Your guide to medical malpractice claims

Medical Malpractice Lawyer

Everyone has the right to expect care and professionalism from their healthcare provider. If you believe you have been injured by a medical professional, you may be entitled to claim compensation for your injuries.

 

What is medical malpractice?

All Australian medical professionals have a duty of care for their patients. If a medical professional fails to uphold this duty of care and causes reasonably foreseeable harm to their patient, they may be liable for ‘negligence’.

Medical malpractice is also known as ‘professional negligence’. However, ‘medical malpractice’ specifically refers to medical professionals who have committed acts of negligence.

It is not only doctors who may be liable for medical malpractice but also surgeons, nurses, dentists, physiotherapists, obstetricians or other medical professionals.

 

How is medical malpractice proven?

For a medical malpractice claim to be successful, it must be proven that the medical professional was negligent.

To be successful in a medical negligence claim you must be able to demonstrate that:

  1. The standard of care fell short of what would be reasonable to expect of a medical practitioner in the circumstances, and
  2. The failure to provide the expected standard of professional care caused you to suffer harm or loss. 

The assessment of causation is based on a ‘balance of probabilities' – meaning it is more likely than not that the wrong committed by the medical practitioner caused the harm or loss.

 

What are some common forms of medical malpractice?

Some common claims of medical malpractice include: 

  • Failing to diagnose a patient’s condition.
  • Symptoms being overlooked or dismissed.
  • Prescribing a patient, the wrong medication.
  • Failing to warn the patient about the risks associated with treatment.

Claims of medical malpractice will vary depending on the particular circumstances of the case and can take place many forms – it is important to seek legal advice if you may have been injured by a medical professional in any way. 

 

How do I sue a hospital in Australia for medical malpractice?

In Victoria, a legally competent adult must commence proceedings within three years from the date they became aware of the loss or harm they have suffered. For some circumstances, a longer period may apply, for instance, a person who is under 18 years of age or has a disability.

No claim can be brought 12 years or more after the injury occurred regardless of when the injury was first discovered. 

 

What does a medical malpractice lawyer do?

The importance of seeking legal advice

Seeking the advice of a medical malpractice lawyer is critical if you have been injured by a medical professional.

Medical malpractice cases are highly specialised areas of the law. Making a medical malpractice claim requires an expert lawyer with years of experience. If you potentially have a medical malpractice claim it is important to seek legal advice as soon as possible.

How a medical malpractice lawyer assists with your claim

Our team at Gordon Legal draws on years of experience and the assistance of medical experts who can help review your case and provide independent analysis, which will help to strengthen your claim.

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.

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 that covers your costs and damages. This way, there is no appearance before a judge and your lawyer can 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.

 

How much time will it take to get compensation on a medical malpractice claim?

The timeframe for receiving compensation will vary on a case-by-case basis, as the legal process will be influenced by your particular circumstances. It is best to speak with a lawyer who practices in medical malpractice claims regarding the time it may take for you to receive compensation.

The time it will take to receive compensation will depend on a range of factors, including the following:

  • The severity of your injury.
  • The length of time it takes for your injury to stabilise.
  • The complexity of your case.
  • The type of compensation sought and the governing compensation scheme

It is important to note that 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.

 

How do I find a medical malpractice lawyer?

Medical malpractice cases are highly specialised areas of the law. Making a medical malpractice claim requires an expert lawyer with years of experience. If you potentially have a medical malpractice claim it is important to seek legal advice as soon as possible.

 

How much will it cost to hire a medical malpractice lawyer?

Our Medical Negligence lawyers offer legal services in this area on a No Win No Fee basis and will provide you with a free initial consultation.

This means you don’t have the added burden or stress of upfront legal fees and can focus on yourself and your family. You can leave the investigation, prosecution and resolution of your claim to us.

 

What to do if this information applies to you

At Gordon Legal, we understand that medical malpractice is a personal issue.

For personalised and individual advice, we offer consultations to discuss your matter.

Please call Gordon Legal on (03) 9603 3000 or our Geelong office on (03) 5225 1600 to speak with a member of our team.

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