Nobody likes being in hospital for any reason, but a hospital is a place where you’re supposed to feel safe. Unfortunately, that isn’t necessarily always the case – sometimes individuals can become injured or ill because of their visit to a hospital, or in the care of another medical professional, such as your general practitioner.
This illness or injury may have a significant impact on your life – so much so that you may consider suing the hospital or individual medical practitioner for medical negligence. This can be a daunting process – but the right lawyers and advice can help. Here’s what you need to know.
What is Medical Negligence?
Simply put, medical negligence is a circumstance wherein a medical professional (or medical institution) breaches their duty of care to a patient. There are a set of Common Law Principles that are involved in medical negligence law, these are based on written case law and are assessed by medical negligence lawyers to establish if there is negligence present in the medical negligence claim and whether or not it has enough merit to proceed. They are as follows:
● The doctor owed the patient a duty of care.
● By an action or omission, the doctor breached that duty of care.
● That action or omission caused the patient physical and/or financial harm.
What is a Duty of Care?
A duty of care is a principle in the medical field that doctors, by the very nature of their profession, owe their patients a particular standard of care that is conducive with the patient’s recovery from an illness or injury. Duty of care also encompasses the idea that a doctor must take reasonable actions that are unlikely to cause further harm to a patient.
This duty of care is usually taken incredibly seriously by medical professionals and if a medical professional is negligent in performing their duty of care, they may be liable for civil action or medical negligence compensation.
How Can You Tell If You Have Been the Victim of Medical Negligence?
Instances of medical negligence are thankfully rare, but they do happen. If you think that you may have been the victim of medical negligence, then it is critical that you reach out to one of our medical negligence lawyers at AJB Stevens as soon as possible after you believe the negligence has occurred. Your ability to distinguish whether or not you have been harmed due to medical negligence is an incredibly complicated process – that’s why you need to let us handle that part of it and you need to focus on getting better.
However, you may have been the victim of medical negligence in the following cases:
● If you started to feel ill following a doctor administering medication.
● Your prescription was incorrectly ordered or incorrectly filled out, causing a negative health event.
● Your health deteriorated following an elongated wait by your doctor(s) to determine a cause or by their failure to investigate the cause.
● Your doctor misdiagnosed your medical problem, causing it to be missed and causing you further pain or discomfort and eventually a further trip to hospital.
As you can see, there are probably too many instances to list where you might have been the victim of medical malpractice. That’s why it is critical to allow medical negligence lawyers to review your medical negligence claim to see if it has any merit. If so, then we can proceed with the claim. But what can you claim as part of the lawsuit?
What Can You Claim In A Medical Negligence Lawsuit?
Medical negligence lawsuits are fraught with complicating factors, but there are some things that you can claim in the lawsuit that you could be entitled to compensation for.
● Additional Medical Expenses – If you had to pay out-of-pocket for additional medical treatments that would otherwise not have been necessary, were it not for the negligence of the medical professional/institution whom you are suing.
● Loss of Income – If you were unable to work and generate an income due to the medical condition brought about by medical negligence, then you could be entitled to recoup some (or all) of that income as part of the suit.
● Rehabilitation Costs – If you were injured as a result of medical negligence and incurred significant rehabilitation costs as a result of this injury, whether physical or otherwise, you could be entitled to recouping those costs as well.
● Pain & Suffering – This is a subjective figure, however, you could be entitled to a “pain and suffering” sum as a result of medical negligence.
● Loss of Life Enjoyment – This is another trickier part of any medical negligence lawsuit, but if we can prove that the negligence has contributed significantly to a loss of life enjoyment, then that can also be a part of any lawsuit.
● Home Care and Assistance – If your medical injury has resulted in an inability for you to perform simple tasks at home, whether permanently or not, we could sue for those costs that you’ve had to incur as well.
It’s important to note that each claim is different, so it’s imperative that you seek expert legal advice before proceeding with your claim.
How Can Lawyers Help You Prepare Your Case?
Our lawyers at AJB Stevens will help you prepare your case by taking the following steps:
● We will obtain all of the clinical notes from the doctors or hospitals concerning your treatment.
● We will seek the opinion of a clinical medical specialist to view the clinical notes and prepare a medico-legal liability report, to ascertain whether or not the hospital owed you a duty of care.
● If the specialists’ report supports the notion that duty of care was breached and medical negligence took place, then we will gather evidence to support this claim.
● We will then engage with the hospital’s insurance company(ies) to see if they are willing to reach a settlement.
● If a settlement cannot be reached, then we will begin the formal legal proceedings of the lawsuit by filing court documents.
It should be noted that there is a three year time limit on all medical negligence cases in New South Wales – that is, if you think you have been the victim of medical negligence, you have three years to bring the lawsuit against the relevant party.
How Can We Help?
At AJB Stevens, we know that medical negligence lawsuits can be daunting, that’s why we’re here to help you. If you think that you may have been the victim of medical negligence in Sydney, please don’t wait to get in contact with us. We have the expertise to help you through the process and see, if you’re entitled to anything, that we do our best to make sure you get it.
Contact us today to help start the process of filing for medical negligence.