How do I prove medical negligence?
Below are common examples of medical negligence:
- Failure to provide preventative or proactive treatment to avoid a worsening condition
- Delays in investigating, diagnosing or treating a medical condition
- Failure to provide an appropriate referral to a specialist or other professionals
- Failure to convey test results to allow for treatment of a condition or injury
- An incorrect reporting of a test, investigation or result
- Any surgical error
- Failure to advise or warn about the risks of a procedure or advise about the availability of an alternative treatment
- Birth trauma or a birth injury claim
- A dependency or nervous shock claim made by family or dependants of a patient who has died due to medical malpractice.
If negligence, causation and loss can be established, the types of damages that may be claimed include: non-economic loss (pain, suffering and loss of amenity of life), economic loss, out of pocket expenses, treatment expenses and provision of personal care or domestic services.
Medical and healthcare providers must obtain informed consent of a patient before providing medical treatment, meaning the patient understands the nature and extent of the treatment, including any related risks. All adults with capacity have the right to refuse medical treatment, even if that treatment is lifesaving.
How successful are medical negligence claims?
In order for a medical negligence claim to be successful, it must be shown that a practitioner has acted or administered their services in a way that would not be considered competent or professional. As a patient, your medical practitioners have a duty of care.
When this duty of care has been breached and the result is pain, injury or loss as a result of that breach, then you may have a successful claim for compensation against that practitioner.
What can I claim compensation for?
The compensation you claim for may include the pain and suffering which you have endured, medical costs resulting from additional treatment required after your procedure, loss of your income if you were not able to work after the procedure and additional travel and home care expenses which have resulted from the event or procedure you have undergone. Your lawyer can help you formulate a full account of your expenses, and identify which will qualify as part of your compensation case.
How long do I have to make a claim?
There is a three-year time limit for pursuing a medical negligence claim. After this period, your right to make a claim expires (although extensions can sometimes be granted by the court in limited circumstances).
What’s involved in the investigation?
Medical negligence claims are generally very complex and often require a six to 12-month investigation period to obtain evidence to support the claim before filing it in court. This investigation stage involves getting your medical records, taking a statement, obtaining an expert opinion from specialist doctors and providing you with advice on whether you have a viable claim.
It is helpful to keep records of your medical appointments/investigations/surgeries and ongoing costs or losses, including receipts for all out-of-pocket expenses, any time off work and any help you may have needed at home.
Our team at Gordon Legal draws on the assistance of medical experts who can help review your case and provide independent analysis, which will help to strengthen your claim.
Will I have to go to court?
It is quite common for these types of medical compensation claims to be settled outside of court.
We will usually negotiate directly with a medical insurer for a lump sum payout which covers your costs and damages. This way, there is no appearance before a judge and your lawyer is able to arrange the terms of your settlement either on your behalf, or by advising you.
If your claim does go to court, it can take between 18 months to three or more years to be finalised, depending on the complexity of the claim and whether the injuries have stabilised enough to be assessed.
Our expert lawyers will run your claim as quickly as possible, including making all reasonable attempts to resolve your case out of court in a timely manner where possible.