What is ‘Medical Negligence’?
If you have suffered an injury as a result of medical treatment, this may be referred to as a ‘medical accident’, ‘adverse incident’, or ‘patient safety incident’. This does not mean that the treatment was necessarily ‘negligent’. Whilst better quality of care or safety measures could have prevented your injury, it may be that the incident itself could not have been avoided. The law only provides for you to recover compensation if it can be shown ‘on the balance of probability’ that your treatment was carried out negligently and that this directly caused your injury. In legal terms these tests are called ‘liability’ and ‘causation’. They are difficult criteria to fulfill and require expert opinion from relevant health professionals to establish whether your claim will succeed.
- Failing to diagnose your condition or making the wrong diagnosis
- Making a mistake during a procedure or operation
- Giving the wrong drug
- Failing to obtain consent to treatment
- Failing to warn about the risks of a particular treatment
What action can I take if I suspect I have been injured by negligent treatment?
The very least you should be able to expect is a full explanation of what has gone on, an apology where appropriate, and assurances that any problems that might affect other patients have been addressed. Sometimes this is achieved informally. The use of formal complaints procedures provide a useful way of eliciting further information which may also inform any decision as to what to do next. It may be that you are able to seek compensation by taking legal action if it appears there is medical negligence involved. However, the legal process is only concerned with establishing what compensation, if any, you should be entitled to.
Medical Negligence claims are often complex cases. For you to be successful in your legal claim there are two strands of the case, negligence and causation, and you must succeed in both:
Negligence: that the care you received fell below medically acceptable standards (note: care which is less than best practice may still be ‘acceptable’ in the legal definition and not ‘negligent’), and
Causation: The breach of duty or negligence of the clinician / medical attendant directly resulted in an injury to you.
As stated you must succeed on both. It is not enough that you succeed in proving that someone did something wrong when treating you. You must also prove you suffered an injury as a result of that incident.
As part of the initial investigations, we will require a supportive opinion from an independent medical expert on your case. They will base their opinion on:
- your medical records
- your statement about what has happened to you
- any other documents supporting your case
Without a supportive report from an independent expert, your case will not succeed.
Because of the complicated nature of these claims it may take some months to get an expert`s report and these can usually only be obtained after we have obtained your medical notes from the hospital. This process can also take some months. Often, it may be necessary to obtain reports from two or more experts, particularly where the claimant has suffered a number of complicated injuries. Therefore, it generally takes well in excess of a year before the necessary medical evidence is gathered.
Claims for Medical Negligence in the Republic of Ireland are not required to be submitted to the InjuriesBoard.ie (previously known as the Personal Injuries Assessment Board). It is important to bear in mind that the 2 year limitation period that applies in your particular case. This is a good reason for seeing a solicitor as soon as you think you may have a claim for compensation.</p> ">limitation period that applies in your particular case. This is a good reason for seeing a solicitor as soon as you think you may have a claim for compensation. will therefore be strictly applied and no suspension of that period will occur, as would occur if the Claim required submission to the InjuriesBoard.ie. Therefore, if you believe that you have suffered injury as a result of Medical Negligence it is important that you instruct a solicitor immediately.
In contentious business, a solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage or proportion of any award or settlement.
Arrange your no obligation consultation with us today.
Our experts can help you and advise you on your case.
Get in touch now.