How can I make a compensation claim for medical negligence?

In Australia we’re lucky to have one of the best medical systems in the world. Even so the best can make mistakes sometimes.

We all should be able to trust that our doctors will do the right thing but if their errors are so large that they breach what is known as their duty of care, there is a way to make a claim for medical negligence compensation.

What is a medical negligence compensation claim?

A compensation claim for medical negligence is similar to other types of personal injury claims: if you’ve suffered in any way as a result of a medical procedure, or any service or advice issued by a medical professional or therapist, you could be due certain entitlements as compensation for medical negligence.

The harm you’ve suffered could by physical, psychological or financial.

How hard is to prove medical negligence?

The laws in Australia on medical negligence vary from state to state, but while there may be slight differences in the law the one thing that is common is that it can be very hard to prove that a doctor acted negligently and that the negligence actually caused your injury.

That’s because it can be difficult to prove the direct link between your doctor’s action and the harm you have suffered.

And you also need to prove that your doctor’s actions breached his or her duty of care.

Expert evidence makes the difference

That’s where expert medical evidence comes in. Medical experts are needed to prove that the doctor was negligent, and they must provide an opinion that the doctor’s actions did not conform to normal accepted practice.

The expert medical witnesses are generally other doctors who are well regarded in their fields and whose opinions carry a lot of weight when these matters are decided.

Even then, the Court may come to its own decision in the matter, especially when there is conflicting evidence from both sides on what constitutes “normal accepted practice”.

Speak to a senior lawyer

The process involved in making a claim for medical negligence is complex and this is where knowledge and experience counts. There are complex forms to fill out, strict time limits to adhere to and you need to know how the system works to get the best result.

When you’re on your sickbed the last thing you want to think about is how to fill out a form to claim compensation. A good lawyer will be there with you all the way to help you through the process so that you can just focus on getting better.

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