What is Clinical Negligence?

4 Min Read

Clinical negligence is any kind of failure by a medical professional to provide services to an acceptable standard.

When clinical negligence happens and someone suffers harm or injury as a result, it can lead to a compensation claim.

Clinical negligence can lead to physical and emotional harm – but what this looks like depends on the precise treatments and failures involved.

Clinical negligence could be caused by a specific medical professional or a healthcare service including:

Clinical negligence can happen in private healthcare and in NHS services. It’s also known as medical negligence.

What is clinical negligence law?


Clinical negligence law provides a route for people who have been harmed by not getting appropriate medical treatment to claim compensation. It is what specialist solicitors use to make their case.

For clinical negligence to lead to a valid compensation claim, it must be proven or accepted that all three of the following occurred:

  1. A duty of care was owed to the patient
  2. There was a breach of the duty
  3. That breach led to harm or injury.

It can be open to interpretation whether a breach of duty did take place and whether that breach led to harm.

For example, a patient who suffers a delay in cancer treatment due to a misinterpreted test result may believe they are a victim of clinical negligence. They would only be entitled to compensation if it is proven, or accepted by their health provider, that the delay led to a worse outcome for them.

If the delay didn’t change the outcome of their treatment, the compensation claim would likely not be valid. A delay may cause psychological harm even if the physical outcome is unchanged, however – this could make a claim valid.

What is clinical negligence compensation for?


The aim of clinical negligence compensation is to allow the injured person to live a life as closely aligned as possible to the one they would have had without the injury. Due to the serious and life-altering nature of some injuries, that new life may still be a very different one.

If you have suffered clinical negligence that leaves you unable to walk, you might need various mobility aids and home alterations to continue with your day-to-day activities. Clinical negligence compensation might help to cover the cost of these things.

Proving negligence can be a complex process, as can agreeing on what help is necessary to allow someone the best life possible after a medical injury.

Reliable legal advice from someone who knows what support is available can help to ensure everything is built into the compensation claim. That’s where specialist solicitors come in.

Where a fatality occurs, those left behind might pursue a fatal injury claim for financial support and some sense of closure.

How do I bring a clinical negligence claim?


To bring a clinical negligence claim against a medical body or professional:

  1. Contact a solicitor – those with specialist knowledge are often best placed to advise on the strength of your case
  2. File a complaint with the relevant medical body, if you wish to
  3. Gather evidence. Often, this means passing over certain medical records
  4. Make a settlement or go to court, once the case is prepared.

Our specialist clinical negligence solicitors can support you to make a claim and be by your side throughout the entire process.

For more information see our medical negligence claims page or contact us. We’ll take the time to listen and advise you on how to move forward.

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