Unfortunately, in the health care profession, errors in judgement and mistakes happen causing personal injury and loss.
Medical malpractice is also referred to as medical negligence and applies to conduct by a health care professional or facility that falls below the standard of practice accepted within the community.
In such cases, where a patient suffers injury or loss that could have been prevented had the requisite standard been applied, the injured person will be entitled to recover compensation to assist in recovering the loss sustained.
Of course, no amount of money can truly compensate a person when they have been deprived, in some way, of their health and well-being. However, from a practical perspective monetary compensation is the only way the law can offer a fair outcome.
Establishing a medical negligence case
To prove medical negligence, the following elements must be established:
- The medical provider owed a duty to take reasonable care, to the patient.A duty of care arises where there is an obligation to care for a person in circumstances where injury could occur as a result of a person’s conduct. The doctor / patient relationship is a recognised category for which a duty of care exists.
- The medical provider was negligent and breached the duty of care owed to the patient.It must be shown that the medical provider failed to do what a reasonable person practising in the same field would have done. It may be difficult to prove negligence if a doctor has complied with a generally-accepted standard within a particular area of expertise, or with the standard of a reasonable person practising in the same specialty.The alleged negligent conduct is assessed at the time of the incident and the medical authority available. A Court will be guided by expert medical evidence however will not tolerate conduct that, although readily accepted, is irrational.
- The negligence caused the harm suffered by the patient.The harm caused must be directly connected to the medical provider’s negligence and not too remote. This is sometimes difficult to show in medical negligence claims as often the patient has a pre-existing health concern. The starting point is, but for the negligence, would the injury or harm have been suffered? In some cases, this will require an assessment of the patient’s likely prospects for recovery or the likely outcome after treatment, had the negligence not occurred.
Types of medical negligence claims
For information on some common types of medical negligence claims refer to our pages on:
- Medical Misdiagnosis
- Obstetrics, Gynaecology & Paediatrics
- Surgery & Emergency Treatment
- Cosmetic Surgery
- Dental Injuries
Failure to warn cases
A further type of medical negligence claim concerns a health care professional’s ‘failure to warn’ prior to a patient undergoing a medical procedure.
Patients should receive full disclosure of the associated risks before undergoing treatment. If a patient suffers injury in circumstances where the treatment provider failed to adequately warn of the particular risks involved, then he or she may be entitled to claim compensation for medical negligence. The patient will generally need to prove that he or she would not have consented to the procedure had the risks been properly explained.
Pursuing a medical negligence claim is particularly complex and requires the guidance of a specialist lawyer. Our compensation team have delivered excellent outcomes for clients who have suffered loss due to the negligence of a health care provider.
What can be compensated?
Compensation is supposed to put a person back in the same position as he or she would have been, but for the negligence. Of course, this is practically impossible, thus the law provides for financial compensation as a means of assisting the claimant in recovering the loss.
Settlement or an award from Court proceedings for a medical negligence claim may include amounts for any one or more of the following categories of loss:
- pain and suffering;
- loss of past and future earnings;
- past and future medical treatment expenses;
- costs for past and future care provided on a commercial or gratuitous basis.
Who pays the medical negligence compensation?
Generally, the insurance company of the medical professional at fault will pay the compensation. This is called professional indemnity insurance. You do not have to worry about finding the details of the insurance company yourself. We have the resources to find these important details.
Are there any time limits to making a medical negligence claim for compensation?
Time limits apply when making a medical negligence claim and we will need to build as strong a case as possible to help obtain maximum compensation for your loss. Time limits also differ from state to state. We recommend you contact us without delay and we will ensure deadlines aren’t missed.
How much will it cost to make a medical negligence claim for compensation?
We offer a No Win, No Fee* arrangement for medical negligence claims because we believe anyone with a claim deserves access to legal representation, no matter their financial circumstances.
This means you don’t have to pay our legal fees unless your claim is successful. Legal costs will depend on the amount of work required to resolve your claim.
For more information on our No Win, No Fee* guarantee, contact our expert lawyers for a confidential and obligation-free consultation.