Damages in clinical negligence claims
Produced in partnership with Renée Wood

The following PI & Clinical Negligence practice note produced in partnership with Renée Wood provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Damages in clinical negligence claims
  • Introduction
  • Causation—don’t forget it
  • General and special damages
  • Pain, suffering, loss of amenity
  • Loss of earnings
  • Past loss of earnings
  • Future loss of earnings
  • Loss of congenial employment
  • Pension loss
  • More...

Damages in clinical negligence claims

NOTE: On 15 July 2019, at the conclusion of the first review of the discount rate, the Lord Chancellor announced that the discount rate would change to minus 0.25%. The minus 0.25% discount rate came into effect on 5 August 2019. Schedule A1 of the Damages Act 1996 provides that subsequent reviews are to take place within five years of the conclusion of the previous review which means that the next review must commence on or before 15 July 2024.


This Practice Note addresses heads of damage commonly claimed in clinical negligence litigation. However, it does not cover Fatal Accidents Act 1976 or Law Reform (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1934 claims.

Causation—don’t forget it

Causation is essential in any personal injury claim but presents particular challenges in clinical negligence matters. It is likely that the claimant had health concerns prior to the negligence, hence seeking treatment in the first place.

When assessing damages, it will not always be as straightforward as attributing all of the claimant’s ongoing medical problems to the alleged negligence. You must ascertain the actual damage caused by the defendant’s negligence.

Bear in mind that even if pre-existing problems would have occurred or continued in any event, it is possible that they have been accelerated or exacerbated by the negligence.

Also remember that no medical treatment carries a guarantee of complete recovery. Furthermore, sometimes

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