We know that seeking legal support and making a claim can be a daunting experience. Our experienced team is always on hand to talk you through the process and answer any questions you may have. As many of our clients have similar queries and concerns, we’ve provided answers to some of the most commonly asked questions below:
You do not need to choose a solicitor near to you, although in some circumstances it may be helpful. There will be occasions during the course of the claim when we will need to meet you. We do have offices in London, Southampton, Bristol and throughout the West Country so often there will be a convenient office where we can meet. If you live at a distance from one of our offices or are unable to travel, we can normally offer a home visit.
It very much depends on a number of factors including whether liability is admitted, the level of cooperation on the part of the Defendant in settling your claim, the extent and complexity of your injury and rehabilitation needs. It is rare for a case to take less than a year to conclude, and is more likely to take several years. However, we will endeavour to see your case through to conclusion as quickly and effectively as possible.
You will be at the heart of the process. We need you to be open and truthful in all your communications with us and to keep in contact with us. We, in turn, use our experience to ensure that, with your help, all that needs to be done is done. You will be the first person we ask to tell us what happened. We will need information from you about your claim, such as your financial losses and the impact the injury has had on you and your family's life.
The amount of information we need from you depends on what your enquiry is about. If it is a complex matter then it is likely we will ask you for detailed information and any relevant documentation that you may hold.
You may have copies of your medical records - which can be helpful, but please speak to us before forwarding them so that we can advise whether or not we need to see them. We usually ask you to sign a form of authority so that we can apply for all of your medical records directly. You may need to attend a medical appointment with both our and the Defendant's expert.
DATA PROTECTION STATEMENT Whilst the information you provide us is confidential we must observe the requirements of the Data Protection Act 2018. We will therefore process personal data you provide us such as names and addresses and sensitive data, such as information about your injury (or details of the person you represent) in order to carry out your instructions. When receiving a new enquiry this information will be stored on our internal systems based in the UK so that our expert solicitors can use it to work out whether we can help you and discuss your claim further with you. This will be stored for a period of 12 months but longer if you become a client of Enable Law. Enable Law, which is part of the Foot Anstey Group, is the data controller of all of the information that we hold about you. If you instruct us we will share some of your information such as your name, address and matter description with Foot Anstey LLP. This is to comply with our legal and regulatory requirements and in order to protect our clients and businesses from conflicts of interest. For example, one reason for this is to ensure that we do not act in matters where Foot Anstey LLP are already instructed in an adverse position and equally to ensure that Foot Anstey LLP does not accept instructions to act against clients of Enable Law. You should also be aware that in the normal course of business we may use third party suppliers to ensure that we are able to comply with our obligations when providing our services to you. This may include sharing personal data that we hold with these third parties. Limited generic and statistical information (anonymised wherever possible) will be shared between Foot Anstey LLP and Enable Law for quality and client improvement purposes. More details will be provided to you in our terms of business if you instruct Enable Law in due course. In order to help ensure that we keep the affairs of our clients confidential, emails leaving our systems are routinely monitored by specialist software which is designed to protect against the risk of misaddressed emails. This involves the transfer of relevant email metadata (including recipient email address, subject heading and salutation) to the software provider’s secure datacentre and this information does not leave the EU. This data will only be used for this, and not for any other, purpose. For more information about the use of your personal data, please email@example.com
There is a legal obligation to keep your medical records, whether they are NHS or private medical records, and everyone has the right to see their records.
You do not always need to make a formal written application if you want to see your records and there is nothing to prevent healthcare professionals from informally showing you your own records. You can therefore make an informal request to see your records during a consultation or by phoning your healthcare provider.
Copies of your records are however only supplied if a formal application has been made. This application needs to be made in writing specifying your personal details and the treatment to which the request relates; it does not however need to explain why you want to see your records. Your records will usually be provided free of charge.
Access to your records can be refused if:
The records relate to, and identify, someone else;
When applying for another person's records (for example a child's), you would gain access to information they gave confidentially;
Healthcare professionals believe that information contained in the records would cause serious harm to your physical or mental health.
Cases involving claims against NHS Trusts for negligence are dealt with by NHS Resolution (formerly called the NHSLA, or NHS Litigation Authority). NHS Resolution was set up by the Government to deal with claims against NHS Trusts.
NHS Resolution acts in a similar way to how an insurance company would act for an individual. Every year, each NHS Trust pays a premium to NHS Resolution so that they have cover in the event of a claim being made against them. This is similar to a car owner paying a premium to an insurance company to cover them in the event of a car accident.
Money paid out in compensation to victims of negligence comes from the premiums paid by the Trusts to NHS Resolution. Each NHS Trust is required to have cover in place to pay any claims, just in the same way that a car owner is required by law to obtain appropriate insurance cover.
A claim for compensation will be paid by NHS Resolution on behalf of the Trust you are claiming against (“ the Defendant Trust”). A Trust pays an annual premium to NHS Resolution irrespective of whether you decide to pursue a claim or not. There are similar organisations representing GPs, dentists, etc.
There are all sorts of reasons why medical care can be unsatisfactory. Health problems are often complex, so sometimes things go wrong and it is no-one's fault. Many procedures carry known risks, but doctors should tell you about these risks so that you can decide whether or not to go ahead with the treatment.
When things do go wrong as a result of negligence, there can be a wide range of reasons. Sometimes it is only possible to say what went wrong and not why it went wrong. In other cases, it can be very clear why the treatment went wrong – for example if systems are not followed properly or if the appropriately trained staff are not in place.
Healthcare providers usually have their own systems to monitor when things go wrong. This provides an opportunity for them to learn from mistakes. You might find that a hospital has produced its own "serious incident" report into your care. We often use those investigation reports to help us identify whether there might be a clinical negligence claim.
If your case has the support of our medical experts, who have advised that your treatment was negligent, the case will proceed against the Defendant. Whilst there is always a possibility of having to give your evidence in court, in reality very few medical negligence cases get as far as trial. The majority of cases of injury caused by negligent treatment are settled by a payment of damages without the need to attend court. This can happen at any time during the course of a claim, even up to the day before a trial is due to start.
The court is, however, required to approve all cases which involve damages awarded to children or to those who do not have the ability to conduct their own affairs, and this takes place by way of a short court hearing.