What Can You Do When You Turn 18 What If Your Child Suffers Clinical Negligence?

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What If Your Child Suffers Clinical Negligence?

Caring for a sick child can be a heartbreaking and challenging experience. Any parent or guardian who has had to watch their child suffer will understand how difficult it is. However, many can rest assured that their child is receiving high-quality care and treatment that will help them recover from an injury or illness.

However, what can you do if you are concerned that your child’s therapists are not doing their job up to the standard?

First of all, it is understandable that as a parent you will be too close to the situation to look at it objectively. This is your child and you will have a hard time seeing anything as good enough or fast enough when it comes to healing. It is wise to discuss your problems with another person, such as a friend. You should calmly discuss your concerns with the medical staff treating your child. What you think is a low standard of care may be the right treatment for your child’s situation.

However, if you find that you have genuine concerns about the standard of care your child received, you are considering a negligence claim, then you should discuss those concerns with a legal professional.

For a claim to succeed, the standard of care must have fallen below professional standards, be considered negligent, and have caused harm to your child. Harm can be delayed recovery or physical or mental injury.

But what can you do?

First of all, if your child is currently undergoing treatment, your top priority should be making sure your child gets the care he or she needs. Your first point of call should be the immediate medical staff treating your child, if it is hospital care then speak to the treating doctor, if this does not resolve your concerns then the patient liaison team at the hospital will be your next call. They will give you suggestions and help you solve your problems.

If your child is receiving another type of care as an outpatient, eg physiotherapy, you should talk to the provider. If that doesn’t help, talk to your child’s GP, ask them for a second opinion and tell them your concerns.

If your child is no longer receiving care, and you are concerned about the care they have received in the past, the next step is to speak with a legal professional. A legal professional can advise you on bringing complaints directly to the source or a potential claim.

Bringing a claim

If you are thinking of bringing a negligence claim to court, you can either bring a claim on your child’s behalf now, or you can bring a claim yourself after your child turns 18. They have until they turn 21 to bring a claim.

If you decide to claim on your child’s behalf, you will act as their claimant friend. If you don’t want to do it yourself, but perhaps want another family member or friend to do it on your child’s behalf, that’s also a possibility.

Who can be a litigant?

The Court may appoint various persons to act as amicus-petition including:-

  • parent or guardian

  • A family member or friend

  • a lawyer

  • A professional lawyer, e.g. Independent Mental Capacity Advocate (IMCA)

  • Court of Protection Deputy

Apply to court

To apply to be a litigation friend you have to fill a certificate of eligibility and apply to the court.

When the application is made the court will check that you, or the person applying to be a friend of the petition, is suitable. They will ensure that your interests do not conflict with your child’s and that you can decide on the case in a fair and competent manner.

conclusion

A sick child is a scary thing and it’s important to know they are getting the right standard of care. The first step is to share your concerns with the treating physician. If this does not resolve your concerns you should contact your child’s GP or the Patient Liaison Service.

Bringing a claim for negligence is not a straightforward process and should be discussed with a legal professional. If you choose to go ahead with a potential claim, you can either act as a litigation friend now or allow your child to bring a claim on their own when they turn 18. The court has until their 21st birthday to issue a claim.

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