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Anaesthetic negligence claims

No-one likes the thought of going under the knife, not least for the number of complications that could arise. Anaesthetic accidents are just one of the difficulties that could occur, potentially leading to life-threatening complications, and if it’s happened to you or someone you know, our expert medical negligence solicitors are here to help.

Last Updated November 8th, 2023.

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Key points for making an injury claim

The most important things to remember when making an anaesthetic negligence claim:

  • Medical professionals have a duty of care to protect you
  • Your claim is based on ‘causation’ and ‘negligence’
  • You can claim on a no win, no fee basis
  • You generally have three years to make a claim
  • Your compensation amount depends on your injury and the impact on your life.

What is an anaesthetic negligence claim?

An anaesthetic negligence claim refers to a medical professional’s failure to keep you safe while you are being given anaesthetic. This is used to numb feeling when you’re undergoing surgery and comes in three types. The more invasive the surgery, the stronger the anaesthetic.

Types of anaesthesia

Anaesthetics are generally categorised into three types, depending on the type of surgery you need and whether or not you can be conscious.

General anaesthesia

General anaesthesia is a combination of injections and gas. This affects the central nervous system and leaves the patient unconscious. Levels of general anaesthetic are maintained intravenously (through a drip) throughout the surgery.

Local anaesthesia

Local anaesthesia is delivered to a specific area of the body to numb the area and reduce pain. This means the patient is conscious, but they should not be able to feel that area of the body.

Regional anaesthesia

Regional anaesthesia is used for larger parts of the body that cannot be targeted by local anaesthesia alone. It is focused on major nerves and sometimes the spinal cord.

The consequences of anaesthetic negligence can be life-changing. Thankfully, anaesthetic awareness claims are low – around one in every 15,000 – but we are here to help you if you have suffered harm.

Our medical negligence solicitors will go above and beyond to get you the anaesthetic compensation you deserve. Contact us to start your anaesthesia compensation claim today.

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Consequences of anaesthetic negligence

The term “negligence” is used when a professional has failed to do something. So, in the context of anaesthesia, the person may have failed to seek consent or make sure you’re not being given the wrong anaesthesia. Alternatively, they may not have monitored you correctly while you were under anaesthesia. This can lead to the following consequences, often resulting in NHS negligence or surgical negligence claims:

Brain damage

This is one of the most serious causes of anaesthetic negligence compensation claims. Brain damage can happen if medical professionals did not set up equipment properly, leading to a lack of oxygen in the brain. It can also happen post-op, if the person is anaesthetised for longer than they need to be.

Anaesthetic awareness

This condition is rare, and happens when a patient wakes up during surgery. The effects can be extremely psychologically damaging, while the physical pain can be unbearable. Our expert medical negligence solicitors can make sure you’re covered for both physical and mental trauma.

Nerve damage

This can happen if anaesthetic is injected into the spinal cord in error, or when nerves are damaged by needles. In serious cases, it can cause life-changing disabilities.

At Express Solicitors, our medical negligence solicitors will settle your no win, no fee claim based not only on your injury, but the long-term impacts it has on your life.

How to claim for medical negligence

Want to know more about claiming for medical or clinical negligence. Jargon free, we’ll explain your legal rights, letting you know everything you need to know about claiming.

How much compensation can I claim for medical negligence?

Read our medical negligence legal guides to understand your legal rights and how much compensation you may be able to claim.

How do I prove anaesthetic negligence?

When it comes to settling anaesthetic negligence claims, your solicitor has to prove two things:

  • Causation – that you were physically harmed as a result of a medical professional’s actions
  • Negligence – that the medical provider failed somehow in their duty of care.

We can help you to gather this evidence by looking at medical records, witness statements and diaries of your case. While anaesthetic negligence is one of the most difficult compensation claims to prove, it’s not impossible. For example, we can help you to gather information from other doctors.

You can also act on someone else’s behalf. This applies to under-18s, those who are ‘mentally incapacitated’ (for example, if they’ve had a brain injury) or those who have died due to negligence. Often, anaesthetic negligence claims are disputed, and they can take longer than others to settle. This is because the healthcare provider has four months before they even have to legally respond to your claim.

When you contact our no win no fee solicitors, we will guide you through every step of this process, helping you to get the compensation you deserve. We can also help you if you’re claiming anaesthetic negligence on somebody else’s behalf – for example, somebody under 18 or somebody who has suffered brain damage.

You may also qualify for ‘interim payments’. These are early payments of your final compensation amounts, which can help you to pay for additional costs such as medical treatments while you recover. Remember, our medical negligence claims operate on a no win, no fee basis, so you’ll only pay a fee if we win.

What are the average compensation amounts for an anaesthetic negligence claim?

There are no pre-set compensation amounts for anaesthetic negligence claims. However, according to the NHS Litigation Authority, the average settlement amount for medical negligence claims is £50,000. Please be aware that compensation amounts can vary enormously, and we judge each claim on a case-by-case basis. Your claim will be judged on three things:

  • ‘General damages’ – the physical harm you have suffered
  • ‘Special damages’ – the financial losses you’ve had to overcome, such as time off work
  • Lifestyle changes – such as adaptations to your home due to disability.

Our expert solicitors go above and beyond to make sure we consider every element of your case, no matter how small. As a guideline, the Judicial Board offers the following figures for injuries to specific body parts:

  • Internal organ injury could be as high as £146,000
  • Injuries causing paralysis can range from £39,000 to £322,000
  • Injuries resulting in brain damage or sensory loss could be as high as £322,000.

Remember – this is just for general damages. Your no win, no fee claim will also look at time taken off work or any bonuses lost, expenses for adaptations, treatment and travel, and psychological damage.

What are the time limits for making a anaesthetic negligence claim?

You generally have three years from the date of your injury or diagnosis to make a claim, but we advise you contact as us soon as possible to get the most accurate evidence. The two exceptions to this rule are:

  • If you’re claiming on behalf of a child, you can claim anytime up to the 18th After this date, they have three years to represent themselves.
  • If you or the person you’re claiming for is ‘mentally incapacitated’ – that is, unable to claim for reasons such as brain damage, there is no time limit.

Unlimited legal support.

That’s right, we provide unlimited legal support for our prospective clients. Not sure if you have a claim, or if you even want to make a claim? You can speak with us for as long as you like and as many times as you like. We’ll let you know your legal rights, completely free of charge and with no obligation to make a claim.


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How to make an anaesthetic negligence claim

When you feel well enough to do so, you should start your anaesthetic negligence claim by phoning our solicitors for a free consultation. If possible, we’ll ask you to gather some evidence in advance, but if not, we can help you to gather the following:

  • Email statements from you and any witnesses
  • Medical reports from an independent specialist, which we can provide
  • Photographs where possible to show the extent of the damage
  • Copies of your latest hospital records
  • Any supporting evidence, such as documentation showing you were given the wrong anaesthetic.

This will help us to prove not only that you were harmed (causation) but that your medical provider failed in their duty of care (negligence).

What does the claims process involve?

Once we have your evidence, we can send in a trusted medical specialist to review your case. This specialist will write up a report outlining the medical professional’s ‘breach of duty’, as well as a causation report, outlining the physical damage.

After we receive this report, we will send a ‘Letter of Claim’ to the NHS or private healthcare provider. By law, they have four months to respond to this. During this time, we will calculate how much we believe your claim to be worth, and keep you informed throughout the process.

If the healthcare provider admits liability, we can award your compensation relatively quickly. However, if they dispute it, we may have to take your case to court.

How long do anaesthetic negligence claims take?

Unfortunately, anaesthetic negligence claims take longer than other personal injury claims because they are very difficult to prove. The healthcare provider has four months to respond, so you should expect a minimum waiting period of four months.

Your claim may also take longer if you were very badly injured, as we may need extra time to gather evidence. Please be assured that we will keep you informed and may even be able to arrange early compensation payments while you’re waiting.

Generally speaking, the NHS are quicker to respond than private healthcare providers. This is because the NHS has a dedicated body that deals with compensation claims, called NHS Resolution. We aim to settle all claims within a few months, but in some cases, they can take up to two years.

Our claims process may take a little longer than other law firms – but this is because our medical negligence solicitors are fighting to get you every penny.

Frequently asked questions about anaesthetic negligence claims

How much does it cost to make an anaesthetic negligence claim?

We handle the majority of our anaesthetic negligence claims on a no win, no fee basis. This means you won’t have to pay anything unless we win. Fees are taken as a percentage of your settlement, usually around 25%.

Will I have to go to court?

Court summons can happen with medical negligence cases, but it’s very rare that you will have to appear in court yourself. If this does happen, we can guide you every step of the way.

Will I need a medical examination?

We will send in our specialist medical examiners to run a ‘medico’ report. This helps to prove both causation and negligence, both of which will support your claim. We’ll do our best to make this as swift and comfortable as possible.

Will my medical negligence claim take money directly out of the NHS budget?

If you’re suing the NHS, you’re actually making a claim against NHS Resolution. This is an insurance scheme set up by the Government to protect against claims like this. It is funded by local trusts, which in turn are funded by the taxpayer. Compensation does not come directly from the NHS budget, but rather, from NHS Resolution.

What if I have an anaesthetic negligence claim against a private healthcare provider?

If your claim is private, we will follow the General Medical Council guidelines. These state that all those working in private healthcare must have their own Liability Insurance, which will cover the cost of compensation claims.

What will happen to the medical professional who treated me if my anaesthetic negligence claim is successful?

Your claim is separate from the individual medical professional who treated you – we are claiming against the organisation, not the individual. We have no say on how the NHS or healthcare provider deals with employees, although repeat offenders may face disciplinary action. You may receive a formal apology, but it is up to the organisation as to how they deal with individuals involved.

Why choose Express Solicitors for your claim?

At Express Solicitors, our regulated, expert anaesthetic negligence solicitors offer more than 20 years’ experience settling claims just like yours. We go above and beyond to make sure every factor of your case is covered. Anaesthetic negligence injuries can have devastating impacts on your life and we understand this – so we’ll deal with your claim sensitively and professionally.

Whether you’ve been turned away by other firms or just want to make a new claim, contact the medical negligence experts at Express Solicitors for a no win, no fee settlement.

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