Medical Negligence Claims

What are medical negligence claims?

Medical negligence claims occur when a doctor, surgeon, nurse or other healthcare professional fails in their duty of care to their patients. When treatment falls below the acceptable standard there may be grounds for compensation.

What is medical malpractice?

Medical malpractice is when negligence on behalf of a medical professional results in harm to a patient. That could be an injury or a worsening of an existing condition.

What are common examples of medical negligence?

Medical negligence covers a huge range of conditions, treatments and areas of practice. But some common examples of situations involving medical negligence include:

  • General Practitioner and doctor negligence
  • Hospital negligence
  • Negligence in nursing
  • Nursing home negligence
  • Dental malpractice
  • Medication errors (wrong drugs, incorrect dosage)
  • Incorrectly performed operation or other procedure
  • Misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose
  • Failure to inform (or a delay in informing) about test results or similar key information
  • Failure to warn about side effects or risks
  • Obstetric malpractice, negligence and mistakes
  • Cosmetic and plastic surgery malpractice

Do I have a case for medical negligence compensation?

If you have been injured or an existing condition has got worse following a medical procedure, or even just a visit to the doctor, then you may have been the victim of medical negligence.

If you can first show that you have suffered harm, and secondly, that a medical professional failed in their duty of care towards you then you may be entitled to compensation.

However both elements are required for a successful legal case. If a medical professional has been negligent, but it didn’t result in some harm to you, then you wouldn’t have grounds for legal action. The same would be true if you were injured or your condition got worse, but it was not as a result of medical negligence.

We encourage anyone who believes they have been the victim of medical negligence or medical malpractice to get expert legal advice. At Gerard Malouf & Partners, we offer free consultations to help assess your potential claim.

Why do I need a medical negligence lawyer?

Medical negligence and medical malpractice cases are highly complex. To successfully bring a claim and win compensation you need expert legal advice and the support of an experienced team of specialist lawyers.

At Gerard Malouf & Partners, we have a proven track record of getting positive outcomes for our clients. We currently have more than 800 medical negligence matters either ready to be lodged or awaiting a decision in the courts.

This is how our process works:

  • First we will meet with you to discuss the details of your case and have you record a statement about what happened
  • Next we will design a brief to send to a medical expert, specifying some of the details of your case
  • We request your full medical history. This is to prepare an accurate chronology of the event that led to the injury or worsening of your condition
  • We consult again with you to fill in any gaps within this chronology and revisit your original statement
  • Then we combine all this with the medical expert’s information to start proceedings
  • Finally, we manage your case until either mediation is agreed between the two parties or it progresses to court proceedings

How much compensation could I get?

Medical negligence and medical malpractice cases vary enormously. You should be very wary of anyone promising a particular sum as a payout. Damages in the form of financial compensation will always depend on the particular circumstances of your case.

However, damages can be broken down into the following four categories:

  1. Cost of treating the immediate physical or psychological injury
  2. Ongoing medical costs, such as domestic care to recuperate from long-term injuries
  3. Non-economic (pain and loss) damages for psychological or emotional distress
  4. Loss of earnings or superannuation if the incident leaves you unable to work

In all cases, the negligence and the harm suffered need to be linked to the loss. So, for example, if you have been unable to work for an extended period, you need to be able to prove that it was because of the injury or worsening of your condition, which in turn was a result of negligence.

If you haven’t worked since the incident in question, but you can’t prove it was because of the harm you suffered, then this would affect the damages you could claim.

It is also worth noting that it may be possible to claim compensation if a close family member is harmed as a result of medical negligence. This could include the cost of caring for that person or your own nervous shock as a result of the incident.

How long do cases take to resolve?

The length of time required to resolve a case will depend on a number factors. Chief among them are the complexities of your particular case and how it is ultimately resolved.

Typically though – based on wealth of experience fighting and winning medical malpractice cases – it will take between 12 and 24 months.

Cases that are resolved through mediation tend to be a lot quicker. The opposite is true of cases that go to the Supreme Court, where the likely time frame from your first meeting with us to reaching a conclusion extends to 36 months.

How long do I have to bring a case?

Usually medical negligence claims need to be filed within three years of an incident taking place.

However, there are exceptions and this is an area where expert legal advice can make a huge difference. We recommend that anyone who believes they have been the victim of medical negligence take advantage of our free consultation to find out if they have a claim.

Who pays compensation in medical malpractice cases?

Medical professionals take our insurance to cover themselves against the risk of legal action. For example, if a doctor had a medical indemnity policy they could use it to pay their legal costs and any damages that occurred as a result of a medical malpractice claim.

It is therefore most likely that you would be claiming damages from an insurance company rather than a medical professional directly.

Insurance policies of this nature would either be held by the practitioner themselves, or handled by the hospital or medical practice that employs them.

In 2002, the Australian government was forced to step in after a series of cases with large payouts led to a sharp rise in medical indemnity insurance premiums. There was concern that medical professionals in high-risk disciplines might be forced out of the profession.

As a result, premiums for some medical indemnity policies are now subsidised by the Australian taxpayer.

For free over-the-phone advice or to take advantage of our free face-to-face consultation call our expert public liability lawyers team today on our Free Call Number 1800 004 878.

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