Can I sue a nurse for negligence?

Published 05 Oct 2018

Our research indicates that around 25 per cent of all medical negligence cases involve poor services administered by a nurse. Although you may be eligible to receive compensation if you have experienced nursing negligence, there are a few things to keep in mind when going through the process.

Common types of nursing negligence

There's a variety of things that could go wrong in a hospital or clinic, and determining fault can be difficult and complex. However, here are some common issues that could be directly related to nursing negligence:

  • Not monitoring a patient appropriately.
  • Failure to contact a doctor if assistance is needed.
  • Medication administration mistakes, like wrong medication or dosage.
  • Routine procedure errors like starting an IV.
  • Documentation mistakes.
  • Failure to check that equipment is working properly.

If you have experienced one of these problems while undergoing medical treatment, you may be eligible for compensation.

Employer is usually sued, not the nurse

Remember that often in nursing negligence cases, the nurse will likely not be sued, and the fault will instead be put on his or her employer. This is usually a public or private hospital or clinic. If proceedings determine that compensation is due, the hospital or organisation's insurer would be responsible to pay.

Negligence after hospital visit

If a nurse discharges a patient prematurely, this could be a negligent offence, even though it may come to light from circumstances that arise outside of the facility, such as a worsening condition without having fully recovered while in the nurse's care. Additionally, if a nurse fails to provide assistance following a procedure, like support walking or a wheelchair, this could also mean that the nurse has failed in his or her obligation to the patient.

Doctors could also be involved in fault

If an attending doctor was in the room when a nursing error was made, the doctor could be held responsible before the nurse if he or she failed to sufficiently address the issue.

These issues can be complicated, in that fault is not always clear or the reasons for a worsening condition could be based on a variety of factors. For these reasons, it is important for you to seek legal assistance if you believe you are a victim of medical negligence, whether from a nurse or other medical professional.

For more information and a free consultation, contact our experienced lawyers at Gerard Malouf & Partners Compensation, Medical Negligence & Will Dispute Lawyers today.