Types of Negligence

There are a number of ways in which medical treatment can go wrong. We have detailed below some of the common failures which we often are instructed to investigate, however this list is not exhaustive. 

If you have any concerns about any aspect of the treatment or care you or a loved one has received, please do not hesitate to speak with one of our legal experts to see if it is something we can assist you with.

GP Negligence

It is often the case that your first point of call when you feel unwell will be your GP. A GP’s role is to take steps to assess what is wrong with you and provide the necessary treatment. Often this will involve referring you to meet with a specialist Consultant for further investigations and targeted treatment.

As the role of a GP is to understand and handle a wide range of illnesses and conditions, there are a number of ways in which the care they provide can go wrong, such as:

  • Failing to consider serious illnesses as part of a possible diagnosis, such as cancer, and making an urgent referral to a specialist;
  • Making an incorrect diagnosis;
  • Prescription errors;
  • Incorrectly interpreting test results;
  • Poor management of conditions such as diabetes.

Surgical Negligence

Surgery is, by its very nature, highly risky. When undergoing any surgical procedure, your Consultant should take the time to explain all of the benefits and potential risks. For some procedures, these may include routine risks such as infection or blood loss, however in more serious cases they can include nerve damage or death.

If your Consultant fails to warn you of a risk of a procedure which you then suffer, there may have been a failure to obtain informed consent. This would only apply if you had the option to not have the surgery, and would have exercised this option were you appropriately informed of all of the risks.

It may be, however, that you were warned of a risk but this then occurred solely because of the poor surgical technique of the Surgeon. Just because you were advised of the risk does not mean that the Surgeon cannot be liable for your injuries in this scenario.

Pregnancy & Childbirth

Appropriate management during pregnancy is crucial in order to avoid injuries at a later stage. Failing to identify and act on issues in a timely manner can result in miscarriage or stillbirth.

Injuries sustained during birth can be catastrophic for your child. It may be that critical information was not detected on earlier scans, which meant action to avoid injury was not taken, or that there were delays in delivery which meant the child suffered a period of time without oxygen.

Failures such as these can result in permanent and severe brain or skeletal injuries, meaning that the child requires a substantial amount of care and medical treatment for their entire life. Cases such as these represent some of the most complex clinical negligence cases, and it is important to instruct a lawyer who is experienced in handling these claims.

Care of the Elderly

There are a number of reasons why the elderly require different levels of care. This therefore means that there are a number of ways in which they can be let down.

It may be that there were failures to perform appropriate risk assessments, such as on admission to hospital or a care home, which meant that the correct level of support and supervision was not provided, resulting in avoidable falls and other injuries.

Alternatively, appropriate skin care regimes may not be followed, meaning that pressure sores are allowed to develop and progress. Pressure sores are very painful and slow to heal, and in some cases can be fatal. They are rarely justified and often indicate negligent care, whether in hospital, a care home or when care is provided by agency workers.

Accident and Emergency Department

When attending A&E, most injuries or illnesses will require urgent care. Conditions such as heart attacks and strokes require a rapid assessment and treatment in order to avoid severe and permanent injuries or death.

There are permitted timeframes within which conditions such as these should be responded to within A&E Departments, and failing to provide appropriate treatment within these times is rarely acceptable.

Misinterpreted Results

There are a large number of tests and investigations performed by hospitals and GPs, including blood tests, x-rays, cervical smears etc. Whilst these are often correctly reviewed and interpreted, this is not always the case.

These investigations are designed to diagnose injuries or illnesses at an early stage, so that treatment can be provided to prevent further injury. Failing to correctly interpret these results can lead to progression of conditions meaning more intense treatment is required at a later stage, and there may be permanent ramifications.

Dental Negligence

Most dental work undertaken is routine, however occasionally errors can occur, such as extracting the wrong tooth or failing to treat infections. Dentists may also miss opportunities to detect early signs of mouth cancer, which is then allowed to progress without treatment.


We work on a no win, no fee and a free initial consultation basis providing you the opportunity to discuss your situation and the costs of pursuing a claim without obligation. We can arrange home and hospital visits to suit your requirements. 

Our specialist Personal Injury solicitors are accredited by and members of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) and the Law Society's Personal Injury Panel. The Firm is also a member of the Action against Medical Accidents group (AVMA) and a panel solicitor member of Headway, the brain injury association.

If you feel your medical establishment has been negligent, our team of specialists lawyers are on hand to achieve the best outcome for you. Call 0800 111 6144 or make an online enquiry.

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