The journey to health often requires us to place our deepest trust in medical professionals. Yet, in the healthcare sector of Scotland, there can be unsettling moments when this trust is shaken due to medical negligence. It might be an incorrect diagnosis, surgical, or medication error. These aren’t just minor hiccups; they can profoundly alter lives, causing physical pain, emotional distress, and overwhelming uncertainty. So, what steps should you take if you find yourself amidst the fog of such a situation? The first step is to understand and recognise the signs and then seek guidance from clinical negligence solicitors in Scotland. 

What is classed as Clinical negligence?

Clinical negligence, a term that might sound intricate and heavy, happens when something goes wrong in the medical world because a professional didn’t do their job as well as they should have. When faced with it, patients are left with confusion, disappointment, and a desire for things to be made right.

So, let’s break it down further:

  1. Standard of Care: Medical professionals are expected to provide a certain level of care based on their training and common practices. If they don’t meet this expectation and a patient suffers harm, or their health deteriorates, it could be considered clinical negligence. 
  2. Injury or Harm: For something to be considered clinical negligence, the mistake or oversight made by the medical professional should have caused some sort of harm. This harm could be physical, like a worsening illness or injury, or emotional, like severe distress.
  3. Direct Connection: There must be a clear link between the medical professional’s actions (or lack thereof) and the harm caused. If someone was already sick and got sicker for reasons unrelated to the doctor’s actions, it might not count.
  4. Avoidable Mistakes: We are all human, including doctors, so mistakes happen. However, if a mistake could have been easily avoided by following standard practices or by being more attentive, it leans more towards being negligent.
  5. Examples: To make it clearer, here are some situations that might be classed as clinical negligence:
  • Misdiagnosing an illness or not diagnosing it at all.
  • Making an error during surgery.
  • Prescribing the wrong medication or the wrong dosage.
  • Not informing a patient about the risks of a particular treatment.

If you think you’ve experienced this, it is vital to get legal advice to understand your rights and take the appropriate actions.

Common Examples Of Clinical Negligence:

Following are some of the most common types of medical negligence in Scotland. 


Misdiagnosis happens when a medical professional identifies an illness or condition inaccurately or fails to recognise it at all. This error can set patients on a path of inappropriate treatments or deprive them of the necessary care, causing their health to deteriorate further. Misdiagnosis is similar to following incorrect instructions; the results can be counterproductive or harmful. The consequences of a wrong diagnosis significantly impact a person’s physical and emotional health. Trust in medical judgment is pivotal, and when that trust wavers due to such oversights, it calls for attention, compensation, and measures to prevent future occurrences.

Delayed Diagnosis:

Delayed diagnosis is another significant concern within clinical negligence. Essentially, it’s when a health issue is eventually recognised, but not as quickly as it should’ve been. Time is often of the essence in medicine, and delays can lead to extended illnesses or even life-threatening outcomes. Just as timely responses are essential in many aspects of life, they’re even more critical in healthcare.

A diagnosis lapse can lead to missed treatment opportunities, allowing a condition to progress unchecked. For the patient, this not only results in prolonged suffering but can also introduce a series of complications which were avoidable with swifter medical intervention. Addressing and preventing such delays is paramount in ensuring patient well-being and upholding healthcare standards.

Birth-Related Injuries:

Childbirth is a joyous event, symbolising the beginning of a new life. However, complications can arise, and when they do, the expertise and vigilance of medical professionals are crucial. In instances where there is a lapse in vigilance, birth injuries can occur. Such injuries might range from minor bruises to more severe conditions, like cerebral palsy or Erb’s palsy, which can have life-long consequences for the child. Additionally, mothers are not exempt from potential harm, with injuries like severe postpartum haemorrhage or infections being potential risks.

While many birth-related complications can arise naturally, when they directly result from medical negligence, it becomes a pressing concern. Ensuring that mother and child receive the utmost care during this delicate period is essential to prevent such undesired outcomes.

Surgical Errors:

Surgery is an intricate process requiring precision, skill, and unwavering focus. It is a time when a patient places immense trust in the hands of surgeons and their teams. However, there are occasions when this trust is breached due to surgical errors. Such errors can include a wide range of issues, from operating on the wrong site or even the wrong patient to leaving surgical instruments inside a patient during the operation. Other possible mishaps include causing unintended damage to organs, tissues, or nerves.

These errors prolong a patient’s recovery time and can introduce a host of new complications, some of which might require more surgical procedures. While surgeries have inherent risks, avoidable mistakes fall under clinical negligence. For patients, understanding these potential pitfalls and advocating for their health is crucial, as is the continuous training and vigilance of medical professionals.

Anaesthesia Errors:

Anaesthesia is pivotal in ensuring patients experience minimal pain during surgical procedures. Administered by skilled anaesthetists, its primary function is to induce a state of unconsciousness or numbness, allowing surgeons to operate without causing undue distress. However, errors associated with anaesthesia can have dire consequences. These might include administering an incorrect dose, resulting in a patient being insufficiently sedated or experiencing an overdose. Other errors include not properly monitoring a patient’s vital signs during surgery or failing to identify potential allergic reactions. Such errors can lead to severe brain damage, post-operative pain, or even fatal outcomes. The delicate nature of anaesthesia demands unerring precision and attention to every patient’s unique needs.

Prescription Errors:

Medications are a cornerstone of modern healthcare, often offering relief or cures for many ailments. However, this therapeutic potential depends upon their correct use. Prescription errors introduce risks that can compromise a patient’s health or exacerbate existing conditions. These errors might involve prescribing a medication that negatively interacts with another drug a patient is taking or overlooking potential allergies. There’s also the risk of specifying the wrong dosage, leading to under-treatment or harmful overdoses.

Additionally, providing unclear instructions on medication use can result in patients misusing drugs without knowledge. The consequences can range from mild discomfort to severe health deterioration or even fatality in all these scenarios. As healthcare providers strive to offer the best care, minimising such errors is paramount, ensuring that medications remain the beneficial tools they should be.

Hospital Infections:

Hospitals are places for healing and patient care. Yet, even with strict cleaning routines, they aren’t completely free from infection risks. Germs can exist on tools or in the air, leading to hospital-related infections. Diseases like MRSA or C. difficile can develop without the right precautions. When hygiene measures aren’t up to par, the consequences can be serious. This might mean longer hospital stays, complications, or even death. Healthcare facilities must keep top-notch cleanliness and guard against such infections to ensure patient safety and recovery.

What happens in a Clinical negligence claim?

Navigating a clinical negligence claim might seem daunting, but with clear guidelines, you can find your way to victory. Here’s a breakdown:

  1. Initial Consultation: First, you chat with a solicitor who specialises in clinical negligence. They will listen to your story, gauge the merit of your claim, and advise on the best course of action.
  2. Gathering Evidence: If you decide to proceed, your solicitor will collect vital evidence. This could include medical records, witness statements, and expert medical opinions to bolster your claim.
  3. Notification: A formal “Letter of Claim” is sent to the healthcare provider or institution you are claiming compensation against. This letter outlines the nature of your claim and the negligence believed to have occurred.
  4. Response: The other side will investigate, and within a specific timeframe, they must respond, either accepting or denying responsibility.
  5. Negotiation: If both sides agree that negligence occurred, they’ll discuss compensation. If they don’t agree on an amount, the case may go to court.
  6. Court Proceedings: While many personal injury claims are settled outside of court, some do go to trial. Here, both sides present their evidence, and a judge will make the final call on negligence and compensation.
  7. Compensation: If your claim is successful, you’ll receive compensation. This amount varies, depending on the nature and severity of the negligence experienced.

While this process might seem long, a good specialist medical negligence solicitor can guide you at each step, ensuring your rights are protected and your voice is heard.

What is the average payout for Clinical negligence In Scotland?

Determining average clinical negligence payouts in Scotland is complicated, given the wide range of potential settlements. 

For some people, the claim ends quickly, with payouts as low as £1,000. In these situations, someone faces minor injuries with little to no long-term effects. These medical negligence cases are like small detours in one’s life – some extra medical costs, a touch of discomfort, and then they’re back on track.

The compensation goes way up for those unfortunate enough to suffer major harm, like babies born with conditions like cerebral palsy due to negligence or individuals who’ve had their backbone of life altered with spinal injuries. We’re talking figures that can soar to several million pounds. Compensation isn’t only for immediate harm. It covers ongoing medical expenses, potential job loss, and the lasting change in one’s life.

Compensation varies widely, ranging from £1,000 to millions. Its value is based on the specifics of each case. The key consideration is how the compensation aids those affected by negligence.

No win no fee Clinical negligence advice in Scotland:

A no win no fee agreement is a promise from your solicitor: if they don’t succeed in getting you compensation for your claim, you won’t owe them any legal fees. This means you can seek justice without worrying about a hefty bill at the end if things don’t go as planned.

Now, you might wonder why medical negligence solicitors would offer such a deal. Well, they believe in your case! They’re confident that they can help you win. If you win the case, the medical negligence team gets a previously agreed-upon portion of the compensation.

This “No Win, No Fee” approach allows everyone to seek justice regardless of their financial situation. If you think you’ve faced medical negligence in Scotland, this arrangement lets you pursue your rights without initial financial strain.

Can I sue For Clinical Negligence?

Yes, if you believe you’ve been harmed due to the mistakes or negligence of healthcare professionals, you have the right to seek legal action for clinical negligence (often referred to as “medical malpractice” in some jurisdictions). However, before proceeding, you should be aware of a few important points:

Proof: You must be able to provide evidence that the medical professional or facility did not meet the accepted standard of care and that this negligence directly caused you to suffer an injury or illness.

Time Limit: Scotland has a statute of limitations for clinical negligence claims, which means you have a specific time frame to make a claim.

Expert Witnesses: In many cases, you will need an expert in the relevant medical field to testify or provide an expert report stating that the medical care you received was below the accepted standard.

Legal advice: It’s crucial to consult with a solicitor who specialises in clinical negligence or medical malpractice. They can guide you through the complexities of the process, evaluate the strength of your case, and provide advice on how best to proceed.

Costs: Legal proceedings can be expensive, so consider the financial implications. Our panel of solicitors offer a “No Win, No Fee” arrangement, meaning if you don’t win the case, you won’t have to pay their legal fees.

Impact: Remember that successfully pursuing a clinical negligence claim isn’t just about securing compensation for your harm. It can also highlight unsafe practices and prevent others from experiencing similar harm.

If you believe you have a case, taking timely action and gathering all relevant medical records and evidence related to your medical negligence compensation claim is essential.

PICS Helps You Make No Win No Fee Clinical Negligence Claims In Scotland:

Navigating the aftermath of medical negligence can be difficult. It is stressful, confusing, and can sometimes feel downright overwhelming. Making a medical negligence claim at that time is even more difficult and stressful. We at PICS can help you with that. We will be your trusty guide, walking you through the twists and turns of clinical negligence claims in Scotland. 

With a robust network of personal injury solicitors Scotland, spread across the country. Many of our talented professionals are experts in clinical negligence compensation claims. We can connect you with the right solicitor for your unique situation.

We believe in the value of justice, and we understand the weight of financial pressures. Our network operates on a “No Win, No Fee” principle. In the simplest terms, this means you only pay if your claim is successful.

By choosing PICS, you aren’t just getting legal support; you are also getting a committed ally by your side, ensuring you never walk the challenging road of clinical negligence claims alone.