Medical negligence is a complex area of law and a negligence claim requires the guidance of a specialist lawyer. If you have suffered loss due to the negligence of a health care provider you may be entitled to seek compensation.
Health care providers owe a duty of care to their patients. In circumstances where you have consulted a treatment provider and experienced injury or further harm due to the provider’s negligence, it is fair and just that you should receive compensation.
A medical negligence claim may be against one or more health care providers including a general practitioner, treating specialist, public or private hospital.
Compensation claims for misdiagnosis of an illness or injury make up a large portion of medical negligence claims. Our lawyers have the necessary expertise in this area of law and will advise and assist you in making your claim.
Negligence is a legal concept and certain elements must be established. Generally, you must show that:
- a duty of care was owed to you;
- the health care provider was negligent and therefore breached that duty of care;
- the injury, illness or harm suffered was directly caused by the negligence.
The first of these elements is usually not problematic as it is recognised that a health care provider has a duty to exercise reasonable care and skill towards his or her patient.
The second and third elements are more complex as they must be considered in light of a range of factors and possible defences available to the health care provider.
Our lawyers have significant experience in this area of law and will assist you in building a case to establish negligence so compensation can be awarded.
Medical misdiagnosis will not always lead to a finding of negligence. Evidence needs to prove that the same error would not have been made by a medical provider with the same training, and the loss suffered by the patient must be caused by the misdiagnosis.
Failure to diagnose or misdiagnosis
Medical misdiagnosis can have devastating consequences – physically, psychologically and financially. A medical negligence claim may be made against a heath care provider who fails to diagnose, delays a diagnosis, or misdiagnoses an illness or injury.
Medical misdiagnosis that leads to inappropriate, delayed treatment or no treatment at all may result in a patient sustaining injury or a condition worse than what might have occurred had the illness been correctly identified or identified sooner.
Common claims concerning misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis are for progressive diseases such as cancer, particularly if the diagnosis would likely have been apparent upon a routine examination. The more routine the examination (based on the standard expected of other professionals), the more likely that a claim for negligence might be successful.
The pre-existence of the illness or condition must also be considered in light of the likely outcome had the condition been diagnosed earlier. A comparison must be made of the patient’s prognosis for recovery if treatment was available for a particular disease that was discovered sooner rather than later. The evidence required to determine these matters will be in the form of medical expert reports and opinions.
A claim for medical negligence based on a failure to diagnose or medical misdiagnosis may occur where a patient suffers injury or loss, or further injury or loss in the following circumstances:
- failure of a medical provider to recognise symptoms and to refer a patient for certain tests based on the symptoms described;
- failure to recommend routine screening for at-risk patients;
- failure of a hospital emergency department to diagnose conditions, such as appendicitis, that require emergency surgery;
- the incorrect reading or misdiagnosis of radiology or MRI results;
- the incorrect reading of blood tests, lab results, biopsies;
- misdiagnosis of a type of cancer leading to inappropriate treatment;
- misdiagnosis of a condition or type of cancer leading to unnecessary treatment;
- failure to refer a patient to a specialist where the provider lacks the necessary expertise to treat the patient.
Medical practitioners and hospitals are often under pressure to give accurate diagnosis and treatment to their patients in tight timeframes. This however does not justify a loss suffered if it is established that a misdiagnosis is the result of negligence.
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 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 so you have access to legal representation, no matter your 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.