How much time would I have to make a claim for a surgeon performing the wrong surgical procedure on a patient and is it wise to accept an unsolicited offer of compensation?
In accordance with the UK Statute of limitations, you should have three years to pursue a claim for a surgeon performing the wrong surgical procedure on a patient. The Statute was established in 1980 as part of the UK Limitations Act to ensure that potential claimants would always pursue a claim when evidence was still recent and also so that the accused negligent parties would not have to constantly fear litigation. However, there are certain circumstances where there are exceptions to this three year time limit, for example if the Statute clashes with another relevant piece of legislation or if the medical negligence victim is a child. A solicitor with knowledge of your particular situation will be able to tell you if any of these exceptions apply to you.
The date in which the three year time limit begins would either be on the date that the surgeon performed the wrong surgery, or the date that the consequences of the surgery have become known. This date is known as the “date of knowledge”. Although having the wrong surgery performed on you may seem like a clear sign of negligence in a patient claim for the wrong surgical procedure performed by a surgeon, unless an injury, illness or the deterioration of an existing condition was sustained, then there cannot be a claim made for surgeon performing the wrong surgery compensation. Therefore, the date that your three year time limit begins is the date that you first become aware that you have suffered a medical consequence due to negligence.
With regards to accepting an unsolicited offer of claim for a surgeon performing the wrong surgical procedure on a patient compensation, it is always in your best interest to present this kind of offer to a claims solicitor with knowledge of your situation before accepting it. Unsolicited offers of compensation (which are offers of settlement made to a victim of medical negligence by the negligent party’s insurance company, generally not long after the instance of negligence has taken place) often do not sufficiently cover the consequences of the injury or illness a victim has sustained. It is unlikely that that they will have time to fully assess your injury or illness, so it is probable that the value of the patient claim for the wrong surgical procedure performed by a surgeon that they offer you will not be enough. Furthermore, it should be noted that if you do accept an offer of claim for a surgeon performing the wrong surgery compensation and it turns out to be inadequate, you will not be able to return to the insurance company and request more.
It is therefore in your best interest to contact a claims solicitor with experience in dealing with surgeon negligence claims at the first possible. They will be able to evaluate your claim and advise you of whether not you would be likely to achieve more if you choose to pursue it. If they think that you have a sufficient chance of success, he or she may offer you legal representation in your claim for a surgeon performing the wrong surgical procedure on a patient.