Sydney Medical Negligence Solicitors - Injury Compensation Claim Lawyers NSW
Our Sydney medical negligence solicitors work hard to protect the rights of patients and their families. One of the most important social principles of medical negligence litigation is deterrence of future wrongful conduct. Our expert solicitors are dedicated to improving the safety of the NSW health care system by holding negligent doctors, midwives, nurses, dentists, physiotherapists, psychologists and hospitals to account for the harm they cause.
Patients who have been harmed by medical treatment come to us seeking to know the truth about what happened to them, who is to blame for their injury, and holding accountable those who caused the harm. Our Sydney medical negligence solicitors and lawyers are dedicated and caring professionals, with decades of experience in providing accurate legal advice to victims of medical negligence across New South Wales, including metropolitan and rural areas.
If you would like obligation-free legal advice from an expert in medical negligence law, contact us today.
Medical treatment is risky by nature, and adverse events can happen even when the patient receives top medical care. The law doesn’t compensate for everything that goes wrong- minor inconsequential mistakes can happen to the best of health care practitioners. What the law does require is that health care practitioners act competently in accordance with the standard of care required of their specialty or profession.
Poor diagnostic skills, poor communication skills, lack of training, unethical behaviour, drug or alcohol affected practitioners, arrogance and general incompetence can cause serious harm to patients. In these circumstances, patients have every right to be concerned for their welfare. They also have the right to seek compensation for damage caused by medical negligence, and the right to report the offending health practitioner to the relevant authorities.
Standard of Care
In determining whether a health care professional has breached their duty of care to the patient, a Sydney medical negligence solicitor will review all the available evidence, such as statements from witnesses, medical and hospital records. They will also need to instruct an independent medical expert in the same field of specialty as the defendant health practitioner, who will review the evidence and provide their opinion as to whether the professional’s actions were of “competent professional practice.”
Section 5O of the Civil Liability Act 2002 NSW relating to Standard of care for professionals , states that:
- A person practising a profession ( "a professional") does not incur a liability in negligence arising from the provision of a professional service if it is established that the professional acted in a manner that (at the time the service was provided) was widely accepted in Australia by peer professional opinion as competent professional practice.
- However, peer professional opinion cannot be relied on for the purposes of this section if the court considers that the opinion is irrational.
- The fact that there are differing peer professional opinions widely accepted in Australia concerning a matter does not prevent any one or more (or all) of those opinions being relied on for the purposes of this section.
- Peer professional opinion does not have to be universally accepted to be considered widely accepted.
Section 5O does not apply to liability arising in connection with the giving of (or the failure to give) a warning, advice or other information in respect of the risk of death of or injury to a person associated with the provision by a professional of a professional service. In these cases, common law principles derived from “failure to warn” cases apply.
Breach in Duty of Care
Examples of cases where health professionals have been held liable for breaching their duty of care, include:
- Brain damage to a baby because an obstetrician allowed a labour to continue despite signs of fetal distress which indicated that an emergency caesarian section should have been carried out.
- Skull fracture through improper use of forceps.
- Failed sterilisation procedure, resulting in unwanted pregnancy.
- Mismanagement of fibroids, cysts, endometriosis and other conditions.
- Laparoscopy and laparotomy injures- e.g nerve damage, ureter injury, bladder injury.
- Injuries associated with hysterectomy.
Emergency Department Errors
- Incorrect triaging by nurses.
- Failure to diagnose and treat conditions such as a brain haemorrhage or aneurysm, heart attack, fractures.
- Failure to order tests such as x-rays, CT scans and MRI’s.
- Cosmetic surgery resulting in unsightly scarring.
- Face-lift surgery resulting in injury to the accessory nerve.
- Failure to warn of risks associated with surgery.
- A GP who failed to order appropriate tests to rule out the possibility of cancer, resulting in cancer misdiagnosis and delayed treatment.
- Misdiagnosis of heart attack.
- Failing to refer to a specialist for appropriate treatment, especially when symptoms and test results indicate that a patient requires specialist medical care.
- Medication errors including prescribing contra-indicated medication or wrong dosage.
Compensation for Injury
Poor medical care can result in damage such as:
- worsening of a condition;
- physical injury;
- emotional/psychological injury;
If you or a member of your family was injured due to an error in diagnosis, treatment, or as a result of medical care that was below professionally-accepted standards, you may be entitled to compensation. There are time limits and you should take urgent advice from a Sydney medical negligence solicitor.
Compensation is available in medical negligence claims to cover the cost of medical, hospital, and pharmaceutical expenses related to your injury. The Civil Liability Act 2002 also contains numerous complex provisions covering maximum amounts that may be awarded with regard to:
- Loss of earnings.
- Loss of superannuation entitlements.
- Cost of attendant care services (nursing care, domestic assistance).
- Damages for loss of capacity to provide domestic assistance to dependants.
- Non-economic loss (e.g compensation for pain and suffering).
- Economic loss arising from pure mental harm (where there is a recognised psychiatric illness).
Compensation claims need to be commenced within 3 years of the date of the negligence. However, there are some rare exceptions to this rule, which an NSW medical negligence solicitor can explain to you. If you would like legal advice on making a compensation claim, contact us without delay before time runs out in your case.
Sydney Medical Negligence Solicitors
In New South Wales, the law of medical negligence can be found in case law as well as legislation known as the Civil Liability Act 2002 (NSW).
In basic terms, in order to get compensation for medical negligence, you need to prove that the health care practitioner:
- Breached their duty of care
- The breach in duty of care has caused damage to the victim, and this damage was reasonably foreseeable
- The victim has suffered damage or loss
The amount of compensation that can be awarded is subject to various thresholds and caps on damages, in accordance with the Civil Liability Act.
Our experienced Sydney medical negligence solicitors can tell if a case for compensation is worth investigating, from the first contact with the victim. If it is not, the victim of medical negligence is informed of this, as well as to any other options they may have for redress, such as making a complaint with the relevant Board or Authority.
It is extremely difficult for a layperson to represent themselves in medical negligence claims, due to the complex nature of the medical and legal aspects of these claims, and the fact that most medical negligence claims are vigorously defended by the health practitioner/s and their lawyers.
Most cases do settle out-of-court, but only after vigorous negotiations with the insurance company’s lawyers, or through a formal mediation. Some contentious issues do end-up in court. We therefore suggest that an expert NSW medical negligence lawyer or solicitor should handle your case from the very beginning, to ensure that all legal avenues are explored and that your case is thoroughly prepared should the matter be vigorously defended in a court of law.
Our Sydney medical negligence lawyers handle NO WIN NO FEE claims across New South Wales. They are experts in dealing the most complex of cases against professionals in all specialties of medicine.
Contact us today for free and confidential legal advice.
NSW Medical Negligence Legal Information
Negligence law in Australia varies dependent on location. The New South Wales Parliament has recently reformed medical negligence law for incidents occurring in Sydney and NSW which had previously closely followed UK law. In order for a Sydney medical negligence solicitor to succeed in a compensation claim it is now necessary for a Sydney lawyer to demonstrate that an allegedly negligent healthcare practitioner owed a duty of care to the injured victim and that there was a breach of that duty of care which directly resulted in 'material damage' to the claimant. Whilst it may not be difficult to establish the existence of the duty of care which is implied in most doctor patient relationships, it may be difficult to establish if a breach has occurred and thereafter proving that injury or loss was as a direct result of the negligent treatment bearing in mind that the patient was already ill prior to the erroneous treatment. Our Sydney medical negligence solicitors are experts in the law of negligence and offer advice at no cost - simply call the helpline.
The NSW Parliament is in some cases the insurer for medical negligence compensation claims in New South Wales healthcare establishments and law has now been enacted which improves their financial position by limiting liability and compensation. One of the most controversial changes to the law revolves around the financial caps placed on some items of compensation which may result in claims settling at an under value compared with other locations. The relevant law was initially contained in the Health Care Liability Act 2001 which was soon repealed and replaced by similar provisions contained in the Civil Liability Act 2002 which only applies in NSW and allegedly makes provision for fair and sustainable compensation for medical negligence, caps or limits or effectively removes compensation available for 'non-economic' losses for minor injury, promotes distribution of injury compensation across the industry, educates the staff to the dangers of medical negligence and improves risk management. The net effect of these changes means that less compensation is actually paid than prior to this legislation. An experienced Sydney medical negligence solicitor will be able to guide you through what has become the minefield of NSW compensation claims.
On the 1st of September 2005, the High Court of Australia upheld the constitutional validity of a NSW ban on Sydney medical negligence solicitors advertising their services in relation to personal injury claims under Part 14 of the Legal Profession Regulation made under the Legal Profession Act which made it both an offence and professional misconduct for a barrister or solicitor to publish an advertisement that includes any reference to personal injury or to any legal service that relates to an entitlement to recover money for personal injury. This legislation was a blatent attempt to restrict the publics access to justice thereby reducing compensation payouts. This legislation has now been effectively repealed by The Legal Profession Uniform Law 2014 thereby giving the public greater access to justice and to lawyers.
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