Estimates regarding fatal medical negligence in Australia put the number of deaths at around 18,000 per year, with medical negligence leaving a further 50,000 people suffering from permanent injury during the same period.
Every doctor or medical professional has a certain duty of care to their patients. If they fail to act in a way any other practitioner would reasonably have acted, and their negligence results in a patient’s serious injury or death, medical negligence may be proven and the individual responsible will be obligated to compensate the victim or their family. In cases of gross negligence when a practitioner deliberately causes harm by action or non-action – especially if they do so for profit – the settlement may be larger and the guilty party may lose their license and potentially be subject to other penalties.
Medical negligence can include one or more of the following failures to abide by duty of care:
Strict time limits apply to bring a claim in medical negligence, and you will usually need to bring your claim within three years of the date when you first discovered your negligence-contingent injury (or that of a family member). Further exceptions may also be applicable, especially in regard to gross negligence, so advice from an experienced solicitor will be critical.
If you have been injured due to medical negligence, or an existing condition has got worse following a medical procedure or visit to the doctor, then you may have been the victim of medical negligence. You will need to be able to show that you have suffered demonstrable harm and prove the harm stemmed specifically from a medical professional failing in their duty of care to you. If you can prove both of these points, then you may be entitled to compensation.
If one or the other component is missing, you may find it hard to bring a successful legal case. For example, even if you can show that a medical professional has been negligent, if they didn’t cause harm, you typically cannot bring a claim. Likewise, if you suffered harm but cannot prove it was directly due to the medical practitioner’s negligence, you are similarly not likely to win a claim.
Not sure if you have a case for medical negligence? It’s best to consult with a lawyer who is skilled in pursuing medical negligence claims. Contact Gerard Malouf & Partners Compensation, Medical Negligence & Will Dispute Lawyers today.