The evolution of medical negligence claims


If you are a lawyer who acts for clients in medical negligence claims, medical evidence is crucial to proving that the claimant was owed a duty of care; there was a breach of that duty; and that the failings in the duty of care caused, or contributed to, their injuries.

From Bolam to Montgomery, medical negligence law and practice have developed to reflect changes in clinical standards and practice, and consequently so has the medical evidence used by lawyers to prove medical negligence claims.

Today, lawyers now have access to a wide range of medical evidence and opinions that can be used to prove that a doctor acted negligently and his actions were the causation of the patient’s injury.

How has the use of medical evidence in the court evolved?

The range and type of medical evidence used in court to support a medical negligence claim has evolved over the years. No longer do lawyers have to rely on one medical opinion to prove that there was a failure to provide a duty of care, which led to the claimant’s injury.

Lawyers now have access to medical witnesses in different specialisms who can produce fair, impartial and honest medico-legal reports for cases. A patient’s medical history is much more accessible. A patient’s medical records can be requested and received online from one doctor to another. This expedites the process of gathering medical evidence to help prove whether the treatment was carried out properly. The professional witness can then use these clinical findings to write a report to support the claim.

What impact has technology had on medical evidence and court proceedings?

New medical technology has meant that lawyers now have access to a wide range of medical tests to help build their medical negligence case.

There are multiple medical tests that can produce in-depth images to assist in the diagnosis of conditions and help determine who is at fault for the claimant’s injuries in your medical investigation.

These are just some of the types of medical technology and tests that can be presented as evidence to the court:

- X-rays

- MRI scans

- Computerised Tomography (CT scans)

- Ultrasound scans

- Nerve conduction studies.

How can MAPS provide medical evidence to support your case

Initially, MAPS can obtain the client’s medical records and can arrange for all the records to be collated, paginated and bound so that everyone involved in the case is able to work from a single, clear and consistent set of records.

At MAPS Medical Reporting, we can provide access to a comprehensive range of medical investigations and tests in a short period of time to support your client’s medical negligence case. Whether you need access to an X-ray, MRI scan or a CT scan, our experienced team can facilitate obtaining the best quality evidence in support of your claim.

We also have an expert reporting team who can collate the medical evidence into a medico-legal report. We will work with you to select and instruct the most appropriate medical expert from our extensive database who specialise in a full range of disciplines, to prepare a specialist medico-legal report produced to the highest standard to meet your requirements.