Adelaide Medical Negligence Solicitors - Personal Injury Compensation Lawyers
Have you been injured due to a medical error or medical negligence? Our Adelaide medical negligence solicitors deal with compensation claims for personal injuries arising out of medical and hospital negligence. Injuries suffered as a result of medical negligence can be severe and life altering.
Our Adelaide medical negligence solicitors understand that your immediate goals after going through such trauma are to find out what happened in your case, to have the situation rectified, and to make sure that you do not suffer financially through any lost wages or through expensive medical and hospital costs.
If you have been injured as a result of medical treatment received in South Australia and you would like to speak with an Adelaide medical negligence solicitor about making a claim for compensation, call our free legal helpline. Our lawyers can also be reached via email and through our online Contact Form. Our referral service is completely free to use.
Medical negligence law in Australia is dependent on location. Prior to 2014 Adelaide medical negligence solicitors treated compensation claims in South Australia in a similar way to other personal injury claims. In most other national and international jurisdictions there are distinct protocols for lawyers who deal with applications to a court of law for damages as a result of clinical errors. The introduction of the Supreme Court Fast Track Rules 2014 applicable in Adelaide and South Australia changed how Adelaide medical negligence solicitors deal with a compensation claim in so far as there are now protocols in place that are quite separate and different to the protocols applied to general personal injury compensation claims. This change in the rules known as pre-action protocols sets out steps that South Australia medical negligence solicitors are required to complete prior to the issue of proceedings in the Adelaide court.
South Australia Medical Negligence Protocols
The current protocols require Adelaide medical negligence solicitors to send written notice of the intention to claim compensation. The letter which mainly focuses on liability must include 11 separate pieces of information which must be collected prior to the action starting. The initial letter of claim need not include any financial calculation of the estimated value of the claim. The intention of the letter is to put the allegedly negligent healthcare practitioner on notice and to allow time for the collection of evidence to refute the claim if appropriate. If liability is to be denied the defendant or more likely his solicitors must advise the claimants lawyers. At this point the parties thereafter usually agree on how the claim can proceed to trial in the Adelaide court if agreement cannot be reached which is rare in a medical negligence compensation claim.
Adelaide Medical Negligence Solicitors
If you have been injured and need expert advice we can help. Our Adelaide medical negligence solicitors are here to protect your legal right to compensation. In settling claims we also rely upon specialists from other disciplines and we are able to call upon the services of some of the best expert witnesses in Australia to help establish liability in difficult cases. If you have been injured within the last three years then it's time to get some free advice. Our lawyers are able to provide you with a no cost, no risk assessment of your case and tell you whether or not a claim will succeed and how much compensation you may be due.
Our solicitors deal with medical negligence compensation claims on a risk free, no win no fee basis. We operate the no win no fee scheme otherwise known as a conditional fee agreement. No legal charge is payable unless the legal case is won and the client obtains an award of compensation. In the event that the legal claim is lost there is no charge made to the client. If you have been injured by medical malpractice and you would like free legal advice on the limitation legislation in Australia just complete the contact form, email our lawyers offices or use the helpline to speak with a specialist personal injury solicitor. We provide clear and unequivocal advice on liability and the compensation you stand to win. If after talking to that solicitor you decide to proceed no further with your potential claim, there are no obligations and you will not be charged for any advice.
Our medical negligence solicitors have offices situated in Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra, Melbourne, Perth, Darwin, and Sydney.
Do yourself justice - give us a call.
Compensation Claim Awards
When assessing a medical negligence compensation claim, it is usually necessary to obtain copies of your medical records, hospital records, and independent opinions from one or more medical experts, before any definitive advice can be given as to whether the health care practitioner may be liable for compensation. If liability can be proven, a solicitor will then go on to calculate in detail, the amount of compensation that may be awarded. Most cases settle by way of negotiations through written offers and counter-offers, however, a small percentage of claims do end-up in court.
When assessing the value of your claim, your solicitor will account for various “heads of damage”, including:
- Loss of income (past and future losses).
- Loss of earning capacity.
- Out-of-pocket expenses (relating to medical treatment, pharmaceuticals, rehabilitation).
- Cost of domestic assistance, attendant care.
- Non-economic loss (compensation for pain and suffering).
Our Adelaide medical negligence solicitors are experienced in handling all types of medical negligence claims involving doctors, medical specialists, midwives, nurses, public and private hospitals, physiotherapists, chiropractors, and psychologists. Health care professionals should be held accountable for negligence that leads to an injury, loss or disability. The law recognises that consumers have the right to receive proper and safe treatment. Reasonable care must be taken when diagnosing, treating, and advising patients.
Most cases of negligence involve a missed diagnosis. As a consequence of an incorrect diagnosis, the real condition goes untreated, and damage can be done by taking the wrong treatment or through delay in receiving the right treatment. Patients can suffer from permanent damage to their health, or they may even die. There is simply no excuse for a health care professional to inflict this kind of suffering by missing an important diagnostic fact.
Examples of clinical cases that our Adelaide medical negligence solicitors have handled include:
Misdiagnosis of Cancer:
- Misdiagnosis of cancers of the breast, bowel, uterus, cervix, prostate and other organs, means no treatment. If the cancer is diagnosed later, it may be too late for effective treatment.
Emergency Department Errors:
- When a patient comes to an emergency room with symptoms of a heart attack, stroke or brain haemorrhage, and an incorrect diagnosis is made, resulting in a delay in necessary care.
- Failure to treat gestational diabetes, pre-eclampsia, toxemia, infections.
- For example, ruptured uterus due to negligent administration of labour-inducing medication. Severe cervical lacerations/episiotomy.
- Cerebral palsy due to failure on the part of the doctor and/or midwife to monitor for signs of fetal distress and failure to perform a timely c-section. Erb’s palsy and brachial plexus injuries are other examples.
- Failure by a paediatrician to diagnose and treat jaundice, kernicterus, causing the baby to suffer brain damage.
- An artery or an organ is damaged during surgery. The surgical team may leave behind a swab, sponge, scissors, or fail to effectively close a surgical opening.
- When a doctor prescribes a contra-indicated drug or when an incorrect medication is dispensed by the pharmacist.
- Errors by an anaesthetist resulting in “anaesthesia awareness” during surgery. Too much anesthesia or the wrong anesthesia can have catastrophic results including coma, brain damage, or wrongful death.
- There may be a failure on the part of the surgeon to inform the patient of material risks associated with the procedure, for example, cosmetic surgery procedures (including liposuction, rhinoplasty, and breast augmentation), bariatric surgery, gastric-banding, laparoscopic surgery versus laparotomy.
- Pure mental harm cases (section 33 Civil Liability Act 1936); psychiatric misdiagnosis and medication errors.
The standard of care for a health professional is that expected of the reasonably competent practitioner professing that skill (section 40 of the Civil Liability Act 1936, SA). The court will decide what is “competent professional practice” and it will take into consideration the opinion of other professionals practicing within the same field as the defendant health care professional. Even if a particular practice is common or accepted by other practitioners, it may still be negligent.
The fact that a complication or material risk eventuates, or that the desired medical outcome was not achieved, does not necessarily mean that the health care practitioner was negligent. For negligence to have occurred, the behaviour or actions of the healthcare provider must not meet the standard of care which a reasonable person would meet in the circumstances. It is also necessary to prove that the plaintiff has suffered foreseeable damage or injury which was caused by the breach in duty of care.
Medical negligence law is complex. If you have been damaged (physically and/or emotionally) as a result of a misdiagnosis, incorrect medical treatment or a poor surgical outcome, it may be possible to claim compensation for negligence. A medical negligence lawyer experienced in this field is the best person to contact. They are fully aware of how the law operates, how these claims are assessed by insurance companies, and how to run a case in an efficient manner so that you receive maximum entitlements.
There is a statutory time limit of 3 years within which you can make a claim for compensation. There are some exceptions to this, for example, different time limits apply to babies, children and persons suffering from intellectual and mental disability. In very limited circumstances, an extension of the time limit may be granted. However, courts are fairly strict when it comes to time limits. If records have been destroyed or witnesses have disappeared or died, an extension may be refused. It is therefore in your best interests to seek legal advice as soon as you become aware of the possibility of a possible medical mishap having occurred.
Making a claim for compensation for personal injury involves compliance with limitation law in Australia. Legal proceedings must be issued in a court of law within a set period of time subsequent to an injury failing which the opportunity to claim compensation may be lost forever. The time limit is generally set at three years following the instance of negligence, although that term may in some circumstances be extended. There may be exceptions to the standard three year limit :-
- In circumstances where the individual incurring the injury suffers from mental disability, the limit period only starts when full mental capacity has returned and in situations where mental disability is ongoing, damages can be pursued at any future time.
- When the person sustaining the injury was under 18 at the time of the accident, the three year period only starts to run on their 18th birthday. If the three year period then expires and they still have not issued proceedings that person will have lost the opportunity to claim, unless they also suffer from mental disability.
- The courts have a discretion to extend the time limits, although the occasions on which they do so are rare. If you think the legislation has invalidated a potential claim you should obtain expert legal advice as soon as possible.
Adelaide No Win No Fee Lawyers
If you have suffered a medical negligence injury in South Australia you should speak with our Adelaide medical negligence solicitors to discuss how you can recover compensation for your injuries. Additionally, family members who have lost a loved one because of a doctor's medical negligence should also seek legal advice to determine whether they wish to bring a wrongful death action.
Our expert medical negligence solicitors operate on a No Win No Fee basis, and can help answer any questions that you may have concerning the details of your medical injuries. Call us today for obligation-free legal advice, or complete the online Contact Form or send an email.
HELPLINE: ☎ 1800 633 634
The author of the substantive medical writing on this website is Dr. Christine Traxler MD whose biography can be read here