Medical negligence

If you have been injured by a health care professional or provider, we can help.

It is not unusual for patients to have difficulty identifying an injury caused by their medical or other health care provider. Particularly if their treatment has been complex and involved long periods of hospitalisation. Often what patients articulate is a “sense of wrongness” about their treatment.

If you believe that your medical treatment has compromised or significantly impacted the outcome that you expected, have suffered that “sense of wrongness” or believe that you have been injured by your health care provider, we can help.

Generally, health care in Australia is usually of a high standard, however, sometimes things go wrong. Failure to provide reasonable medical care to a patient is called medical negligence. It may be as a result of the conduct of a doctor, hospital or other health professional – this area of law can be complex and difficult to navigate, so if you believe you may have a claim you should contact one of our expert lawyers today on 1800 21 22 23.

Common types of medical negligence claims:

  • Failure to provide preventative or proactive treatment to avoid a worsening condition
  • Delays in investigating, diagnosing or treating a medical condition
  • Misdiagnosis
  • 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 and
  • A dependency or nervous shock claim made by family or dependants of a patient who has died due to medical malpractice.

Hospitals, doctors, nurses and allied health professionals owe their patients a duty to provide a reasonable standard of care when providing medical services. If they fail to provide this standard of care, and cause damage or loss to a patient as a result, they may be liable for this damage. 

In order to sue for damages, you need to demonstrate that you have suffered injury, loss or damage which was caused by the negligence of the hospital, doctor or other health care provider, not from the underlying disease, disorder or injury for which you were being treated. This can be a difficult question to determine and requires expert skill, knowledge and advice to investigate and prosecute.

What kind of compensation you may be entitled to:

  • Non-economic loss (pain, suffering and loss of enjoyment of life)
  • Out-of-pocket expenses you have incurred
  • A dependency claim for loss of financial support and services
  • Reasonable medical and treatment expenses
  • Past and future income loss (including superannuation)
  • Personal care and domestic assistance or
  • Any equipment or home modifications you might need now or in the future.

How much will it cost?

We can help you get the compensation you deserve on a no win, no fee basis.

That means you don’t have the added burden or stress of up-front legal fees. You simply focus on you and your family and leave the investigation, prosecution and resolution of your claim to us.

Call us on 1800 21 22 23 for a free initial discussion with one of our lawyers today.

What you need to know about medical negligence claims:

There are three main elements you need to prove to succeed in a medical negligence claim. These are breach, causation and damage:

  • Breach of duty: Your medical provider owes you a duty to exercise reasonable care, failure to do so may mean they are liable for any loss or damages that failure has caused.

  • Causation: Proving medical causation is often the most complex part of a medical negligence claim. You need to demonstrate that the failure to exercise reasonable care has caused the damage suffered. If for example no matter the negligent medical treatment your condition, disease or disorder would have deteriorated and resulted in the same course and outcome, then there is no injury, loss or damage caused by the negligence of the health care provider. This can be a very nuanced and complex question and one that requires experience, skill and knowledge to investigate.

  • Compensation for damages: If you can demonstrate injury, loss and damage has been caused by the negligence you are entitled to claim compensation for those losses.

Not all bad outcomes are due to medical negligence. Sometimes complications can occur, these are often referred to as risks of a procedure.

If you have suffered a bad outcome, ask your doctor for more information regarding why this poor outcome has occurred. An apology is not an admission of guilt, yet health professionals are often reluctant to apologise to patients. 


You should commence proceedings for damages within three years of the incident. After that three-year period your right to make a claim expires (extensions may be granted by the court in limited circumstances, but these can be difficult to obtain.)


Medical negligence claims are generally very complex and often require six to twelve months investigation period to obtain medical evidence to support the claim before filing it in court.

This investigation stage involves meeting with you, getting your medical records, taking a statement from you, obtaining an expert opinion from specialist doctors and reporting to you with our advice on whether you have a viable claim.

It is helpful to keep record of your medical appointments/investigations/surgeries and to keep record of your 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.


Once your claim is filed in 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 to allow you to move on with your life. This includes making all reasonable attempts to resolve your case out of court in a timely matter where possible.

If you think you may have a claim, contact one of our lawyers today on 1800 21 22 23.

Medical negligence experts

Paul Henderson

Paul is one of the most experienced and successful personal injury litigators in Australia, having obtained many millions of dollars in compensation for clients. Paul ran one of the largest medical negligence practices in Australia. He has been instrumental in building our firm and continues to mentor our lawyers and their cases to ensure our clients have the benefit of his decades of experience. 

Paul is also a Director for several companies, including the Western Bulldogs Community Foundation.

Sheri Carolan
Sheri Carolan
Principal Lawyer
Sheri Carolan
Principal Lawyer

Sheri is an Accredited Specialist in personal injury law, with particular expertise in medical negligence, civil liability and workers compensation claims. She has experience acting in complex claims for seriously injured people across various areas of personal injury law. Sheri brings a strong understanding of regional NSW, hailing from Dubbo where she remains an active member of the community. She has won a number of professional awards, including the NSW Young Business Executive of the Year in 2017.

Jenny Forti
Jenny Forti
Principal Lawyer
Jenny Forti
Principal Lawyer

Jenny is an accredited specialist in personal injury law. She is dedicated to representing injured people in their fight to access compensation.

Jenny is committed to upholding the values of the union movement and applies her legal skills to the wider community through her role as a volunteer lawyer at West Justice.

In December 2018, Jenny was appointed to the Western Health Foundation Board. She is a passionate supporter of the mighty Western Bulldogs.

Anastasia Eleftheriou
Anastasia Eleftheriou
Principal Lawyer
Anastasia Eleftheriou
Principal Lawyer

Anastasia is an accredited specialist in personal injury law. She has 10 years’ experience in Workers’ Compensation fighting for the rights of injured workers against large companies and insurers. She has also acted for people injured in motor vehicle accidents as well as in public and private premises.
Anastasia has served as a committee member of the Victorian Branch for the Australian Lawyers Alliance.

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