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Suing the NHS for Medical Negligence

If you or your family have been affected by sub-standard medical care provided by the NHS, our team of expert medical negligence solicitors can help you pursue a claim for compensation.

To speak with one of our medical negligence solicitors call 0800 358 3848 or complete our online enquiry form.

In extremely rare circumstances, NHS medical staff make mistakes that are considered negligent and result in serious injury to the patient.  

The medical negligence team at Fieldfisher has recovered millions of pounds on behalf of clients in medical negligence claims against the NHS. We do this on a no win no fee basis, in other words, at no cost to you.

Our medical negligence solicitors have won a wide range of claims for clients, including for birth injuries to the mother or child, incorrect cancer diagnosis, referral errors, surgical negligence and GP negligence.

We are always happy to discuss your potential claim against the NHS over the phone for free. Contact us here to discuss your claim.

What can I sue the NHS for in a medical negligence claim?

Compensation for medical negligence can include:

  • Loss of earnings
  • Cost of medical treatment
  • Aids and equipment
  • Care or assistance
  • Alternative and/or adapted accommodation
  • Therapies such as physiotherapy, occupational therapy and speech and language therapy
  • Assistive technology

In cases where failings in care result in death, the family of the deceased may sue the NHS for compensation.

Suing a hospital for negligence

In most cases, suing the NHS involves the Trust responsible for that hospital, rather than suing an individual hospital or individual members of staff. 

Each NHS Trust has a duty of care to treat and protect patients from harm, with specific guidelines for appropriate care by staff for example those  provided by NICE (the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence). 

Can I sue the NHS after 3 years?

Generally, there is a three-year time limit for suing the NHS. The three year time limit runs from either:

  • the date that the negligent treatment occurred; or
  • the date when you became aware you suffered a significant injury from negligent treatment

However, the time limit is different for a child or a person without mental capacity to pursue a claim.

For fatal claims, there is also a time limit within which to sue the NHS. This is generally three years from the date of their death. There are exceptions to this time limit if the deceased was aware they had suffered a significant injury from negligent treatment before they died. 

How do I sue an NHS hospital?

To run a successful claim entails instructing a specialist medical negligence solicitor to put together a claim against the NHS on your behalf. This generally involves investigating the circumstances of the negligent treatment and instructing experts to quantify its impact on someone's current and future life, including potential additional surgeries and ongoing rehabilitation.

Do I have to pay to sue the NHS?

Any reputable solicitor will, free of charge, discuss with you on the phone whether they think you have a case to sue the NHS. They will then draw up a no win no fee agreement, also known as a Conditional Fee Agreement. They will explain the details which, broadly will mean that, in the event in the claim fails, there is no cost to you; if your claim is successful, the NHS Trust being sued is liable for the majority of your solicitor's costs, there will be costs to you but these will be limited and you will recover compensation. 

This is a complex area but your solicitor will guide you through and give you peace of mind.

Do I need a solicitor to sue the NHS?

Yes. Find a solicitor you trust (for example an AvMA accredited solicitor) and discuss your case over the phone. They will explain the details of running a medical negligence lawsuit and advise on how to proceed.

How is a medical negligence NHS compensation pay-out determined?

Medical negligence compensation is calculated to compensate you for pain and suffering and to cover your financial losses. 

Compensation is usually broken down into two categories: general damages and special damages. The amount you receive depends on the seriousness of your injuries and the extent of your losses. A clinical negligence claim causing a minor injury will generate a far lower pay-out than medical negligence that resulted in life-changing injuries. 

Certain types of claim (such as fatal cases) have rules governed by legislation – your solicitor can advise you about this

Successful claims against the NHS

You can read through some of our successful medical negligence cases here.

Contact us to discuss your claim, free of charge. Call us on 0800 358 3848, or email, or complete our online enquiry form.

Why choose Fieldfisher's medical negligence team?


We achieve record damages for people suffering serious injury following medical negligence. Last year, we recovered more than £200m in compensation claims.


We have more than 30 years' experience pursuing claims for people injured by medical negligence, clinical negligence, medical accidents and medical mistakes.


We are ranked top tier in leading legal directories and regularly recognised in industry awards. We are accredited by APIL, panel members of AvMA and members of the Law Society’s Clinical Negligence Panel.

First class, with an exceptional degree of empathy and understanding.

Chambers & Partners 2024

Contact us

For a free, no obligation call with one of our medical negligence experts, please dial 0800 358 3848 or complete our online enquiry form.