Medical negligence (also known as medical malpractice) occurs when the standard of treatment falls below an accepted standard.
It is important to note that an adverse outcome from medical treatment or surgery does not necessarily constitute medical negligence. We have increasingly come to expect that doctors and other treatment providers have a solution to most health problems. Whilst there has been great advances in medicine, the treatment of human beings is complex and complications can and do arise even with the best care and treatment.
There are two elements to proving a medical negligence claim. In addition to proving that the standard of treatment fell beneath an accepted standard, it is also necessary that the adverse treatment caused injury or loss that would not otherwise have occurred.
Medical negligence may involve the following:
- a failure or delay in diagnosing a condition
- a failure or delay to provide appropriate treatment
- a failure or delay to refer a patient to other specialists or treatment providers
- a failure to interpret test results correctly
- a failure to perform surgery with reasonable care and skill
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Who is the claim made against?
A claim can be made against the health service provider at fault. That may include a doctor, a hospital or nursing home, a dentist or other allied health providers such as pharmacists, physiotherapists and the like.
What can you claim?
Depending upon your level of injury and disability, you may be able to claim:
- lump sum compensation for impairment
- past medical expenses
- past wage loss
- future medical expenses
- future wage loss
- home help and personal care
If you have suffered more serious injuries or disabilities, other types of compensation might be claimable.
How long will my claim take?
How long it will take to resolve your claim depends upon the significance of your injuries arising from the negligent treatment and how long they take to resolve or stabilise.
Most cases can be resolved within 18 – 24 months but more complex cases will take longer to complete.