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What is the Average Payout for Medical Negligence?

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The principle behind the payout awarded in a successful medical negligence claim is that it should return you to the quality of life you had before your injury.

But every claim is different, and the amount that you receive will very much depend on the nature of your individual claim.

Therefore, it’s difficult to pin down average payouts for medical negligence.

However, what the NHS pays out in overall totals, plus some examples, will give you some idea.

What Does the NHS Payout in Compensation?

NHS Resolution, the claims-management wing of the NHS, has an official approach to settle out of court wherever possible.

To support the settlement of claims, it has an indemnity provision of over £80 billion. This may seem like a huge amount of money, but the NHS receives more than 10,000 new claims a year.

The largest speciality area in terms of the value of claims is obstetrics. In 2018, the NHS paid a record £37 million to a six-year old boy who suffered a catastrophic brain injury during his birth.

But for individual claims, there is no set amount. And because so many claims are settled out of court, the record of what claimants receive is confidential and part of the settlement.

The Judicial College does publish guidelines for claims, but these are just guidelines, and individual cases will differ:

  • Traumatic death in which the deceased is fully aware and awake – £11,000 to £22,350
  • Severe pain disorders – £33,590 to 50,210
  • Paraplegia – £174,620 to £226,610
  • Infertility following ectopic pregnancy – £27,140 to £81,420
  • Mental anguish from fear of death following a severe allergic reaction to medication – £4,380
  • Severe toxicosis resulting in hospitalisation following incorrect medication – £36,060 to £49,270.

There are regular updates to these guidelines.

You must always bear in mind that your case will have its individual circumstances and that making a medical negligence claim will depend on you being able to prove negligence.

Yes, the NHS prefers to settle out of court, but this doesn’t mean they simply hand over the money. Medical claims tend to be complex, involving expert opinion and evidence.

What Does the Amount Awarded Represent?

Compensation in medical negligence cases tends to consist of general and special damages.

General damages is a lump sum payment. It should compensate you for the pain and suffering the injury has caused you. It should also compensate you for the impact this injury has had on your ability to enjoy life.

Special damages are different because they cover specific financial losses that relate to your injury. These financial losses may involve care and assistance costs, loss of earnings and can be different in each case.

Depending on your injury and your claim, you may also receive periodic payments to cover future losses.

Compensation also extends to mental as well as physical pain and suffering. If your injury has a negative psychological impact on your life, then the compensation you receive should cover this too.

Usually, a medical report about the injury you’ve suffered will evaluate the various aspects of how it has impacted your life.

When it comes to calculating special damages, several factors can also influence your eventual settlement, such as:

  • Medication and treatment
  • Adaption of accommodation
  • Change of accommodation
  • Specialist equipment
  • Travel expenses.

What Will Support Your Claim?

Making a successful medical negligence claim requires that you prove you have the grounds for a claim.

This relies on these critical things:

  • That a medical professional broke their duty of care towards you
  • You suffered injury as a result, and
  • That without this breach of duty occurring, you would not have suffered your injury.

There can be many complexities surrounding these issues, largely because many claimants are likely to be already suffering some sort of injury or pre-existing condition when they receive treatment.

Consequently, bringing a medical negligence claim can take time. There’s plenty of detailed evidence-gathering to do, and then the whole case hinges on the issue of causation.

In law, you must establish causation to prove that there has been a breach in the duty of care. This will likely depend on the balance of probabilities that the breach in duty of care is the reason for your injury.

Is Making a Medical Negligence Claim Worth It?

If you’ve suffered an injury or loss due to someone else’s negligence then you have the right to claim compensation for it, no matter how hard it is to make this claim.

This is why it’s vital to have the right professional legal support to help you make your claim.

The good news is that you have a degree of financial protection if you choose to make a claim.

This protection is known as qualified one-way costs shifting (QOCS), and it applies to all personal injury claims. It doesn’t matter how poor or wealthy you are.

You may also be able to make your claim on a no-win, no-fee basis, where you only pay the solicitor you use if you are successful. And you incur no upfront costs.

If you think you have a medical negligence claim to make, then you should talk to a legal specialist first.

We can offer you the advice and guidance you need. Please call us on 0800 088 6004, or complete our online contact form, and we will be in touch as soon as possible.

Gemma Pabari


Gemma Pabari


Gemma is a Solicitor within the Medical Negligence Team. Gemma has experience in advising on a range of Medical Negligence claims, to include delays in diagnosing and treating Cauda Equina Syndrome, representing clients on matters arising from complications with pregnancy.