When medical treatment goes wrong, it can have life-changing effects. If you or a family member or friend has been injured because of medical negligence and you want to make a claim, you may not be alone. Sometimes a doctor, surgeon, radiographer or other healthcare professional is able to carry on working in a way that is dangerous and negligent, both in the NHS and in private hospitals and clinics. Examples include breast surgeon Ian Paterson who was found guilty of 17 counts of wounding with intent in April 2017, and Rob Jones who worked as an obstetrician and gynaecologist.
You may be one of a number of patients who have suffered the same or similar injuries as a result of substandard or negligent treatment and care from the same doctor or surgeon. If you fall into this group, you may be able to join a medical group claim.
Class actions and group actions – what are they?
Getting involved in any sort of litigation can be a daunting prospect, and by joining together with other people your claim against a negligent doctor or surgeon may be made easier by sharing common costs and information. A group action can help to reduce the costs associated with litigation.
You might be familiar with the US term ‘class action’, a type of legal claim where one or more individuals bring an action on behalf of themselves and other people who have all been affected by the same issue. People who have been affected by the actions of the same person or the same product automatically become part of the class action, and have to ‘opt-out’ if they do not want their claims to be joined.
In the UK, ‘group’ or ‘multi-party’ actions are the way in which a number of people can join together in one legal action. The key difference between group actions in the UK and class actions in the US is that people who have been injured in the UK have to ‘opt-in’ and choose to become a part of the group in order to have their claims represented. The whole process is managed by the Court and “Lead Solicitors” are appointed.
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Why choose Leigh Day?
Leigh Day lawyers have unrivalled experience in bringing group claims. We have acted for groups of clients numbering from 15 to 30,000 in size. The experience we have built up over the last 30 years in this specialisation means that you can be reassured that our expert teams know the best way to represent groups of claimants.
Examples of our medical group claim experience:
- Surgical mesh implant surgery: Anthony (Tony) Dixon, a consultant surgeon Southmead Hospital and Spire Bristol Hospital, is facing a series of complaints. He is currently being investigated for concerns over certain rectal floor procedures which were performed to treat rectal prolapse. The General Medical Council has also launched its own Fitness to Practice Inquiry and Mr Dixon is subject to a series of restrictions on his practice, one of which prevents him from carrying out certain types of surgery. Medical negligence Partner, Emmalene Bushnell, is currently acting on behalf of a number of former patients.
- Stem cell treatment: Jill Paterson was instructed by a group of people who had been treated by Robert Trossel who was struck off the medical register in September 2010 after charging vulnerable multiple sclerosis patients for using stem cell treatment.
- Breast cancer: Former surgeon, Puvaneswary Markandoo, failed to diagnose breast cancer in two young women, Ruth Picardie and Beth Wagstaff, both of whom died. Frances Swaine represented the families of both women.
- Stafford Hospital: Emma Jones successfully claimed compensation for more than 100 families whose relatives and loved ones suffered appalling standards of care at the hospital.
- Alexandra Hospital, Redditch: Emma Jones represented a group of families and widows who took legal action about the standard of care at the hospital.