How to pursue a career in medical negligence

The number of medical negligence claims in the UK rose to nearly 11,700 during 2019/20, with this representing a five-year high according to official statistics from NHS England.

Given this, qualifying lawyers may well want to target a career in the field of medical negligence, which is increasingly competitive and demanding of a quite unique skillset.

But what’s required of a medical negligence lawyer, and how can you successfully pursue this type of career?

What’s Required of a Medical Negligence Solicitor?

In addition to being one of the most competitive areas of law in the modern age, medical negligence is also one of the most technical and complex.

In simple terms, solicitors will pursue medical negligence claims on behalf of their clients, who must demonstrate how perceived inaction or clinical error has impacted their physical, mental or financial wellbeing.

What’s more, they’ll have to guide their client through what can be a complex and time-consuming legal process within a three-year window from the date of the incident, attempting to successfully pursue a claim under tight restrictions.

There are a few exemptions to this rule, of course, such as instances where the client is a child or an adult with mental or physical impairments.

How to Pursue a Career in Medical Negligence

To begin with, you’ll need to pursue a law degree if you want to build a career in medical negligence, so that you can represent private clients safely, securely and effectively.

Additionally, legal graduates who want to work in this field should ideally have further qualifications in maths and science, while students should also be able to demonstrate a clear and concise understanding of how the healthcare sector (and particularly the NHS) works.

The latter rule applies to the whole of the healthcare sector too, as this competitive marketplace is also incredibly diverse. This means that you may represent clients with a range of different claims, from those pertaining to clinical treatment and healthcare to others that involve botched cosmetic procedures.

This can also be supported by an A-Level or equivalent qualification in biology, which can afford you a keen advantage over rival candidates when applying for roles or relevant training contracts.

Similarly, students who want to impress potential employers should also develop knowledge and a strong interest in the laws and legislation that impact healthcare in the UK.

For example, reading the Mental Health Act 2007 can help to create a broader knowledge base, as can brushing up on human rights issues and the deprivation of liberty.

By taking these steps, and seeking out relevant work experience with solicitors and barristers who specialise in medical negligence claims, you can make your mark in a lucrative and increasingly competitive area of UK law.

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