Can I sue my doctor for giving me poor or inadequate advice?

PUBLISHED 15 Apr 2020

If you live in New South Wales and have suffered harm because of the advice given by a physician, you may be wondering whether this counts as medical negligence. In these cases, the conduct that caused the damage was simply spoken or written instructions rather than a physical procedure. Is that an actionable issue, and can you sue to recoup damages?

According to the law, advice from your physician does count as “health care.” That means when your health is negatively impacted by incomplete or incorrect instructions from your doctor, you may be able to receive a settlement. To do this, you will have to prove negligence just as you would for any other medical malpractice case.

What does it take to prove medical advice was negligent?

As a parliamentary report on medical negligence made clear, physicians are held to the standards of their profession. When negligence cases go to trial, it is up to the court to determine whether the care given was out of line with the expectations and norms of health care. This does not just apply to physical procedures carried out by doctors, but also matters such as warnings about risk.

To determine whether a doctor was legally negligent in their care, you have to check whether their actions meet standards. For instance, the risk involved in their treatment of you must have been foreseeable and not insignificant, and a “reasonable person” would not have taken the same action.

The damage to your health and earning capacity as a result of the doctor’s advice will determine the type of damages you may win in court. Non-economic losses are capped at $350,000 and nothing is awarded unless the severity of the issue is at least 15% of the most severe cases. Loss-of-earnings awards are three times the average weekly wage amount. Future earnings loss is at the discretion of the court and discounted by 5%.

How do you proceed with a medical negligence case?

If you suffered from such demonstrably negligent care within the past three years, you may be eligible to bring a legal case. The statute of limitations is longer for cases such as gross negligence. In any case, you should have an experienced solicitor on your side to get your case settled in your favour.

Therefore, the next step is to consult with a lawyer skilled in medical negligence claims and see whether your situation qualifies and take the next steps toward pursuing the claim. Contact Gerard Malouf & Partners Compensation Lawyers today and determine your best course of action.

Call us now on 1800 004 878 to book a free appointment with one of my compensation experts, or email your enquiry.