In the early 2000s, the New South Wales (NSW) Parliament introduced a number of reforms to clarify the laws around medical negligence.
According to the NSW Parliamentary Library Research Service, in order for medical negligence claims to be successful, they must demonstrate three key things: the defendant (e.g. the medical practitioner or hospital) owed a duty of care to the injured party, they were remiss in that duty of care, and “material damage” has been caused as a result.
How large a sum the injured party is entitled to will be determined by taking a number of factors into consideration.
The NSW Parliament states that damages are calculated “on the basis of loss, both economic and non-economic”. These damages fall into a range of categories, including general damages, loss of past and future earnings, and any out-of-pocket expenses that were incurred as a result of the medical negligence.
In February 2001, the NSW Government announced it would be launching a “rescue package” to “alleviate the pressures associated with the medical indemnity insurance crisis” the state was facing at the time.
This resulted in a number of changes being made to the laws around medical negligence. For example, damages payable for loss of future earnings were capped to a weekly maximum, and “compulsory mediation and specialist lists” were introduced for medical negligence cases so they could be handled by judges with “relevant expertise”.
A few months later, the Health Care Liability Act 2001 was revealed in NSW Parliament. This focused on five main areas:
– Making access to “fair and sustainable compensation” easier for people who suffer injuries as a result of medical negligence.
– Limiting the amount of compensation payable for non-economic loss in cases where the third party receives only minor injuries. Anyone who is permanently impaired or disabled because of medical negligence, however, should always receive “full compensation”.
– Promoting “the reasonable distribution” of compensation costs “across the medical indemnity industry”.
– Facilitating the improvement of risk management across the health care sector.
– Ensuring the health care sector and wider community are aware of the rules and regulations surrounding personal injury claims of this nature.
In order to make sure you’re up to date with medical negligence laws in New South Wales, get in touch with Gerard Malouf Partners today.