Should I pursue my medical negligence claim?

Published 16 Nov 2017

Medical negligence can have a significant impact on the lives of you and your loved ones. Many people experience serious injuries or illnesses as a result of botched treatments, which can have a permanent effect on their quality of life.

If you believe you've been the victim of negligence, you will no doubt feel you deserve compensation for the problems you've suffered following medical care. Unfortunately, not all claims are viable due to restrictions in the Civil Liability Act 2002 (NSW).

You should therefore contact an experienced medical negligence lawyer to discuss your case in detail, but let's take a closer look at the Act to see why a claim may not be feasible.

Understanding economic and non-economic losses

Successful medical negligence claims typically result in compensation for both economic and non-economic losses.

The former relates to medical bills, lost income and superannuation, as well as the cost of home modifications and other aids. Non-economic losses refer to less tangible expenses, such as pain and suffering, disfigurement and reduced life expectancy.

Claimants are only entitled to non-economic losses if they meet a 15 per cent threshold of the most extreme case.

The Act doesn't provide specific diagnoses, but quadriplegia, extensive third-degree burns and combined deafness and blindness are often used as rough guidelines for the severest types of injuries.

In other words, if your injuries aren't at least 15 per cent as serious as the above examples, you may not be entitled to non-economic losses.

What does this mean for my claim?

Non-economic losses can comprise a significant percentage of medical negligence compensation. The current maximum payout is $605,000, according to the Civil Liability (Non-economic Loss) Amendment Order 2016.

Proceeding with your claim might not be financially viable if your injuries do not meet the 15 per cent limit due to the costs incurred when taking your case to court.

Even if you do meet the 15 per cent requirement, the damages you receive would be 1 per cent of the maximum payout, which is $6,050. Section 16 of the Act provides a full list of damages available for non-economic losses.

This means medical negligence claims may only be worthwhile if your injuries warrant enough compensation to adequately cover the time and money spent pursuing your case.

However, don't hesitate to seek expert advice from Gerard Malouf & Partners Compensation, Medical Negligence & Will Dispute Lawyers. We can help to assess your injuries and begin proceedings to ensure you receive the right compensation.