medical negligence

How to Claim if You Have Experienced Medical Negligence

Sadly, few of us get through our lives without undergoing some form of serious medical treatment. While modern-day healthcare is undertaken to a very high standard, mistakes are occasionally made.

It’s in the nature of the work that when clinical practitioners make mistakes, lives can be lost or damaged. If that’s the case, you may need to claim compensation to cover any losses you incur as a result. You can also take legal action if you’re the next of kin of somebody who’s unable to take action themselves, either because they’ve died or no longer have the capacity.

What Is Medical Negligence?

It’s important to stress that when we undergo medical treatment, we do not have an absolute right to successful treatment. If we don’t recover fully from our treatment, that alone is not grounds for a claim. Clinical negligence is generally defined as a breach of a duty of care when a medical professional fails to act in the manner expected of somebody operating in that field.

Sometimes referred to as medical negligence, it arises only if a clinician has done something they shouldn’t have, usually by oversight, within the normal treatment programme. Likewise, if they omitted to do something that they should have done.

Some examples of medical negligence might include prescribing the wrong or incorrect dosage of a drug, failure to diagnose a condition correctly, or a mistake made during a routine surgical procedure.

What You Can Claim For

When you take action, you can only do so on the grounds of injury or loss caused to yourself, or whomever you’re claiming on behalf of, as a direct result of negligent treatment you or they received. If a mistake was made but that mistake was proved unrelated to the injury you suffered, then you won’t be due any compensation.

However, if the mistake can be shown to have caused you pain or suffering, loss of earnings, or psychological damage as a consequence, then you may have a valid claim. You may also be able to claim for the cost of any ongoing care, equipment, or home adaptations that you require as a result.

How to Claim for Medical Negligence

Any claim must be initiated within three years of the accident occurring, or your first realisation of the injury. Naturally, it makes sense to seek specialist advice at the earliest opportunity. When seeking a solicitor to deal with such a claim, it’s best to go to one that specialises in medical negligence cases, which is where Mark Reynolds Solicitors can help you.

You’ll need to provide as much information as you can relating to your treatment. This should include any dealings you’ve had with any private or NHS complaints procedures, and evidence of any loss of earnings.

It may be that your solicitors advise you that your claim isn’t strong enough to proceed. But if it is, you’ll have to look at available options for funding because legal aid no longer covers clinical negligence cases.

To discuss a possible claim for medical negligence, contact Mark Reynolds Solicitors today.

scam solicitor

How to Identify Scam Solicitors

When you’re dealing with a solicitor, you have to trust them one hundred percent. These are people you’re often sharing very personal information with, people who will be acting on your behalf, and, very often, people who have access to sizable sums of your money. So it’s little wonder there are a few unsavoury characters out there trying to prey on the unsuspecting.

With that in mind, how can you be sure the person you’re dealing with is genuine? How do you spot a bogus or scam solicitor?

Don’t Be Taken In

A scam solicitor is trying to get you to fall for them, so don’t be deceived by the simple fact they have a professional-looking website promoting their services and record. If you really want to be sure, avoid the sales patter and check their credentials. Solicitors go through years of training and there are plenty of registration schemes you can look at.

Check Their SRA Registration

The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) maintains a roll of solicitors on which all who currently practise should be registered. You can check this by asking the solicitors for their roll number, otherwise known as an SRA ID. If they’re advertising themselves as a solicitor but they’re not on the roll, then they’re bogus and committing a criminal offence.

Use the Law Society’s Search Facility

The Law Society maintains an online directory of practising solicitors that contains the details of almost all the professionals they regulate. While a few solicitors have asked for their names to be removed and some who are no longer practising remain, it’s otherwise a fairly authoritative guide.

They’ll Check You Too

It’s not all one-way traffic. A genuine solicitor is obliged to check potential customers in a face-to-face meeting, as a means of combatting money laundering. If the solicitor you’re dealing with doesn’t take this step, then you need to be concerned about whether they’re as genuine as they say they are.

Other Classic Scam Signs

These are some of the ways to make sure your solicitor is genuine, but most other ways of spotting a scam remain important. What do you look for in a scam email for instance? Do communications appear unprofessional, suffering from bad grammar and poor spelling? These are classic fraudster trademarks.

Aggressive pursuit of early payment by phone or email is also a tell-tale sign of illegitimacy. Never be pressurised into making an early payment. A legitimate law firm will always follow due process and answer your questions fully.

What Else Can You Do?

If you suspect you may have fallen victim to a fraudulent solicitor, you should report it to the police immediately for full investigation. Get in touch with the SRA and the Law Society as well, and take all reasonable steps to protect yourself and your property. Use the tools above to find a reputable law firm to help you out. Here at Mark Reynolds Solicitors, we’re registered with all the correct professional bodies and will be happy to help.

writing a will

What You Should Know Before Writing a Will

As a society, we’re often very reluctant to talk about death, but it’s something we must discuss as it comes to us all eventually. Sometimes it comes unexpectedly too, so knowing what’s going to happen to our property and dependants in that event is vital.

For this reason, it’s always advisable to make a will, and ensure your will has been drawn up correctly for it to be legal. There are various tools available to help you draw up your own will, but it’s usually best to involve a solicitor. This is particularly the case if your circumstances are in any way unusual.

Why It’s Important to Have a Will

If you don’t have a will, you’ll be declared to have died intestate. Should this happen, the effect on those you leave behind can be devastating.

In cases where this has happened, there are strict rules that dictate how your money and property are allocated – and this may not be the way you want them to be given out. For example, unmarried partners are not allowed to benefit without a will, which can cause them severe financial hardship. Likewise, children that are not your own won’t be considered, so stepchildren will miss out.

If you have no spouse nor eligible biological descendants, then your estate will go to distant relatives or the state, while much-loved partners, friends, and stepchildren receive nothing.

What a Will Should Say

Your will is made to override the default rules and distribute your property to the people you want to have it. This means you need to decide who you want to benefit from your will. Who gets which possessions, and who should care for any children under 18 years of age. Unfortunately, you also need to consider what happens if those due to benefit die before you or indeed alongside you, for example in a road traffic accident.

You need to appoint executors to your will, i.e. people who you trust to carry out your wishes. It’s a difficult job demanding a great deal of work and responsibility, so you need to name people you trust. Often these will be relatives, and you need at least two. The executors can be among those named in the will, but, if they’re not, they need to be especially trustworthy. You can appoint your solicitor to act as executor.

Lastly, your will needs to be signed and worded properly, and kept in a safe place where it can easily be found.

Getting Advice

For many people, making a will is a straightforward case of leaving everything to a couple of named individuals, but others can be much more complicated. Things to consider that could cause problems include leaving a bequest to a dependant who can’t care for themselves. If you share property with someone to whom you’re not married or you have property overseas, you need to have your will carefully drafted by a solicitor. Likewise if you own a business or have children from a previous marriage.

If you feel it’s time you made a will, get in touch with Mark Reynolds Solicitors and we’ll ensure you get it right.

writing a will

Three Major Reasons Why You Should Write a Will

A will, simply put, is a straightforward transfer of wealth from one generation to the next. It provides the opportunity to give to those you care about, send a message to loved ones, or help alleviate the stressful financial aftermath of dealing with loss.

Your will not only ensures that your affairs are in order but also makes provisions for your family, friends, and loved ones. We collaborated the three most overlooked but vital reasons you should consider writing a will.

Avoid Family Fights

Chances are, you would love to avoid causing unnecessary tension between relatives squabbling over objects that hold sentimental value. Typically, personal belongings with no real market value, such as family heirlooms or photographs are the most sought after and can cause painful, lasting squabbles between siblings. Instead, by clearly bequeathing your belongings to the nominee of your choice, these rifts can be avoided.

Fairly Share Your Wealth Your Way

Without a will, your estate is organised and distributed by the courts. The danger of this can be your wealth being passed on to individuals you do not approve of or your capital being disproportionately distributed. By writing a will that clearly states how you would like your assets divided, you can ensure that your estranged Aunt Mildred does not accidentally get her hands on the trust fund you intended to leave to your favourite niece for her university degree.

Avoiding difficulty for Unmarried Spouses

As the number of unmarried cohabitants increases year on year, as does the number of issues that arise with unexpected passings and unmarried partners. Without a valid will, your beneficiary may encounter problems retaining the money or property you may have otherwise intended to leave to them. Unmarried partners or couples who are not registered as a civil partnership cannot inherit from their partner without a will. This also extends to any children you have. A will would give you the peace of mind that should you pass, your children are kept safe with the guardian of your choice.

If you do not write a will, the government will dish out your estate and money as they please. For most people, this is not a desirable outcome and can cause a lot of stress and pain for your loved ones. For expert advice and to speak to one of our wills and probate solicitors in our offices situated in Warrington, Runcorn, Liverpool, or Leigh, please call us on 0800 002 9577 for immediate assistance. Alternatively, complete our online enquiry form by clicking here to go through to our contact page.

clinical negligence facts

Five Facts about Clinical Negligence

It’s generally accepted that the UK health system is one of the best around. Thousands of people are successfully treated every day for all kinds of ailments, and accidents are mercifully rare. However, there are still hundreds of avoidable mistakes made each year. So what do you need to know about making a claim?

  1. Know What Negligence Means

Negligence can be defined broadly as a mistake made by a professional that should not have occurred within the scope of the individual’s experience and specialism. In other words, the clinician has been negligent if a patient suffers injury or death due to them doing something they shouldn’t have done, or not doing something they should’ve done. If this occurs, the patient may be due compensation. However, remember that not all mistakes are considered negligent, and bad results are not always due to mistakes.

  1. Understand the Concept of Clinical Negligence

Clinical negligence is one of the most complex areas of UK personal injury law. It’s called clinical negligence because it covers a range of areas that go beyond the health service environment. So while it applies to work done by doctors and nurses, it also applies to psychologists, dentists, and more besides. It can cover mistakes as diverse as misdiagnosis, failure to refer to a specialist, or failure to treat a patient quickly enough. Such claims are highly technical involving extensive investigative processes, which can take a considerable time to accomplish.

  1. Be Able to Prove Your Claim

In the case of clinical negligence, it’s the duty of the claimant to prove that clinical negligence has occurred. You need to establish liability by proving that the clinician concerned acted in a way that a competent practitioner should not have done. You will also have to show that this breach of duty by your clinician was wholly responsible for the injury you suffered. Of course, this requires you to have expert medical witnesses who are they practitioners operating in a similar area. These will need to be found and persuaded to give evidence against a colleague.

  1. There Are Different Categories of Claim

General damages can be claimed under clinical negligence for pain or suffering sustained by the claimant, but beyond that any losses would be considered specialist damages. These can include such things as loss of earnings, medical costs, specialist care provision, or mobility adaptations. The process of making a claim can be long drawn out and emotionally draining, so specialist legal advice is a necessity to secure the compensation you need to support you in the future.

  1. You Need a Professional

Needless to say a clinical negligence claim is a far from straightforward business. The solicitor involved will themselves need to have considerable specialist knowledge, and will usually practise exclusively in this area.

At Mark Reynolds Solicitors we have extensive experience of handling clinical negligence claims. We are accredited by the UK Charity, Action against Medical Accidents, so you can be safe in the knowledge that our solicitors have the highest standard of training to undertake such claims. Contact us for advice or assistance in your clinical negligence claim.

safety shoes

Personal Injury Claim: Are you entitled?

Before you make a personal injury claim it is important you understand what is involved and under what circumstance you are entitled to make such a claim. There are a few questions that are very important that are answered before you go ahead with filing a claim.

The first and most important question people tend to ask is whether or not they are entitled to making a personal injury compensation claim. If you have been injured in any way or have contracted a disease or illness because of another person’s negligent behaviour then yes, you are entitled.

Once you are aware of this, the next question is how long will you have to make your claim? Currently UK laws give you a time frame of 3 years from the date the accident occurred or if you have contracted a disease, the day from which it was realised that this was affecting your life. There are however circumstances where you can have longer such as being a child at the time of the accident.

After figuring out if you are now eligible and within the correct time frame you my start to wonder how much compensation you are likely to receive. Most people like to know in order to work out if it will cost them more time, money and effort than it is actually worth. However, it is unfortunately extremely difficult to predict how much compensation you will receive until all the facts surrounding the accident have be collected. Each case is unique and compensation is rewarded on an individual basis. If you want to have a ball park figure of what you would be looking at, you should sit down with your solicitor and assess the claim in more depth so that they could perhaps provide a figure.

Most people also want to know whether or not they will have to attend court in order to make their claim. In most situations this is not necessary as it just adds further stress and legal costs to those involved (although these costs are always payable to the one responsible for the injury). Often you will find that insurance companies who have to pay out would rather settle outside of court to avoid all the extra costs. In extreme situations where the dispute cannot be settled, you may have to go into court but your solicitor will talk you through everything so it is as stress free as possible.

personal injury

Personal Injury Claims Explained

Nobody ever thinks they will be involved in an accident until it happens. Not knowing what to do after it happens can make an already stressful and upsetting time even worse. With this in mind, it is important that you are aware of the steps to take if you need to proceed with making a personal injury claim.

Firstly you must be aware that a claim can only be filed if the accident was not your fault. This may sound obvious but often people may fail to realise when they have been at fault for their own injury so it is important to make this initial distinction.

If you do wish to file a claim you must be aware that the sooner you make the claim, the more successful you are likely to be. Some evidence that will be used in cases is time sensitive such as memories and eye witness accounts. The sooner these are compiled by yourself and your solicitor, the stronger your case will be.

It is also important to know that a claim can only be filed if an injury has been sustained as a result of the accident. The injury would have needed to require medical attention and subsequently would have been recorded by medical professionals. These medical documents will be one of the pillars of your case so it is an important step.

As with any claim, personal injury claims must be filed within three years of the date the accident occurred or three years from the date where it was realised that your health had been affected as a result. This rule applies in all cases except from when it is in the case of a child or some industrial cases.

Most people are often reluctant to even think about approaching a law firm and filing a claim because of the money that could be involved. However, it is likely that you have heard the phrase ‘no win, no fee’ which means that your claim will be financed solely by this agreement. If your claim is lost you won’t need to pay a penny and if you win then the fee is settled via of a percentage of that money.

It is difficult to initially have an idea of the amount of compensation you will receive. The majority of people think that you could look at someone who sustained the same injury and filed a claim but it is not that simple. These cases and the compensation are based on the individuals circumstances so can vary greatly. One person may have recovered in weeks and was able to go back to work whereas another may never fully heal and be unable to continue working as a result. It is only once your solicitor has compiled all of the evidence and details of the case that they could give you an estimation from their professional opinion.

Now that you have the relevant information surrounding personal injury claims you can decide whether or not you feel it is within your best interest to file a claim.

psychological personal injury

Psychological Personal Injury Claims

Many personal injuries can result in psychological damage that can sometimes last longer than physical injury.

When making a personal injury claim, you may also be eligible to claim compensation for emotional stress and mental anguish directly caused by the negligence or maliciously wilful act of others.  Psychological damage can include post-traumatic stress, neurological problems, epilepsy and psychiatric damage.

However, psychological personal injury claims can be more difficult to prove than a physical injury claim.

Here’s a look at the types of psychological personal injuries and what you need to know before pursuing a claim.

Factors

In a personal injury claim process, the following factors will be considered:

  • The impact on your ability to cope in your day-to-day life, both at home and work
  • How your relationships with friends, family and colleagues have been affected
  • Treatment you’re receiving for your condition
  • Medical prognosis
  • What medical advice has been sought.

Evidence

Hard evidence is needed to pursue a psychological damages claim. These can include:

  • Doctors’ reports
  • Personal journals on the progression of your condition
  • Medication you are taking for the condition
  • Supporting testimonies from friends and family.

If your case is successful, the amount of compensation granted will depend on the severity of the damage.

Examples

The most common examples of psychological damage claims are:

  • Road traffic accidents – resulting in post-traumatic stress, chronic pain that can lead to depression, neurological problems.
  • Child abuse – adults who suffered abuse as a child can claim compensation from abusers and also local authorities that failed in their duty of care.
  • Workplace – clinical depression as the direct result of work-related stress ranging from overwhelming workloads and poor working conditions to bullying and harassment, and negligence of the employer to provide a duty of care.

For more information on personal injury claims, contact Mark Reynolds Solicitors today.

psychological claims

Personal Injury – Psychological Claims

Many personal injuries can result in psychological damage that can sometimes last longer than physical injury.

When making a personal injury claim, you may also be eligible to claim compensation for emotional stress and mental anguish directly caused by the negligence or maliciously wilful act of others.  Psychological damage can include post-traumatic stress, neurological problems, epilepsy and psychiatric damage.

However, psychological personal injury claims can be more difficult to prove than a physical injury claim.

Here’s a look at the types of psychological personal injuries and what you need to know before pursuing a claim.

Factors

In a personal injury claim process, the following factors will be considered:

  • The impact on your ability to cope in your day-to-day life, both at home and work
  • How your relationships with friends, family and colleagues have been affected
  • Treatment you’re receiving for your condition
  • Medical prognosis
  • What medical advice has been sought.

Evidence

Hard evidence is needed to pursue a psychological damages claim. These can include:

  • Doctors’ reports
  • Personal journals on the progression of your condition
  • Medication you are taking for the condition
  • Supporting testimonies from friends and family.

If your case is successful, the amount of compensation granted will depend on the severity of the damage.

Examples

The most common examples of psychological damage claims are:

  • Road traffic accidents – resulting in post-traumatic stress, chronic pain that can lead to depression, neurological problems.
  • Child abuse – adults who suffered abuse as a child can claim compensation from abusers and also local authorities that failed in their duty of care.
  • Workplace – clinical depression as the direct result of work-related stress ranging from overwhelming workloads and poor working conditions to bullying and harassment, and negligence of the employer to provide a duty of care.

For more information on personal injury claims, contact Mark Reynolds Solicitors today.

family

The Lowdown on Family Law Solicitors

Family law is an area of the legal profession that deals with disputes within relationships. It differs from many other areas of law due to the high level of emotional turmoil that can be involved, and it requires a more empathetic skill set from its practitioners.

The obvious area for family lawyers to operate is in the divorce courts, but their role includes dealing with adoption, child abuse and abduction, custody, paternity testing and property settlements, as well as marriage and divorce.

What Do Family Law Solicitors Do?

It’s easy to suppose that people can painlessly resolve difficulties within their own families. However, there’s a fine line between love and hate, and, once that line has been crossed, any form of negotiation can be extremely difficult.

Often, it’s not solely mediation that’s required. Sometimes the law has an input, particularly in the case of childcare. If parents are of different nationalities and one wishes to take the children elsewhere, this can become even more fraught.

Obviously, it’s cheaper and more practicable to resolve problems between yourselves, but if talks break down, a good family solicitor can be vital. A family solicitor will do everything they can to assist the parties to reconcile their differences outside of court. They’ll use tactful discussion and negotiation in order to minimise stress to all concerned and bring about a settlement, but it’s not always possible.

Divorce and Separation

The most common area in which family lawyers act is when a relationship turns sour. The process of mediation can only go so far, and sometimes breakdown is irrevocable. In these instances, it’s important to involve skilled family lawyers to fight your case.

After a long marriage, shared possessions need to be accounted for. Often this includes the family home and who should have rights to it, as well as the distribution of joint financial assets. If one partner has all the earning potential and the other has sacrificed their career to support their partner, an equitable distribution of wealth is required.

More distressing is the negotiation of custody and access to children. Where this looks straightforward initially, complications can arise over time. This is particularly so when new partners appear on the scene.

Family law is not all bad and painful things though. It can also be needed when bringing new people into the family, particularly through adoption. Adoption can transform the lives of children, but it’s also a complicated legal process, as parenting rights are transferred from birth parents to adoptive parents through the courts.

Who We Are

If you’ve got family or relationship problems, here at Mark Reynolds Solicitors we’ve got all the experience necessary to operate as impartial mediators. We’re accredited members of Resolution, and are committed to resolving family disputes in a constructive and sensitive manner. We aim to provide high quality legal advice in order to ensure disputes are sorted out as quickly and painlessly as possible.

To find out more or book an appointment, contact our offices today.