Medical negligence is a compelling reason to make a personal injury claim. No wonder. When you visit a doctor or dentist, you’re trusting them with your health. So any injury suffered as a result of negligence on their part can be a devastating blow. But if your claim relates to treatment you’ve had in Scotland, there are some legal differences you need to be aware of before proceeding – although they won’t stop you making a claim.
Pursuer and defender
In Scotland, the names used for those making and contesting a medical negligence claim are different. As a claimant, you are called the ‘pursuer’, while the person you are seeking damages from is called the ‘defender’. Your claim will be contested at either the closet Sheriff Court to where the injury occurred or at the Court of Session in Edinburgh.
Be aware too, that if you decide to raise an action, the Scottish courts have a limit of £750 damages awarded – below this, they will not pay your legal costs. And in Scotland, unlike England and Wales, much of the investigation into the case only takes place after the action has been raised in court. So it may take longer to resolve of the case.
Paying for a claim
As the pursuer in Scotland, you may be entitled to legal aid – it’s still available in Scotland. But if not, there are other ways to pay for the claim, such as private funding or, no win no fee legal representation. For the latter route, make sure you find a reliable personal injury lawyer with the right specialist knowledge of medical negligence claims.
Type of claim
There are three types of medical negligence claim you can make in Scotland.
Solatium – this type of claim is known as special damages in England and Wales. It relates to pain and suffering that’s not qualified as a financial loss. It depends on the extent of the injury, pain and suffering now and in the future and how your injury has affected your enjoyment of life (i.e stopped you doing hobbies you enjoy).
Past wage loss – this is self-explanatory and is calculated using established methods.
Services – this relates to any assistance you require as a result of your injury. And that can cover either professional care or care by friends and relatives. It also covers any assistance you used to provide to others but have been unable to since the injury.