Every citizen in Australia is covered by a basic duty of care under common law when it comes to the medical profession. As a patient, or even as a visitor, to a medical practitioner or facility, you should expect to be treated professionally and generally be taken well care of.
When the law talks about the medical industry it’s all encompassing, meaning the term includes doctors, nurses, hospitals, pharmacies, dentists, assistants, pathology labs, nursing homes, ambulances and everything in between. In other words, the lot.
Medical Negligence Explained
Essentially medical negligence occurs when that duty of care is not delivered at the expected level. While this level of care is not absolutely clear cut and could be disputed by medical professionals in question, medical negligence cases usually are fairly obvious on many occasions.
If you suffer an injury or some other infliction whilst under medical care that could have been avoided, prevented or rectified by staff, then this is basically medical negligence. If you go into hospital with one problem and then develop a different medical issue as a result of being hospitalised, then likely you’ve been a victim of medical negligence.
Medical negligence can occur in many ways, including the following:
- Nerve damage
- Brain damage
- Delayed diagnosis
- Patient mix up
- Foreign objects left inside the body after surgery
- Unhygienic conditions
- Contracting a disease or infection from a hospital stay
- Failure to supply the right medication
- Being given the wrong medication
- Unsafe environment leading to injury
- And more…
The list really goes on and on.
How Do You Know If You Can Make a Claim?
Insurance indemnity and medico legal support are a complex topic to navigate. Most people might suspect they can make a claim for medical negligence, but you won’t know for certain until you speak with someone who is an expert in medical negligence law and fully understands what constitutes medical negligence, as well as the process of making an insurance claim for adequate compensation.
You need to consult with an experienced medical negligence lawyer. They’ll discuss your case with you and the circumstances that led to your injury or affliction.
Not every mishap is a result of negligence, so medical negligence needs to be proven for a successful claim to be made.
Only your lawyer will accurately be able to determine if the medical staff in question have been negligent and have a case to answer to. It’s best to find out for sure so you know exactly where you stand and to give you some peace of mind.
Making insurance claims against the medical profession is well within your rights, but unless you really know what you are doing, it can be a complex process. Your best plan is to have a professional on your side who knows the industry.
Isn’t Hiring a Lawyer Too Expensive?
You would think it would be, but most law firms that specialise in personal injury law and medical negligence cases offer some very enticing concessions to get your business. They realise that the thought of expensive upfront fees is off-putting to most people, so they circumvent your concerns by offering deals like your first consultation free of charge.
This allows you to confidently meet with a lawyer, knowing there is no obligation and nothing to pay. You can tell them all about your circumstances and they can make an evaluation regarding a potential medical negligence claim. If they believe you have a strong case, they’ll offer to take it on.
This is where the second phase of the deal comes into play.
If the law firm feels they can win your case and earn you a fair compensation payout, they’ll represent you on a no win no fee basis. This means you only pay if they win and owe them nothing if they lose.
These types of cases can take a while to reach a conclusion, often up to 3 years, so that’s something to keep in mind. How much your compensation will end up being really depends on the circumstances surrounding your case and the level of suffering involved as a result of medical negligence.
Don’t be afraid to seek professional help and guidance if you believe you have a legitimate case.