What is Medical Negligence Claim?
Medical negligence refers to a situation where a patient sustains a personal injury as a result of an error made by a medical practitioner/professional.
The medical practitioner or professional has a duty of care to the patient to ensure that all surgeries and assessments are carried out in a careful, safe and appropriate manner and where a diagnosis is involved, it should be accurate and correct.
Types of Medical Negligence Claims
Our medical negligence solicitor at Coleman Legal continuously educate themselves on all aspects of medical negligence, and no matter how unusual or rare your case is, we can give you sound advice and support to help you achieve the best possible outcome.
We are currently representing clients in relation to
Birth Injury Claim
Medical Negligence Claim
Other Types of Claim
Situations Where Medical Negligence Can Occur?
Medical negligence claims occur typically due to these common causes
- The medical practitioner – professional making an error during surgery.
- The medical practitioner – professional misdiagnosed a patient.
- The medical practitioner – professional failed to act promptly, overlooked an illness that could be treated or cured if detected earlier, or fails to address a medical need.
- The medical practitioner – professional administering substandard medical care – service.
- A medical practitioner – professional causing an injury, loss of quality of life, or death due to negligence in severe cases.
Medical practitioners - professionals from either the public or private sector can include
- Medical Consultants
- Plastic Surgeons
- Lab Technicians
Medical negligence can occur in a variety of locations such as
- Public and Private Hospitals
- Public and Private Maternity Hospitals
- Private Cosmetic Hospitals
- Dental Surgeries/Clinics
Medical negligence can typically arise in situations such as
- Delay in diagnosing a patient’s illness or injury
- Misdiagnosis of a patient’s illness or injury
- Misreading of test results or medical reports leading to
- Improper or inadequate medical care provided to the patient
- Substandard medical care provided to the patient
- Substandard hospital hygiene leading to contraction of infections or illnesses
- Inadequate presurgical care for the patient, e.g., the medical practitioner/professional failing to communicate the risks of the surgical procedure or inability to assess the patient’s suitability for the procedure
- Errors made in the prescription and dispensing of medicine for the patient
- Errors made in a surgical procedure
- Anaesthesia awareness (waking up during surgery) while under general anaesthetic
- Where foreign bodies and medical materials not correctly removed after a surgical procedure
Am I Eligible For a Medical Negligence Claim?
For an eligible medical negligence claim to progress, typically the injury or illness suffered would have to have been ‘avoidable’ if the proper level of medical care had been provided to the patient. There must also be proof of:
- A doctor-patient relationship existing
- Proof the medical professional was negligent
Your solicitor would help you to prove that a doctor-patient relationship did exist by sourcing medical records, prescriptions and records of invoices from the doctor that you are pursuing a medical negligence claim against.
After sourcing the records, your solicitor will hire an independent medical expert to investigate whether or not the negligence occurred. This third party expert will analyse your case, medical records and actions of the medical practitioner/professional. They will be able to determine whether the medical professional/practitioner ‘more likely than not’ caused the injury, or if you had received substandard medical care. They will also address if it were them carrying out the same actions that day, whether they could have avoided your injury or illness.
How do I Make a Medical Negligence Claim?
Consult a Medical Negligence Solicitor
It is advisable for you to speak to an experienced Medical Negligence Solicitor to seek legal advice as soon as possible if you believe that you were not provided with an adequate or appropriate level of medical care under the care of a medical professional, which resulted in you sustaining an injury or illness due to any acts or omissions by a medical professional.
Obtain medical records
In order for the medical negligence claims to have merit, it must be proven that the injury or illness you have sustained was caused by the negligence of the medical practitioner/professional who provided your medical treatment and care.
After the consultation with your medical negligence solicitor, your solicitor will request access to your medical records and engage an independent medical expert to assess your records. The purpose of engaging in an independent expert is to establish whether there was any negligence on the part of the medical professional, and whether or not the medical professional’s negligence was the cause of your injury and illness. This independent third party will also be able to determine, in his opinion, whether the injury or illness sustained was avoidable or not, if the appropriate level of medical care had been provided.
Depending on the complexity of the injury or condition, it is oftentimes necessary to get two separate experts; one to determine the liability of the medical professional, and another to determine whether the negligence caused the injury (causation).
Medical Negligence Litigation
In the case where the independent medical expert has established that medical negligence did occur, upon your instructions your solicitor will commence the process of issuing legal proceedings in Court against the medical professional and/or hospital with a view to securing compensation for you either by way of Court Judgment, or settlement.
The person who has been injured as a result of negligence is called the ‘plaintiff’. The medical professional/hospital or other professional against whom the allegations are made is called the ‘Defendant’.
The process is as follows:
A letter of claim will be sent to the Defendant(s) setting out the allegations and injuries sustained by you. This letter invites the Defendant(s) to admit liability to you and to compensate you for the injuries sustained. If no meaningful response is received on foot of this correspondence, a personal injuries summons will be drafted by a barrister nominated by your solicitor setting out the particulars of negligence and breach of duty, and particulars of the injuries sustained. The personal injuries summons will set out the reliefs claimed by the plaintiff, which will include compensation for pain and suffering (known as General Damages), compensation for additional losses suffered; for example any expenses incurred by you as a result of the injury such as medical expenses, loss of earnings, care costs needs etc. (Known as special Damages).
The personal injuries proceedings will be issued in Court and litigation will thereby be initiated.
Depending on the complexity of the particular case, the litigation process can oftentimes take a minimum of two years to reach Hearing before a Court. This does not mean to say that the Defendant(s) will not seek to settle a claim prior to the Hearing of the action. However, it can be a lengthy process and oftentimes involves a lengthy discovery process whereby medical records and other relevant documentation is exchanged between the parties, an element of the process known as ‘Discovery’.
Your solicitor will advise you throughout the entire process, ensuring your best interests are met, and that you achieve the best outcome available in your particular case.
How Much Compensation Can I Get for Medical Negligence Claim?
Although no amount of compensation will ever reverse the negative effects of medical malpractice, be it physical and/or psychological injury, a medical negligence claim can compensate you for the pain and suffering experienced as a result of the injury sustained, as well as provide you with financial support to ensure adequate care is provided for you for the rest of your life.
The amount of compensation you will be awarded will take into account;
- The type, severity, permanency and the persistence of your injury will be taken into consideration as well as the effects that same have on your quality of life, i.e. pain and suffering as a result of the injury sustained.
- Whether the injury sustained is likely to have long term consequences or be permanent? The amount of time that you have to live with the effects of the injury sustained due to medical negligence will also be factored into the settlement compensation. For example, age can be an important consideration in circumstances where if a younger person has to live with the permanent effect of their injury for a longer period of time, the compensation amount may be larger than an older person who has suffered a similar injury.
- Special Damages are a category of damages claimed which include the cost of the medical treatment that you required as a result of the medical negligence as well as the cost of the medical treatment that you will require into the future. For example, one may require future care costs such as nursing care, home and vehicle adaptations, ongoing treatment with specialist practitioners, counselling etc.
- In some cases, those who have suffered injury as a result of medical negligence may be unable to work and a Court will take into consideration any loss of earnings that the plaintiff may have suffered and may suffer into the future.
What are the Legal Time Limits for Medical Negligence Claim?
The legal time limits on how long you have to make a medical negligence claim are called The Statutes of Limitation. It varies depending on the situation.
Generally, for medical negligence cases, the patient who has sustained the injury or illness due to the medical negligence of a medical practitioner / professional has two years from the date of the accident or date of knowledge that the injury or illness was sustained as a result of medical negligence, to pursue a compensation claim.
Medical Negligence Claim involving children
Medical negligence involving children has a different legal time limit, compared to an adult medical negligence case.
A child (minor, under 18 years old) legally cannot pursue a medical negligence claim by themselves. In this case, they can legally pursue the claim two years less a day from the date of their 18th birthday.
Alternatively, the parent or guardian of the child, if they wish to do so, can pursue a medical negligence claim on behalf of the child before their 18th birthday and can do so directly after the date of knowledge that the injury or illness sustained was as a result of medical negligence by the medical professional. Your solicitor would be able to advise you on the correct course of action for you depending on your case.
You may contact a solicitor to discuss your case to help you discover how long you have left to make a claim. Often, due to the complexity of medical procedures, you will only know who is responsible for your condition after another doctor has examined your case. We can help you with this.
Have you experienced Medical Negligence in Ireland?
- Have you had a surgical procedure that did not turn out as it should?
- Have you been left in pain or do you continue to suffer from physical discomfort or physical scarring?
- Have you been misdiagnosed or had a delayed diagnosis of cancer or another serious illness which has affected your health?
Our team of medical negligence solicitors at Coleman Legal Medical Negligence Solicitors, Dublin may be able to help you. Any injury suffered during a medical procedure whether it is physical or psychological may have long term effects on the victim and their families.
How We Can Help ?
Pursuing a medical negligence claim in Ireland can be daunting, especially if you are still recovering. Our experienced team of medical negligence solicitors in Dublin and nationwide are on hand to give advice, and advise you of all legal remedies available to you at this stressful time. Our aim is to help you through the trauma of your experience with empathy and understanding, and to ease as much of the stress associated with medical negligence claims as possible.
If you have sustained an injury or contracted an illness due to a situation involving medical negligence and have questions surrounding an incident, please contact our Medical Negligence Solicitors today at Coleman Legal.
Coleman Legal can help you find out if you are eligible for a compensation. If you are eligible for compensation, we will fight for you while you recover, ensuring your best interests are met and that you receive the best settlement or Court Award that is fair to you in the entirety of the circumstances.
84 Talbot Street, Dublin 1
Free Phone: (1800) 844 104
*In contentious business, a solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage or proportion of any award or settlement. This statement is made in compliance with RE.8 of SI 518 of 2002.