How is medical negligence compensation calculated?

By Jason Brady

Lady sat on her bed looking out of the hospital window

There are a variety of factors that can determine how much compensation a claim can be worth. Our solicitors explain this in this article.

Calculating medical negligence compensation awards can be a complicated process, with a variety of factors considered by the Court. Ultimately, the amount you are awarded will need to account for both general and special damages, which our clinical negligence solicitors will explain in this article.

Which factors determine how much medical negligence compensation is awarded?

The nature and severity of the injuries suffered by the claimant is perhaps the most important determining factor when comes to assessing payouts. Naturally, if your injuries are severe and/or long-lasting, you can expect a higher payout than would be the case for a minor affliction.

Similarly, if you have suffered significant pain – whether it be physical or mental – and it is shown to have been caused directly by the defending party’s actions and/or failure to act appropriately, this will increase the compensation sum you are likely to be awarded.

The Court will also consider the financial burden of treatments, care provision and medications placed on you because of your substandard medical care. This applies to all reasonable past, present and future costs for as long as they are incurred by the claimant. If you need to make alterations to your home to accommodate changes to your way of life and/or some form of disability, these costs should also be factored into your compensation award.

Finally, medical negligence compensation awards should compensate you for any lost earnings, whether historic, present or in terms of future employability. Projected pension payouts are also considered within this remit, alongside your salaried or hourly working rate.

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What are general and special damages?

Sometimes referred to as “pain and suffering and loss of amenity” (PSLA) damages, general damages refer to those awarded for the direct impacts on your life in terms of suffering and difficulties in going about your normal routine.

Special damages, on the other hand, are those intended to help you cover the costs of dealing with your afflictions, such as buying medical care or hiring a caregiver to help you adapt to a new lifestyle. Special damages are also those which account for lost earnings.

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What is the average payout for medical negligence?

Compensation claim payouts can vary significantly because of the aforementioned factors, however, as a general guideline, NHS Resolution provides the following average total payouts for the most common claims

  • £190,127 for claims arising from general surgeries in 2018/2019
  • £493,055 for claims relating to cardio surgery in 2018/2019
  • £37,440 for dentistry claims in 2018/2019
  • £294,781 for claims pertaining to general practice in 2018/2019
  • An average payout of £270,423 across all claims between the financial years 2014/15 and 2018/19

The full set of figures spanning these years can be viewed directly on the NHS Resolution website.

Think you have a claim?

Speak to one of our team today and find out if your experience could lead to a claim.

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How much does the NHS pay out in claims?

Every year, the NHS release data on how much compensation they pay out for medical negligence claims. According to the latest data, in 2021/22 the NHS paid out £2.4 billion in claims.