We are often approached by prospective clinical negligence clients who do not know whether they have a case. Briefly, in order for you to pursue a clinical negligence case, we must satisfy two legal tests:-
- We must prove that medical treatment you received fell below a reasonably acceptable standard. This is an objective test based on what a reasonable body of medical experts in that field would expect.
- We then must prove that the failure in the standard of your medical care caused – or significantly contributed to – you sustaining a reasonably foreseeable injury. We must demonstrate that your injury would not have occurred had the appropriate level of care been provided.
Given the nature of clinical negligence claims, we are often approached by people who have suffered substantial physical or mental health injuries.
As we investigate your case, we will think about how your injury has affected your ability to do day to day activities, such as doing your job. Unfortunately, a number of our clinical negligence clients find it very challenging to return to work because of the injuries they have suffered. For example, some clients find it difficult to perform manual tasks, drive a vehicle or use a computer because of their injuries.
If you have suffered a substantial, long-term injury, it may be defined as a disability under the Equality Act 2010. If you have a disability, as defined under the Act, your employer should make reasonable adjustments to help you to return to work, or to keep working. Your employer should take steps to remove a substantial disadvantage that affects you.
It might be that your employer should increase the trigger point in respect of sickness absence policies where your sickness absence is disability-related. It might be that they should put in a wheelchair ramp if you have mobility problems, or provide you with aids or services to stop you from being at a disadvantage.
One of our clinical negligence clients was no longer able to do his manual role because of an injury he suffered due to hospital negligence. In this situation, his employer amended his duties so that they were less aggravating to his injury and he was able to keep working.
If you have concerns about being directly or indirectly victimised or discriminated against because of your disability, I advise you to speak to my colleagues in our specialist Employment Team. They are experts in this field and would do their very best to help you.
Alternatively, if you would like to discuss a new clinical negligence enquiry, my colleagues and I in our specialist Clinical Negligence Team would be happy to speak to you on a no obligation basis.