent.
Prior to the treatment, you must be fully informed of the procedure and be advised of the potential risks involved. In addition, you must be made aware of any alternative treatments available. Further, you must give your consent to the procedure and once you have provided this consent, you have given what is called ‘informed consent’. This means that you know of the risks involved and have decided to take those risks.
Consent negligence claims may arise when informed consent is not given. If you agree to a hospital procedure without being told about the potential risks, you are not truly giving consent and this could give rise to a claim for compensation.
Informed Medical Consent
The risks and the need for informed consent will normally be explained verbally to you and backed up by a printed and signed consent form. This documentation should set out the primary risks associated with the procedure and confirm you have understood the risks you are taking. Upon signing this documentation, you are confirming your consent to the taking of these risks.
To succeed in a consent claim against a hospital or NHS Trust, you must show that informed consent was not given. Following case law in recent years, it is the duty of the practitioner to take reasonable case to ensure that the patient is aware of any material risks involved and also aware of any reasonable alternative or variant treatment. If either of these were not provided, then you may have a claim relating to a lack of informed consent.
Nevertheless, if informed consent is given, a surgical procedure or operation should still be completed at the correct standard and with the correct level of expertise. An error that should not have been made despite a signed consent form still allows you to make a compensation claim for compensation on the grounds of medical negligence.
Frequently asked questions
Will I need to go to court?
In 97% of cases, medical negligence claims are settled before going to trial. However, in the unlikely event that you are required to go to court, we will be there to support you every step of the way.
Is there a time limit for bringing a compensation claim?
Yes, there is. In general, the time limit is 3 years from the date of the negligent treatment. If you were initially unaware that there was negligence at play, the 3 year time limit will apply from the date you first became aware that you suffered a significant injury and that injury was due to the defendant’s negligence. In practice, this means a claim form must be issued at Court to commence proceedings within 3 years of the negligent act or knowledge of the negligence.