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All people have the right to feel safe and cared for professionally by their healthcare provider. If there are injuries sustained from treatment by a medical professional, or that your medical treatment has compromised or impacted the expected outcome, you may be entitled to compensation.

Failure to provide reasonable medical care to a patient is called medical negligence. It may be a result of the conduct of a doctor, hospital or other health professional. Not all undesirable or adverse outcomes are due to medical negligence – procedures can carry risks of complication. This area of law can be complex, which is why you should seek legal advice from our expert lawyers.

We can help you find a medical negligence lawyer and settle your case.

How do I sue for damages?

You must demonstrate that you have suffered loss caused by negligence. Proving medical causation is often the most complex part of a medical negligence claim. This falls into three categories: breach of duty, causation and compensation for damages.

If you have suffered a negative outcome, ask your doctor for more information.

Medical and Health Care providers are required to hold Medical Indemnity Insurance to cover any losses if a claim is made against them.

How do I prove medical negligence?

Below are common examples of medical negligence:

  • Failure to provide preventative or proactive treatment to avoid a worsening condition
  • Delays in investigating, diagnosing or treating a medical condition
  • Misdiagnosis
  • Failure to provide an appropriate referral to a specialist or other professionals
  • Failure to convey test results to allow for treatment of a condition or injury
  • An incorrect reporting of a test, investigation or result
  • Any surgical error
  • Failure to advise or warn about the risks of a procedure or advise about the availability of an alternative treatment
  • Birth trauma or a birth injury claim
  • A dependency or nervous shock claim made by family or dependants of a patient who has died due to medical malpractice.

If negligence, causation and loss can be established, the types of damages that may be claimed include: non-economic loss, economic loss, out of pocket expenses, treatment expenses and provision of personal care or domestic services.

Medical and healthcare providers must obtain informed consent of a patient before providing medical treatment.

How successful are medical negligence claims?

In order for a medical negligence claim to be successful, it must be shown that a practitioner has acted or administered their services in a way that would not be considered competent or professional. As a patient, your medical practitioners have a duty of care.

When this duty of care has been breached and the result is pain, injury or loss as a result of that breach, then you may have a successful claim for compensation.

What can I claim compensation for?

The compensation you claim for may include pain and suffering, medical costs resulting from additional treatment required after your procedure, loss of income, and additional travel and home care expenses which have resulted from the event or procedure. Your lawyer can help you formulate a full account of your expenses, and identify which will qualify as part of your compensation case.

How long do I have to make a claim?

There is a three-year time limit for pursuing a medical negligence claim.

What’s involved in the investigation?

Medical negligence claims often require a six to 12-month investigation period, which involves obtaining medical records, taking a statement, obtaining an expert opinion and providing you with advice on whether you have a viable claim.

It is helpful to keep records of your medical appointments/investigations/surgeries and ongoing costs or losses, including receipts for all out-of-pocket expenses, any time off work and any help you may have needed at home.

Our lawyers draw on the assistance of medical experts who can help review your case and provide independent analysis, which will help to strengthen your claim.

Will I have to go to court?

It is common for these types of medical compensation claims to be settled outside of court. We will usually negotiate directly with a medical insurer for a lump sum payout which covers your costs and damages. This way, there is no appearance before a judge and your lawyer is able to arrange the terms of your settlement either on your behalf, or by advising you.

If your claim does go to court, it can take between 18 months to three years to be finalised.

We will attempt to resolve your case out of court in a timely manner where possible.

What to do if this information applies to you

At Gordon Legal, we understand that medical negligence is a personal issue.

For personalised and individual advice, we offer consultations to discuss your matter.

Please call Gordon Legal on 1800 21 22 23 or our Geelong office on 1800 21 22 23 to speak with a member of our team.

Given the current environment, we are providing consultations over the phone or via video conferencing platforms.

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