Medical Negligence

What is medical negligence?

Medical negligence, also referred to as medical malpractice, is a phrase used to describe circumstances where the duty of care owed by a doctor, hospital or allied health professional to a patient is breached and as a result of the breach the patient suffers injury, loss and damage.

Medical negligence generally falls into one of following four categories:

  1. Whether the treatment undertaken was indicated;
  2. In the provision of advice with respect to the medical treatment and any risks associated with the treatment;
  3. The provision of the medical treatment; and
  4. The post treatment care provided.

The types of medical providers against which claims may be made include general practitioners, surgeons, specialist doctors, public and private hospitals, dentists and allied health professionals such as physiotherapists and chiropractors.

Given the complexity of medical treatment, on occasions treatment does not go as expected and this does not necessarily mean there was negligence involved.  Evidence needs to be obtained to establish that the treatment was not provided with due skill, care and attention and in accordance with competent professional practice at the time the treatment was provided.

When can adverse consequences from medical treatment result in a claim for compensation?

If you have suffered an injury or illness or you are a dependent of someone who has died as a result of an injury or illness caused by the negligence of a medical practitioner, hospital or any other health services provider, you may be entitled to claim compensation for your injury, loss and damage. 

At Andersons Solicitors, we can provide initial advice on your particular circumstances free of charge and assist you with the claims process should we consider an investigation into the circumstances is warranted and you wish to pursue a claim.

Pregnancy & Birth Injury Claims

If your enquiry relates to a negligence claim relating to pregnancy or the birth of a child please visit the birth injury claims page. 

Time Limits

Generally, you have 3 years in which to lodge a claim for injury loss and damage arising from negligent medical treatment. In limited circumstances an application for an extension of time may be possible.

It is essential that legal advice from a lawyer experienced in medical negligence claims is obtained early with respect to a potential claim and well before the 3 year time limit in order to avoid a claim becoming statute barred, to ensure all of the necessary investigations can be carried out and to enable compliance with the applicable court rules.

If the claim involves a child who was under the age of 18 at the time of the negligent act, the 3 year time limit begins once the child turns 18 and they therefore have until they are 21 to lodge the claim. However, even in such circumstances it is necessary for the claim to be investigated as early as possible to preserve evidence and to put the negligent party on notice of the claim within 6 years of the date the claim arose. The limitation date is further extended for people suffering from a mental incapacity. 

When should you speak to a Lawyer?

It is important to seek professional advice early from a solicitor experienced in medical negligence claims.  At Andersons Solicitors we have a team of experienced medical negligence solicitors who can assist you with the investigation of a claim and the entire claims process.

In the majority of cases our medical negligence team will offer to represent you on a no win no fee basis meaning that no legal fees are payable by you in circumstances where your claim is unsuccessful.

In most cases you will be responsible for payment of the out of pocket expenses such as fees for medical records and expert reports. However, there are ways to obtain funding for these expenses, such as through the Litigation Assistance Fund, which our medical negligence team can advise you on.

Progressing a claim

The majority of claims settle out of court and well before a trial.

Andersons Solicitors have an expert medical negligence team who have assisted many clients obtain compensation for injuries sustained as a result of negligent medical treatment, and cases can and do succeed. 

Medical evidence from appropriate specialists can be obtained when the specific facts in any case support the position that a doctor and/or hospital has breached the duty of care owed to a patient and damage has resulted from that breach.

The types of compensation that can be obtained include pain and suffering, past and future loss of earning capacity, past and future medical expenses and past and future care needs.

To find out more about what is involved in investigating and pursuing a medical negligence claim we invite you to contact our medical negligence team at Andersons Solicitors for a no obligation first free interview.

Awards:

  • Leading Medical Negligence Compensation Law Firm (Plaintiff) in South Australia - Doyles Guide 2018
  • Leading Medical Negligence Compensation Law Firm (Plaintiff) in South Australia - Doyles Guide 2019
  • Leading Medical Negligence Compensation Law Firm (Plaintiff) in South Australia - Doyles Guide 2020
  • Leading Medical Negligence Compensation Law Firm (Plaintiff) in South Australia - Doyles Guide 2021

Our medical negligence team

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