In Australia, there will be many cases of medical negligence where there is a claim possible. This can be due to lack of training, staff shortages, tiredness because of long hours, or other reasons.
So, in this article, we will explore just what constitutes a claim for negligence against a medical practitioner, along with other things that you should know if you or your loved one is in this position.
Components of a Medical Negligence Claim
There are three essential elements to a medical negligence claim existing. One, there needs to be a duty of care, as exists in a doctor-client relationship; two, there has to be a breach of this care due to a positive act or failure to do what was required; and three, harm must have been suffered as a result.
When all three exist, lawyers will be able to help you put together a claim for medical negligence and then represent you in court with it.
What Qualifies as Medical Negligence?
For a claim to be valid, a lawyer will need to demonstrate in court that an injury sustained by medical negligence has resulted in a disability, unusual pain, hardship or suffering, loss of income, or any significant medical bills. The bills will relate to what has already been paid out and what kinds of bills might be expected in the future concerning the injury sustained. Long-term care may be required, for example.
It is also possible under general Australian law to sue for misdiagnosis as well as any injury sustained as a result of a procedure.
How Much Can I Claim?
It depends on individual cases, but the average claim where more serious cases of medical negligence in Australia exist will tend to exceed $650,000.
The factors that affect the amount of an individual medical negligence claim include how severe the injury is, how much suffering and pain is involved, earnings that have been lost and those that will be affected in the future, and medical costs associated with medications and treatments that have taken place and are ongoing. Much of a settlement has to be predicted. The impact on finances and suffering will, however, be known about because of similar cases from the past. Lawyers will look to reach a fair settlement for their clients. How comfortable a future the affected person has from now onwards will be at stake.
How Long Will a Claim Take in Australia?
In Australia, it will generally take around 12 months before a claim for medical negligence can be started. This will be when the injury has settled down enough after an event of negligence by a doctor or hospital. It will not be until this time that sufficient evidence can be gathered by a lawyer concerning the claim. Then, there will be a further period of between 6 and 12 months while a lawyer gathers evidence. So, claiming for medical negligence is not a quick process but one worthwhile when you consider the life-changing sums of money involved and the sense of justice a settlement provides.
In conclusion, claiming medical compensation is a lengthy process but one that will see claimants financially compensated for their suffering, and to a level that means future bills are taken care of in terms of the extra care that is likely to be required to support life-limiting injuries. Some of those involved will be young and so have a lot of years ahead of them to be considered. As long as blame can be proven from something a medical practitioner was responsible for, then there should be a good case for compensation.
Due to the high sums involved, it will be something of a fight to receive justice, but a part of that is the desire of the families affected to receive justice for their loved ones as well as to protect their future financially. Though much of a claim does have to be assessed on its financial merits, there is also an element of suffering to take account of. It is good to have a medical negligence lawyer on your side to support you with all aspects of a claim.