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Have you suffered because of medical negligence?

Medical negligence, which is sometimes known as medical malpractice, can happen when a health professional fails in their duty.

Medical Negligence

This includes:

  • Failure to diagnose an injury or illness
  • Failure to provide appropriate treatment at the right time
  • Failure to get the patient’s consent for the treatment

Medical injuries can be devastating. Claiming compensation is much more than righting a wrong; it’s also about making sure you have enough money to live, pay your medical expenses and to meet your care needs.

“I couldn’t believe it. My doctor had caused my injury. The person I’d trusted to make things better had instead made everything so much worse. I was afraid of never recovering, anxious about what was ahead of me, disappointed, and most of all, angry.”

I've suffered a medical injury. What now?

If we can show that your health professional was negligent, you may be entitled to compensation.

Negligent means that the health professional failed to take proper care when providing you with medical services and that they had a duty to take proper care. Sometimes, it’s difficult to work out whether there has been negligence, so it’s a good idea to get legal advice.

Some typical examples include:

  • Performing surgery without the proper skill
  • Failing to take a proper medical history, resulting in misdiagnosis
  • Failing to investigate a medical condition properly
  • Failing to provide or arrange appropriate treatment

These types of claims can often arise in medical areas such as:

  • Emergency treatment
  • Obstetrics
  • Cosmetic surgery
  • Orthopaedics
  • Delayed diagnosis or misdiagnosis

You or a loved one may also claim for injuries suffered at birth. See our Birth Injuries page for further information.

What can I claim in compensation?

It may be possible to claim compensation for:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of income while you are recovering from the injury
  • Future loss of income
  • Future care requirements

Costs associated with your recovery, for example:

  • Treatment costs
  • Medications
  • Nursing
  • Rehabilitation

What will it cost to make a claim?

Medical negligence claims are complex and usually take longer and cost more than other personal injury claims.

But if we believe that you have a good chance of securing a settlement or winning a case, we may offer you a no win no fee arrangement.

This means that we won’t bill you until you’ve received a compensation or settlement payment (subject to conditions).

How long will it take?

Like many other injury claims, it’s difficult to estimate when you may receive a settlement.

Your injuries must stabilise before we know what to claim and how to claim. In other words, it must be clear that your injuries won’t get worse. This could take months or even years.

However, there are time limits for making a medical negligence claim in South Australia. In most cases, it’s three years from the date of the injury, diagnosis or advice that led to the claim (the cause of action). It’s challenging, but still possible to get permission to claim if this time limit has lapsed. It’s important to file the claim as soon as possible, even if it’s not likely that it will resolve for many years.

Frequently asked questions

Sometimes things can go wrong, even if the health practitioner has been careful. That’s why it’s common to warn patients about the risks before a procedure or treatment.

Entitlement to compensation arises when we can show that the health practitioner caused your injury because they failed to meet reasonable professional standards.

We’ll also need to tell the health practitioner’s insurer about any pre-existing medical conditions and whether they have had any impact on your current injury.

Often, medical malpractice claims are complicated. To work out whether you have a reasonable prospect of success, we will need to gather as much evidence as possible and piece it all together.

This includes:

  • Medical reports
  • Proof of income
  • Test results
  • Proof of living expenses.

We may seek second opinions from medical specialists. While it may be expensive, it may also clarify how to proceed and your chances of success.

If a hospital employs a doctor, nurse or another health professional, it may be liable for a medical negligence injury because the health professional was acting as its agent.

This will depend on the arrangement that the health professional has with the hospital. If your injury happened in a hospital, we will take a close look at the circumstances to work out whether to pursue a claim against the health professional, the hospital, or both.

If your claim settles and you receive a settlement payment, or it goes all the way to a court hearing and you’re awarded compensation, the payments will almost always come from one source: the insurer.

Professional indemnity insurance is usually required for health practitioners, which often covers claims of medical negligence.

We act for clients in all aspects of medical negligence claims.

Our lawyers have expertise in acting for clients with significant injuries, for example, strokes, amputations, birth injuries and brain damage.

We also manage complex claims, including claims against hospitals. We are well-versed in complex medical conditions and technologies.

Meet our specialised

Medical Negligence Claims team

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