Medical negligence and clinical negligence.

Two terms that are often used interchangeably – particularly by law firms – to mean, essentially, the same thing. When a medical or healthcare professional delivers a substandard level of care or treatment, and as a result, causes physical or psychological harm.

The trouble is, for the claimant, this ‘dual’ phrasing can lead to a lot of confusion.

If you’ve been affected and are considering making a claim, do you need to get in touch with a medical negligence solicitor? Or one that specialises in clinical negligence instead?

Is there really any difference between the two?

Here we clear up the ambiguity to help point you in the right direction.

Medical negligence vs clinical negligence

Historically, ‘medical negligence’ was the only term used within the legal landscape.

However, due to the implications of the word ‘medical’, many solicitors believed it gave the wrong impression – that a claim could only be made against a doctor, or when negligence occurred in a medical setting, such as a hospital or GP surgery.

Of course, it isn’t just doctors who have a duty of care. To protect your safety and wellbeing, everyone who works in a health and social care capacity must adhere to strict standards. And if those standards slip, and you’ve suffered as a result, you can still hold them accountable.

Negligence claims can be made against (amongst others):

  • nurses
  • midwives
  • clinicians and specialists
  • physiotherapists
  • radiographers
  • pharmacists
  • osteopaths
  • mental health professionals (e.g. psychologists)
  • opticians
  • dentists
  • care workers

The list goes on. Which is why, the term ‘clinical negligence’ was later introduced – to illustrate that negligence can occur and mistakes can be made by all sorts of professionals, across the entire healthcare sector. And if you’ve been harmed or injured, in any way or in any healthcare setting, you’re always entitled to take legal action.

So what does that mean for you, as the claimant?

Fundamentally, there is zero difference between medical and clinical negligence.

You may find that certain law firms prefer one phrase over the other. Others may use the two phrases interchangeably. But it doesn’t really matter. From a practical point of view, the claims process is exactly the same. There isn’t a distinction that you need to know about, and you can seek the help of either a medical negligence solicitor or a clinical negligence solicitor.

You may also notice that there are some more specialised areas – such as ‘hospital negligence’, which relates to acts of negligence that occur specifically within a hospital setting. But again, these all fall under the same umbrella phrasing of medical and clinical negligence. And any negligence solicitor can help with legal proceedings.

Negligence solicitors at St Helens Law

It doesn’t matter who delivered the substandard treatment or care – whether that be a doctor, nurse, healthcare professional, dentist, optician etc. It doesn’t matter where the negligent act occurred. Or the nature and severity of the professional’s mistake.

If your condition worsened, or you incurred an avoidable injury or illness due to that mistake, you could be entitled to compensation – and we can help.

Call it a medical negligence claim. Call it a clinical negligence claim. It’s irrelevant to us, here at St Helens Law. Thanks to our dedicated negligence department, we have the expertise and experience to assist with all cases. And we approach all claims in exactly the same way. 

Following a free initial consultation, we’ll assess your eligibility to make a claim and advise on your chances of success. If you then wish to proceed with legal action, our solicitors will oversee the entire process on your behalf – from gathering factual evidence to calculating a fair level of compensation and negotiating with the defendant.

Over the years, we have successfully litigated a diverse range of medical and clinical negligence claims – ensuring our clients get the justice and compensation they deserve, whilst also supporting their rehabilitation. And we could do the same for you, on a completely no win no fee basis.

So, why not get in touch?

To arrange your complimentary consultation, simply fill out the online form on this page and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible with a time and date. Or to find out more about medical and clinical negligence claims – and how our solicitors could help – you’re welcome to contact us at any time. Either call us on 01744 742360 or send an email to