Australia's health care system is the envy of many countries worldwide.
The 2016 Legatum Prosperity Index ranked our nation as being the eighth best in the world across three key categories: health infrastructure, basic mental and physical health, and preventative care.
No health system is infallible, however, and mistakes still occur in even the world's leading hospitals. The Civil Liability Act 2002 exists in NSW to offer victims of medical negligence the chance to win damages for any injuries they've suffered when the care they receive falls well below industry standards.
Medical negligence claims are notoriously difficult to prove, but successful cases can result in damages worth millions of dollars. So how much do NSW public hospitals pay out in compensation?
What do the stats say?
Last year, the Daily Telegraph published medical negligence figures from across NSW's public hospitals that were obtained through a freedom of information request.
The data showed plaintiffs have won more than $262 million between 2011 and 2016, with some claims settled for up to $10 million each. Nevertheless, the average compensation payout was $127,803, including legal costs, over the five-year period.
Newcastle John Hunter Hospital holds the dubious honour of losing the most money through medical negligence claims. The courts have ordered it to pay $31 million to injured parties since 2011.
Maitland District Hospital ranked second, but was only sued for a third of the amount of compensation at $12 million. Dubbo Base and Wollongong came third and fourth, respectively, with totals of $10 million and $9 million.
The figures indicated that while the number of cases remained relatively steady between 2011 and 2015, the average payout has slumped from $179,331 to $43,585.
How do I pursue a claim?
As mentioned, medical negligence claims are often complex due to the nature of the profession, which is why it's crucial for claimants to enlist the services of a lawyer that specialises in this type of personal injury case.
Most people take about two years from when the incident occurred to open a claim against a hospital, according to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. Cases also take between three to four years, on average, to resolve.
Plaintiffs must therefore prepare themselves for a potentially lengthy dispute, but Gerard Malouf & Partners Compensation, Medical Negligence & Will Dispute Lawyers can be with you every step of the way.
Our no-win, no-fee service will also ensure that you don't have to pay any upfront charges in order to pursue your medical negligence claim, so please get in touch today to learn more.