If you believe you have been the victim of medical negligence, this comprehensive guide provides everything you need to know, including what it is, how to prove it, and what to do to get the compensation you deserve.
What is medical negligence?
Medical negligence, also known as medical malpractice, occurs when a healthcare professional deviates from the accepted standard of care and this deviation causes harm to a patient. The accepted standard of care is the level of care that a reasonably competent healthcare professional would provide in the same or similar circumstances.
Examples of medical negligence
- Failure to diagnose a condition
- Delay in diagnosis
- Failure to order or interpret tests correctly
- Prescribing the wrong medication or dosage
- Surgical errors
- Anesthesia errors
- Childbirth injuries
- Post-operative care errors
How to prove medical negligence
To prove medical negligence, you must establish the following four elements:
- Duty of care: The healthcare professional owed you a duty of care. This means that they had a legal responsibility to provide you with reasonable care and attention.
- Breach of duty: The healthcare professionals breached their duty of care. This means that they failed to provide you with the level of care that a reasonably competent healthcare professional would have provided in the same or similar circumstances.
- Causation: The healthcare professional’s breach of duty caused you harm. This means that you would not have been harmed if the healthcare professional had not breached their duty of care.
- Damages: You suffered damages as a result of the healthcare professional’s breach of duty. Damages can include medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and loss of enjoyment of life.
What to do if you think you may have been a victim of medical negligence
If you think you may have been a victim of medical negligence, the first thing you should do is to consult a medical negligence lawyer. A medical negligence lawyer can assess your case and advise you on whether you have a valid claim.
If you decide to proceed with a medical negligence claim, your lawyer will help you to gather evidence to support your case. This may include medical records, expert medical opinions, and witness statements.
Once your lawyer has gathered all the relevant evidence, they will file a claim with the insurance company of the healthcare professional or hospital that you believe is responsible for your injuries. The insurance company will then investigate your claim and decide whether to settle or deny it.
If the insurance company denies your claim, your lawyer may file a lawsuit on your behalf. The lawsuit will be heard by a judge or jury, who will decide whether you are entitled to compensation.
How can I protect myself from medical negligence?
There are a few things you can do to protect yourself from medical negligence:
- Choose your healthcare providers carefully. Do your research and ask for recommendations from friends and family.
- Be an informed patient. Ask questions about your diagnosis, treatment options, and risks.
- Get everything in writing. Get a copy of your medical records and any other important documents related to your care.
- Be assertive. If you are unhappy with your care, speak up. You are entitled to ask for a second opinion or to switch providers.
Medical negligence lawyers in Sydney
If you are based in Sydney and you believe you may have been a victim of medical negligence, you should contact a medical negligence lawyer as soon as possible. Medical negligence lawyers can help you to assess your case, gather evidence, and file a claim for compensation.
How to find a good medical negligence lawyer
When choosing a medical negligence lawyer, it is essential to find someone who is experienced and has a good track record of success. You should also feel comfortable with your lawyer and feel confident that they will represent your interests in the best way possible.
Medical negligence compensation claims
If you are successful in your medical negligence claim, you may be awarded compensation for various losses, including:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Future medical expenses
- Future lost wages
The amount of compensation that you are awarded will depend on the severity of your injuries and the impact that they have had on your life.
Medical negligence can be a devastating experience for both patients and their families. If you believe that you may have been a victim of medical negligence, it is significant to seek legal advice as soon as possible. A medical negligence lawyer can help you to assess your case, gather evidence, and file a claim for compensation.
Questions and answers
Q: What is the difference between medical negligence and medical malpractice?
A: There is no difference between medical negligence and medical malpractice. The two terms are often used interchangeably.
Q: What are the time limits for filing a medical negligence claim in Sydney?
A: In New South Wales, the limitation period for filing a medical negligence claim is three years from the date of the injury or the date on which you became aware of the injury, whichever is later.
Q: What are the costs involved in filing a medical negligence claim?
A: Most medical negligence lawyers in Sydney work on a no win, no fee basis. This means that you will not pay any legal fees unless you are successful in your claim.
Q: What are the chances of success in a medical negligence claim?
A: The chances of success in a medical negligence claim vary depending on the specific circumstances of the case