Medical Negligence and the Law

There is no such thing as a pure accident. If medical treatment has caused injury then there must be a reason why it happened. Generally speaking, if the reason was foreseeable and avoidable then there may well have been negligence but it will depend upon the individual circumstances of the case. See our Guide to Medical Negligence and the Law  for more information.

For example, if a child goes into hospital to have her tonsils removed and ends up with brain damage this may have happened for a number of reasons. If the reason was that she had an unusual reaction to an anaesthetic drug which could not have been foreseen despite all the proper precautions having been taken beforehand, then there will no negligence and therefore no claim. On the other hand, if the reason was that she was deprived of oxygen because the anaesthetist incorrectly positioned the tube which was needed to supply oxygen to her lungs whilst she was unconscious during the operation, then there will have been negligence and a claim can be made because a mistake of that nature could, and should, have been prevented.


The three essential elements that must be proven for a claim for medical negligence to succeed:

  • That the doctor owed a duty of care to the patient
  • That he or she breached that duty
  • That the patient suffered injury which was caused by that breach of duty


See here for more information on the duty of care and its breach and causation.


If you think you have suffered due to medical negligence and may have a claim for compensation or would like a second opinion on a case turned down elsewhere, please call us now on freephone 0800 321 3112 and speak in confidence to one of our advisers. Alternatively, please complete our online enquiry form and we will contact you.

Posted in The law