It is every medical practitioner’s duty to provide the best level of care to each patient. As a patient, you should be able to trust that your doctor is carrying out their duty of care towards you and acting in your best interests.
Medical professionals who breach this duty of care must be held accountable so that others do not also become a victim of medical negligence. If you have recently received negligent care from a medical practitioner, you should consider making a medical negligence claim. Read on to learn more.
What is medical negligence?
Medical negligence can apply to a number of ways in which a medical professional fails to act in accordance with the standard of practice across the medical field. This may involve a failure to act reasonably when others would have, or a negligent act of care.
Examples of medical negligence include:
- Medical misdiagnosis
- Administering or prescribing an incorrect dosage of medication
- Performing surgeries without an appropriate license
- Failing to adequately communicate any risks involved with the patient’s procedure
- Incorrectly interpreting medical results
Australia suffers the worst statistical rate of medical errors in the world. However, not every medical error is considered medical negligence. Medical misdiagnosis, for example, does not always entitle you to make a medical misdiagnosis claim.
You must be able to prove that:
- The medical practitioner did not exercise reasonable care or skill that would be expected of another medical practitioner of the same level resulting in the misdiagnosis.
- The misdiagnosis resulted in harm or injury that would not have occurred if a misdiagnosis had not been made. For example, if you have received a misdiagnosis resulting in treatment or lack of treatment which has not caused you any harm, you may not be eligible for medical misdiagnosis compensation.
Choosing a medical negligence lawyer
The best way to ensure the success of your medical negligence compensation claim is to hire an experienced medical negligence lawyer. Finding a good compensation lawyer can be difficult as not all legal professionals are honest about their experience in certain areas of compensation. It is important to do an adequate amount of research before you settle on a lawyer.
Be sure to find out what their area of specialisation is and what kind of medical negligence claims they have handled. Good medical negligence lawyers will be able to give you clear answers to any questions you may have. Avoid lawyers who dodge questions or give you vague answers.
Proving medical negligence
Medical negligence cases often involve a long investigation into the matter to determine whether the medical practitioner was at fault. The law does not ask medical professionals to act perfectly, as it is accepted that mistakes can happen. Rather, they do expect them to provide reasonable care and act within the standards of the medical community.
To prove that your medical practitioner was negligent you must show that:
- The medical malpractice caused an injury to you
- The injury was significant and resulted in a financial loss
- Your injury caused you pain and discomfort
What will your compensation cover?
If you are able to prove that your medical practitioner was negligent, you may be eligible to receive medical negligence compensation. Medical negligence compensation is intended to cover costs related to your injury and any loss of income you may have suffered as a result of it. The amount of compensation is decided upon based on the level of pain and loss of income suffered.
Medical negligence compensation can cover:
- Pain and suffering; and loss of enjoyment of life
- Cost of medical bills and future medical expenses relating to your injury
- Loss of wages due to your injury
- In some cases, you can also receive compensation for the care provided to you by your family and friends
When should you begin a claim?
If you suspect medical negligence on your doctor’s part, act immediately. Consult with a medical negligence lawyer on what your chances of success are and what the best course of action is. Strict time limits will apply if you choose to make a medical misdiagnosis claim so it is best not to delay taking action.
Keep in mind that, poor outcomes of medical treatment can take time to become apparent, and the law recognises this. Even if you believe it’s too late to begin a claim, speak with a medical negligence lawyer.
If you believe you are the victim of medical negligence, contact Schreuders today. We can provide you with a free consultation to discuss the best way to ensure you receive a fair outcome.