If you have been injured as a result of negligent treatment from a medical professional, you should speak to an experienced medical negligence solicitor. When choosing this solicitor, it is vital that you look for someone who is well-practiced and knowledgeable in their field, as medical negligence claims are often complicated.
In choosing a medical negligence solicitor you should always check their accreditations. Firstly, the Law Society provides its own endorsement for solicitors experienced in the field of medical negligence [or clinical negligence as it is sometimes known]; this is called the 'Clinical Negligence Accreditation Scheme'.
Secondly, the independent charity AvMA (Action against Medical Accidents) has its own recognized scheme of approval for solicitors capable with dealing with this kind claims. If a solicitor is AvMA approved then they will have the AvMA logo on their website or letterhead. If you cannot see the logo do not be afraid to ask the solicitor if they have received this accreditation.
If you choose a medical negligence solicitor who has been authorized by both of these bodies then you know that you are using a 'Medical Negligence Specialist'. Such specialists are widely observed by organisations such as the NHSLA (NHS Litigation Authority) and the Legal Services Commission. To be classed as a specialist the AvMA will look at the solicitor's level of knowledge and experience as well as their general work ethic before they will accredit them.
Furthermore, once the solicitor has been awarded the accreditation, they must then be re-accredited and thus re-assessed by the charity every five years - it is not an award that they can retain indefinitely. Whilst they are accredited, they must adhere to a code of conduct, and demonstrate impeccable customer service skills and empathy for their clients. Both panels limit the number of members and set high standards both for joining and for reaccreditation.
Other elements, which may affect your choice of medical negligence solicitor may include the nature of your case the availability of legal aid.
The solicitor will be able to let you know the type of caseload they manage and the areas of medical negligence that they are experienced in. They might have handled a wide range of claims or they might be specialized in a certain area. Knowing this will help you to assess whether the solicitor is likely to be able to provide a successful outcome to your case. You should also be aware that many solicitors will only take on privately funded cases.
Although this may suit you, some medical negligence cases (for example involving the NHS) have a public interest and therefore you may be eligible for legal aid. Try to find a solicitor that will deal with both types of funding, if legal aid then becomes available to you, you will not be forced to pay for your legal advice from private funds only. Remember - whilst thousands of solicitors deal with accident compensation claims, not many are experienced medical negligence specialists.
By: Tim Bishop
Do you need Medical Negligence advice? Why not see how Bonallack and Bishop can help you?
Tim Bishop is senior partner of Bonallack and Bishop http://www.bishopslaw.co.uk, a firm of UK solicitors with five offices in Wiltshire, Hampshire and Dorset -- in Andover, Salisbury, Verwood, Warminster and Amesbury. Bonallack and Bishop offer a full range of legal services to private and business clients including employment law, accident compensation claims, medical negligence claims, conveyancing, business law, family law, wills and probate, civil and business litigation, construction law and leasehold enfranchisement cases.
Since giving up personally running a legal caseload to concentrate full-time on business development, Tim has spearheaded the expansion of his solicitors' practice, seeing it grow by 1000% in the last 12 years. He plays a particular role in marketing and is responsible for major and strategic decisions and now sees himself as an entrepreneur who owns a law firm. Tim has firm plans for continued expansion of the firm in the next five years.