Delivering legal expertise since 1845

Medical & clinical negligence solicitors

Our specialist team of medical negligence solicitors has significant experience of handling a full range of medical negligence cases. Sometimes called clinical negligence, these are cases that arise from poor quality or sub-standard care received in the NHS or private health care sector.

We care passionately about helping people seriously injured through no fault of their own and helping them to get the justice they deserve.

People first, lawyers second

Our dedicated medical negligence solicitors have helped thousands of people who have found themselves in the same position as you. We work with our clients and their families to make sure they get the answers, compensation and the often life-long support they need.

Clinical negligence claims can be fiercely defended, however. So, it's essential that your legal team has real expertise in this field. Our senior lawyers have more than 175 years’ experience of supporting all types of medical negligence claims. It means you can be assured your claim will be handled by one of the leading, specialist clinical negligence law firms in the UK – and benefit from our considerable experience in extremely complex and high-profile cases.

What is clinical negligence?

No one expects to be injured in an accident at hospital, their GP surgery or in an ambulance. While most healthcare is delivered successfully by dedicated and caring professionals, sometimes things sadly do go wrong. If the medical team looking after you is negligent in their care, causing you harm as a result, this is classed as medical or clinical negligence.

This type of negligence can be caused by a range of healthcare professionals GPs, doctors, nurses, pharmacists and midwives can all be negligent in the care they provide. The negligence need not be a major, single incident such as poor operating technique or a single obvious cause. Seemingly simple errors and administrative confusion, poor record keeping or failure to adhere to practices and procedures can have a cumulative and ultimately catastrophic impact. Clinical negligence can occur in any area of healthcare.

Some examples of clinical negligence include:

Misdiagnosis or a failure to diagnose a condition

Mistakes made during surgery, a medical procedure or an operation

Delay in providing treatment or providing the wrong treatment

Failure to provide information about any risks that come with treatment and to obtain informed consent

The impact of an avoidable accident in healthcare is often far greater than in any other setting. The pain and suffering caused can, in some cases, be life-long and life-changing.

Watch Milly's story

How can clinical negligence impact you?


If you or a loved one are injured as a result of clinical negligence it can mean adapting the home and changing your day-to-day life – depending on the type of injury. It also has the potential to affect your emotional and mental wellbeing and influence your relationship with family and friends.

There can also be concerns around your finances, especially if you need to take long-term sick leave or your work life is affected in other ways. Such money worries can make it even harder to come to terms with what’s happened and have a negative impact on your health.

Need more help?

Our team of friendly specialists are on hand to help guide you through all aspects of medical and clinical negligence claims.  

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James Robshaw and his mum cuddling in a sofa. James suffered a birth brain injury

Shoosmiths - the medical & clinical negligence experts

  • Why choose Shoosmiths?

    We believe there are several reasons why you should choose us to handle a medical negligence claim on your behalf:

    With these reasons and more, you can be sure we have the expertise that enables us to handle claims like yours. And, with offices across the country, you can call on our expertise in person and are close by should you wish to come and speak to us about your claim.

    We do more than provide quality advice, however. We work hard to secure the highest amount of compensation we can to make sure that our clients’ needs are provided for now and into the future and to help them in their journey to rebuild their lives.

  • How can Shoosmiths help if you have a clinical negligence claim?

    At Shoosmiths, we have a team of lawyers with proven experience in handling complex clinical negligence cases. We’ve also established excellent professional relationships with some of the best medical experts and rehabilitation providers. This means we’re expertly placed to guide you through the entire claims process in England and Wales.

    We want to make things as easy for you as possible. So, you can speak to us over the phone, at one of our locations or even at home – wherever is most convenient for you. This is so you can tell us about your experience in your own time and on your own terms.

  • What does a medical negligence claim with Shoosmiths involve?

    We’ll collect the necessary information (medical records, expert medical and other opinions and witness statements) to investigate and prove your case and assess the value of your claim. This is so we can negotiate a fair settlement for you.

    In certain circumstances, we may also be able to secure early interim payments to cover your immediate medical and living expenses. And we’ll also work to get you access to the very best care and support to help you recover as quickly as possible. But don’t worry about the cost of making a claim – and don't be put off seeking our help.

    There’s a time limit for bringing medical negligence claims, so don’t delay, talk to us as soon as possible. We can advise you – free of charge at first – about all your options and find a way of helping you that best suits your individual needs. This can include no win no fee arrangements, which means you won’t have to pay anything if your case is not successful.

We can help you

Call our specialists for a free initial discussion.

Meet our experts

Phil Barnes

Phil Barnes


Medical negligence

Phil is national head of medical negligence. It has been said of Phil that he's the kind of guy to pull out all the stops so call Phil today.

Denise Stephens

Denise Stephens


Medical negligence

Denise is a passionate, highly skilled medical negligence lawyer with a heart of gold. She cares genuinely about getting you justice so tell Denise your story.

Kashmir Uppal

Kashmir Uppal


Medical negligence

Award winning medical negligence lawyer Kashmir is tireless in her pursuit of accountability. Contact Kashmir today.

Medical negligence FAQS

  • Why claim for clinical negligence?

    The purpose of compensation for medical negligence is to try to get you back to the place in your life you would have been in before you suffered the injury (as far as that may be possible). Compensation may be needed to cover the cost of your care needs, to purchase aids and equipment and to make alterations to your home Your injury may also mean that you can no longer work in the role you were in before your injury, compensation can help to ease that financial strain.

    While any amount you receive can never undo the damage caused, it does have the potential to restore your financial and emotional wellness. It can also give you the best possible opportunity to move forward with your life.

    In addition, clinical negligence compensation claims can help you to find out what happened, what went wrong and why and bring about positive change to prevent the same mistakes being made in the future.

  • How often does clinical negligence occur?

    It is hard to put an exact number on how many cases of medical negligence occur each year. This is because there are instances where genuine accidents do occur, but not necessarily as the result of negligence. In a very few cases, such as that of disgraced breast surgeon Ian Paterson, harm is deliberately caused. The role of our solicitors is to gather all of the necessary evidence to establish whether there has been any negligence and if so what impact this has had on your outcome. If negligence is established our solicitors will pursue a claim for you to recover compensation for your losses and to cover the costs of your future needs.

    Clinical negligence is more common than you’d think. There are thousands of claims made each year, with NHS Resolution receiving 10,678 clinical negligence claims in 2018/19.  That means you won’t be alone if you think you have a claim and decided to pursue it.

    Of those claims, emergency medicine is the speciality that accounts for the largest number – representing 13% of the total number of claims made against the NHS in England. This was followed by orthopaedic surgery (12%) and obstetrics (10%).

    It is important to bear in mind this is just an overview for one time period, the numbers can change from year to year – depending on the type of injuries to patients as a result of negligent care.

  • What is the time limit for making a medical negligence claim?

    In most cases, you’ll have three years from the date you suffered your injury to make a medical negligence claim. This is referred to as the “limitation date”. If you don’t issue court proceedings before the limitation date expires you may be prevented from bringing a claim. Determining your limitation date can be difficult because it can depend on your circumstances and the facts of your claim. It might be that an injury or illness caused by medical negligence is not diagnosed until sometime after you received the treatment. If this is the case, the three-year limitation period may be deemed to run from the date you were aware that you had suffered the injury – your “date of knowledge”, which may be a much later date than you received the treatment.

    If you suffer medical negligence as a child, your 3-year limitation period will not start to run until your 18th birthday. A litigation friend, which may be a parent or other suitable adult can bring a claim on behalf of the child whilst they are under 18.If you or a loved one does not have the mental capacity to bring a claim there may not be a time limit in which to bring a claim.

    If you or a loved one has suffered an injury or illness, talk to us as soon as possible and we can tell you if you could make a medical negligence claim.

  • What does a claim need to include?

    To make sure you have a successful claim, our lawyers must prove that – on the balance of probability – the care/ treatment you received was negligent. The care/treatment will be found to be negligent if it fell below the standard expected of a competent healthcare provider working in that particular area of medicine at that time. If it can be established that there was a “breach of duty” in the standard of the care that you were provided it is also necessary to prove that this breach of duty caused or materially contributed to your injury and resulted in a loss.

    Our team has expertise in dealing with medical negligence cases across all fields of medical practice which means that we can provide key medical negligence advice and make sure that you know exactly what the position is at every stage of the claims process.

  • Will I have to go to court?

    Most cases are settled without the need to go to court. But if your claim does go through the court process, we will manage that for you and guide, support and advise you throughout.

    The process itself can take some time, however – particularly for medical negligence claims as the cases can be complex and can also be fiercely contested.

    How long it takes to conclude your claims depends on several factors, such as how complex your case is and your individual needs. We can tell you how long we expect it to take as it progresses – but this can change. In general, it can be anything from a few months to a few years.

  • How to make a claim with Shoosmiths
    To start the claims process with us, get in touch and talk to one of our team. One of our expert clinical negligence solicitors will assess your claim and let you know whether we can help you and if we can, we will discuss with you how the claim can be funded including the option of no win no fee.
  • How much does it cost to make a claim?

    When you first speak to us about your injury, your initial consultation with us is free of charge. It’s at this stage that we’ll learn more about the details of your medical negligence claim.

    We’ll then be able to discuss with you what funding options are available to you and advise you on the most suitable funding option to meet your needs, which will include discussing a no win no fee arrangement. Our guide to funding your claim explains the different options available.

  • What to do next
    If you’ve suffered due to clinical negligence, speak to our specialist lawyers today. Call us or send us a message to start your claim. We’ll explain the next steps, help you get the compensation for medical negligence you deserve and continue to support you in the years to come.

Related information

Need more help?

Our team of friendly specialists are on hand to help guide you through all aspects of medical and clinical negligence claims.  

Call me back

Who we work with

  • Brain Injury Group
  • Child Brain Injury Trust
  • Headway
  • SIA
  • Back Up
  • Macmillan
  • Danielles Flutterbyes
  • Forces
  • Bens Heroes Trust

Our accreditations

  • Accredited Personal Injury
  • Apil
  • Ama
  • Clinical Negligence
  • Legal 500
  • UK Chambers
  • The Society Of Clinical Injury Lawyers