Medical Negligence *

Medical negligence * (also known as clinical negligence) is a term used to describe situations where a patient suffers a personal injury * as a result of an error made by the medical practitioner.

In most cases, medical professionals are dedicated, diligent and ensure that the treatment you are receiving is to the highest standard.

How do claims arise? *

Medical negligence claims * can occur under different circumstances. Some examples of medical negligence include:

  • During surgery where there is an error.
  • A misdiagnosed patient
  • Medical practitioner fails to act, notice an illness or medical need.
  • The medical care a person receives is below the standard expected from a medical practitioner
  • A medical practitioner causes injury, loss of quality of life, or in some cases leading to death


Medical practitioners that may be attributed to the negligence of various injuries and illnesses are;

  • Doctor Malpractice
  • Nurses
  • Medical consultants
  • Surgeons
  • Plastic surgeons
  • Physiotherapists
  • Opticians
  • Dentists
  • Psychologists and lab technicians.


The list can also include various members of a medical facility, either in the private or public sector.

Situations for claims *

  • Delay in diagnosing an illness or injury
  • Misdiagnosis of an illness or injury
  • Errors during a surgical procedure
  • Error in the prescription of medicine
  • Substandard care of the patient
  • Substandard hospital/clinical hygiene leading to contraction of an illness
  • Incorrect/inaccurate test results
  • Substandard pre surgical care – non-communication of risks involved with procedures
  • Foreign bodies and or surgical instruments retained by a patient following a surgical procedure
  • Aesthetic awareness while under general anaesthetic during a surgical procedure

Making a Claim

The process on how to make a claim for medical negligence * in Ireland is different when compared to other personal injury claims.

Personal injury claims, in general, are first passed through the Injuries Board for assessment, before they reach a court hearing.

Medical negligence claims * on the other hand, are brought straight to court and are not assessed by the Injuries Board.

If you do feel like you are subject to malpractice, you can take the following steps to proceed with your claim *.

  • Record the date and time of the incident and the details of the type of care received.
  • Retain any medical records relating to the incident
  • Take a photo of any visible injuries sustained as a result.


1. Speak to a Medical Negligence Solicitor *

Medical negligence is a very complex topic in Irish Law and attempting to proceed alone without the help of a solicitor may result in you missing some crucial steps. Your solicitor can then guide you through the next steps to ensure that the claim procedure runs as smoothly as possible for you.

2. Medical Records

Generally, after discussing your situation in detail with you, your solicitor will request access to your medical records. This will aid you when looking to prove that medical negligence has taken place .
An independent medical expert in the field of interest will then review your case.

This is to attempt to determine whether you have indeed been subject to substandard medical care and medical negligence *. Your injuries/illness will also be assessed to determine if they could have been avoided.

3. Letter of Claim

Your solicitor will then draft a letter of claim and send it to the relevant people involved. A letter of claim outlines the nature of your medical negligence * and invites the medical practitioners at fault to settle your claim.

The next steps involved will heavily depend on the nature of your claim and the response to your claims letter.

This will determine whether your claim is brought to a court hearing or settled outside of court. Your solicitor will be in a position to advise on the best course of action once medical negligence * is confirmed and a letter of claim is sent to the relevant parties.

Case Settlement

Following a medical negligence claim *, the compensation that a person receives is known as damages:

General Damages

Non-financial damages include; pain and suffering, physical and emotional damage, loss of quality of life, and loss of opportunity.

Special Damages

These refer to out of pocket expenses incurred as a result of the malpractice. For example, loss of earnings and future earnings (if you were out of work), current and future medical bills, care fees, costs of adapting a home, physiotherapy fees, and fees for medical equipment / ongoing medication needed.

The amount of compensation you claim for a medical negligence case * will depend on certain factors like:

  • Medical History:

If you have experienced similar medical issues in the past

  • Long-term effects of your injury/illness:

This comes down to the estimated lifespan of both people. For example, an 18-year-old person that suffered a lifelong injury or illness may be awarded more than an 80-year-old person who suffered an injury/illness.

  • Type of injury or illness sustained:

Injuries arising from medical negligence range from minor to serious and a court may award higher compensation to an individual with a serious injury than that of a person with a minor, treatable injury.

Statute of Limitations – Legal Time Frames

When taking into account how long medical negligence claims take , it is important to remember that Medical negligence cases * require certain time frames in place within which you can bring a claim.

For medical neglect claims * it is two years less a day following the date of the incident or 2 years less a day following the date that a person made the connection that their illness or injuries were a result of medical negligence *.

Medical Negligence * involving Children

In an unfortunate incident where a child is subject to medical negligence *, the process of making a claim differed from that of an adult. A minor can bring a claim forward in the first two years following their 18th birthday.

With 30 years’ experience as specialist medical negligence solicitors *, Tracey Solicitors, ensure not to overwhelm you with legal jargon and can provide you with legal advice and guidance with your best interest at heart, in a language that you can understand.

Tell us about your case

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