Medical Negligence Claims *
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 upheld to the highest of medical standards. However, medical negligence claims * usually occur where an error is made during surgery, a patient is misdiagnosed or a medical practitioner fails to act or notice an illness or medical need. Generally, when the medical care a person receives is below the standard expected from a medical practitioner causing injury, loss of quality of life, or in some cases leading to death, a person (or their loved ones) may be able to make a medical negligence claim *.
Medical negligence * and the resulting effects, injuries and/or illnesses, can be attributed to the negligence of medical practitioners such as; doctors, nurses, medical consultants, surgeons, plastic surgeons, physiotherapists, opticians, dentists, psychologists and lab technicians, for example. The list can be extended to members of a medical facility, either in the private or public sector.
Medical negligence claims usually involve situations whereby there has been:
- 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
If you suspect that you have been subject to medical negligence * it is advisable to contact a medical negligence solicitor * immediately to discuss your situation.
Making a Medical Negligence Claim *
The process for making a medical negligence claim * in Ireland is different when compared to other personal injury claims. Personal injury claims, in general, are passed through the Injuries Board for assessment first, before they reach a court hearing. Medical negligence claims *, however, are brought straight to court and are not assessed by the Injuries Board. If you do feel like you are been subject to medical negligence or malpractice, you can take the following steps in order to proceed with your claim.
There are certain things you can do immediately after the incident that will help your solicitor establish a medical negligence * case for you:
- Record the date and time of the medical negligence * and the details of the type of medical treatment received.
- Retain any medical records relating to the incident
- Take a photo of any visible injuries sustained as a result of the medical negligence *
1. Speak to a Medical Negligence Solicitor *
It is advisable that you speak with a medical negligence solicitor * as soon as possible after the incident. 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 vitally important 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. Your medical records will then be reviewed by an independent medical expert in the field of interest. This is to attempt to determine whether you have indeed been subject to substandard medical care and medical negligence and whether your injuries/illness could have been avoided if the appropriate standard of medical care had been adhered to.
3. Letter of Claim
Your solicitor will then draft a letter of claim and send it to the relevant people involved in your medical negligence claim *. A letter of claim outlines the nature of your medical negligence * and invites the medical practitioners at fault to settle your claim for compensation.
The next steps involved in a medical negligence claim * will heavily depend on the nature of your claim and the response to your letter of claim and this will determine whether your medical negligence 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.
Legal remedies following Medical Negligence *
Following a medical negligence claim *, the compensation that a person receives is known as damages:
Non-financial damages such as pain and suffering and/or physical and emotional damage, loss of quality of life, loss of opportunity.
Out of pocket expenses incurred as a result of medical negligence include, 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 experience similar medical issues in the past
- Long term effects of your injury/illness: This will play a factor in how much compensation is awarded, for example, an 18-year-old person that suffered a lifelong injury/illness may be awarded more than an 80-year-old person who suffered an injury/illness. This comes down to the estimated life span of both people.
- Type of injury or illness sustained: Injuries arising from medical negligence range from minor to serious and a court may award higher compensation to a person with a serious injury than what it would award to a person with a minor treatable injury.
Statute of Limitations – Legal Time Frames
Following a case of medical negligence *, it is important to remember that there is a certain timeframe in place within which you can bring a claim for compensation. For medical negligence claims the timeframe is 2 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 *. The time frame in which you have to make a claim for compensation is called the statute of limitations.
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 who has been subject to medical negligence. A minor can bring a claim for medical negligence * 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.
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