If you have been injured as a direct result of medical maltreatment or a lack of care, you may have grounds for a medical negligence claim in Ireland. This is also known as a’medical accident,’ a ‘adverse incidence,’ or a ‘patient safety incident.’ What’s crucial to note, and what’s frequently misinterpreted by the general public, is that this doesn’t always imply that the therapy was ‘negligent.’ While greater care or safety precautions may have averted your injuries, it’s possible that the situation was inevitable in the first place. Medical negligence lawsuits are likely to be more complicated than any other type of personal harm claim, a fact that the Irish legal system recognizes. Unlike practically every other sort of personal injury compensation action, medical malpractice allegations will be denied jurisdiction by the Injuries Board.
Liability for Medical Negligence Claims
In order to be eligible for a personal injury claim, the harm must have been caused by the carelessness of someone who owed you a duty of care at the time and in the circumstances of the accident. It is self-evident that a doctor has a responsibility of care to his patients. It is crucial to note, however, that, unlike other personal injury claims such as tripping or falling on public sidewalks, proving negligence on the part of a doctor or hospital when an accident occurs, a sickness is contracted, or a mistake is made can be difficult.
Defending Medical Malpractice Claims
Proving that a doctor was negligent in his or her treatment of a patient is a difficult task, and it’s worth noting that the law only allows you to file a medical negligence claim if you can show ‘on the balance of probability’ that the treatment you received was done in a negligent manner by the healthcare professionals involved, and that this directly caused or contributed to your injury.
While it is difficult to define what exactly constitutes medical negligence and so makes a medical negligence claim viable, there are a number of situations in which it is evident that medical practitioners have failed to uphold their duty of care. These are some of them:
- A mistake or a delay in diagnosing a disease or harm.
- Inaction in the face of test findings
- An error that occurs during the execution of a method or operation.
- Errors in treatment or medication administration
- Insufficient follow-up care
- Failure to completely inform the patient about the hazards connected with operations prior to their administration
Remember that a court will assess whether a competent physician would have operated in the same way as the defendant doctor. Even though the doctor’s activities caused or contributed to the plaintiff’s bodily harm, the doctor’s conduct may not be ruled negligent if it can be demonstrated that they were “reasonable” medical professional acts given the knowledge the doctor had and the specific circumstances.
Damage or Injuries
The first thing to keep in mind when filing a personal injury claim, whether it’s for medical malpractice or not, is that it’s just that: a personal injury claim. As a result of the medical malpractice, the plaintiff must have suffered some type of physical or psychological harm. Even if the doctor or hospital personnel has acted carelessly, even illegally, it is important to remember that a potential plaintiff can only seek compensation for a personal injury loss or damage that he or she has really suffered under civil law. A close miss, unless it can be demonstrated to have caused serious psychological distress, is insufficient to claim compensation.
The Time of First Knowledge
The date of knowledge will almost always be the day on which the damage occurred. As a result, it is critical that an injured person contact a lawyer as soon as possible after an accident. The grim fact is that, with a few exceptions, the right to file a compensation claim will expire exactly two years after the date of discovery. However, there are exceptions, notably in situations of medical malpractice, such as a disease that went undiagnosed owing to a mistake. In medical malpractice cases, determining the date of knowledge can be problematic. Even if it appears to be too late, you should always contact an attorney as soon as possible in such cases since an exemption may apply.
It is crucial to note that in the instance of a minor, the date of awareness of the harm is the minor victim’s eighteenth birthday, implying that time does not begin to run against the wounded newborn until the infant achieves majority (eighteen years of age). Following that, under current legislation, the aggrieved party (who has now achieved the age of majority) has two years to file a lawsuit in court. However, if a parent or guardian acts as the child’s ‘next friend,’ the minor can file a compensation claim before turning eighteen. If your kid has been wounded as a result of the negligence of a medical practitioner, it is nevertheless recommended that you contact a lawyer as soon as possible.
What if my accident was caused by many parties?
After the injured person has been damaged in an accident caused by the irresponsible activities of another party, it is quite likely that negligent treatment will be given (for example, a road traffic accident or an accident at work). This might lead to situations where medical malpractice did not cause the harm, but rather caused it to worsen. It should be emphasized that in such cases, a theory of assigning a ‘percentage’ of blame to the two or more persons who may be responsible for the plaintiff’s injuries may apply, and therefore culpability may be split on a percentage basis amongst the many defendants.
How will the Medical Negligence Claim’s Value be Determined?
Medical Malpractice and Liability Claims
The value of your claim is usually influenced by a number of variables, the first of which is a disagreement between the parties about who is to blame for the accident.
An accident’s cause isn’t always evident. In many cases, one party, such as the medical team that gave treatment, is solely responsible. However, it is also true that more than one, or a combination of events, led to the damage. Furthermore, one of the contributing elements might have been the wounded party’s own fault. So, how does one assign blame? Is the wounded individual entitled to any compensation if he or she contributed, even if insignificantly, to his or her own injuries?
Contributory negligence is the legal idea that an injured party, such as a plaintiff in a medical malpractice lawsuit, may have contributed to his or her own damage by acting negligently when confronted with evident and known situations.
This could include situations where the plaintiff has exacerbated the illness contracted or injury sustained as a result of their doctor’s negligent care by refusing to fully cooperate with follow-up treatment provided (e.g., refusing to take prescribed medication or missing scheduled appointments, etc.) when said care could have helped to cure or alleviate in part the damage sustained.
When contrasted to the defendant’s (or defendants’) carelessness, the magnitude of contributory negligence may either defeat the plaintiff’s case (i.e., the claim will be denied) or diminish the amount of compensation granted.
Suffered a traumatic event
It’s vital to note that you’ll only get compensated for the harm you’ve experienced. The nature of the occurrence is of minor consequence until a psychological harm or trauma can be demonstrated to have happened. However, in negotiations or at trial, your attorney or barrister may point to the dramatic or traumatic aspect of the occurrence in order to put your claim in a more sympathetic light and maybe help your cause.
Special Medical Damages
In general, any specialized medical care that you have had or may require as a result of your injuries experienced in the event can be reimbursed in full or in part.
Kind of Injuries
Regardless of whatever injury causes the individual the most pain, injuries are frequently appraised according to their severity and whether or not they require objective proof (i.e. expert diagnosis) to be believed (e.g. a broken bone or a visible scar versus soft tissue strain). The injury’s durability and persistence are, of course, critical factors.
Is the injury likely to be permanent or have long-term ramifications? Obviously, the bigger the compensation, the longer the symptoms are predicted to last. The victim’s age has an important role as well. A same damage may be ‘worth’ more to a younger plaintiff than to an older plaintiff if the harm is predicted to have long-term consequences. This is owing to the simple reasoning that a younger individual will have to deal with the repercussions for a longer period of time. On a fundamental level, if a 20-year-old loses a limb, the premise is that he or she may be forced to live with the damage for the next 60 years or more. It will be expected that a person who is 70 years old and experiences the same sort of accident will not be disabled for the same amount of time.
Your medical history and documents are crucial in determining the validity of your claim. If you have a history of comparable or identical injuries and treatment for the same body part, this may have a substantial impact on your claim. Perhaps the most important question is whether the medical malpractice was the major cause of the harm or only a contributing element.
Because our employment or occupations are not the most essential aspects of our lives, any medical negligence lawsuit will consider an impairment or loss of quality of life when determining its worth. Because everyone’s hobbies and interests are different, this is a very personal evaluation for each plaintiff. If it can be established that the plaintiff was a keen amateur pianist previous to the accident, a substantial damage to the index finger, for example, may be taken more seriously.
Pain Intensity and Duration of Suffering
The primary goal of any personal injury compensation, whether for medical malpractice or otherwise, is to recompense you for your injury and accompanying suffering. As a result, the more severe the pain and the longer it lasts, the larger the compensation granted is likely to be.
Although this is technically a separate component of the medical negligence action, it frequently creates client confusion and irritation for both attorneys and barristers. Clients sometimes compare their award or settlement to that of a friend or acquaintance who obtained “€40,000 more than me!” for a similar accident. This might be owing to a substantial loss of wages given to a plaintiff as a result of a long absence (or anticipated absence) from employment. Of course, the figure given correlates to that individual’s earning power or potential earning power. The severity of the injury or sickness sustained is only relevant inasmuch as it prevents that individual from working when it comes to the loss of wages (past or future) part of the claim. Of course, personal circumstances will play a role. Depending on the plaintiff’s job, a different sort of damage may have wholly different effects, such as a knee injury for a professional footballer or a facial scar for a model.
Disclaimer: In contentious business, such as personal injury claims, a solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage or proportion of any award or settlement.
Contact Sherlock Solicitors today at email@example.com or on 01 457 0846 to discuss in confidence.