What is medical negligence?
In order to establish a claim for medical negligence the claimant must prove:
- The medical professional owed a duty of care
- The medical professional breached that duty of care by failing to conform to standard of care
- The claimant suffered damage as a result of the breach of duty of care
- That the damage suffered was caused by the breach of duty of care
How long do I have to make a claim?
Generally a claimant has 2 years from the date;
- of the injury occurred; or
- when the claimant had the required knowledge that they suffered an injury for example, if the injury occurred to a child, the child then has 2 years from the date of their 18th birthday to bring her claim.
If you do not make your claim within the strict time limits your case will become extinguished. While 2 years may seem plentiful the reality is that it can be quite tight as you will have to comply with a number of steps before making your claim. For example, you will have to obtain all the medical records, notes, scans x-rays etc. from the hospital and treating medical practitioners. It is then necessary to obtain a report from a medico legal expert usually from an expert outside of Ireland.
How do I make a claim?
Unlike the other personal injury cases a claimant does not have to submit their claim to the injuries board. Once you have a report from the medico legal expert you can then issue legal proceedings. The requirement for such a report is to prevent people making vexatious claims against the medical practitioner.
How long does it take to make a claim?
While there is a 2 year limitation period to commence proceedings it is very unlikely that your case will conclude within this period. Medical negligence is a complex area of law and cases can run for a number of years before concluding. This is increasingly the case where the medical professional does not accept liability and fully defends the proceedings with a full legal team. Other factors delaying settlement include obtaining the relevant records from the medical professional, obtaining a report from the medico legal expert and the trial itself.
How is compensation calculated?
There are 2 types of compensation:
- General damages
- Special damages
General damages is compensation for pain and suffering caused by a third party which includes both physical and mental injury.
Special damages are aimed at putting the claimant in the position they would have been but for the injuries caused. This includes compensation for loss of present and future earnings, medical expenses and devices and aids that may be required by the claimant, now and into the future.
Calculation and estimation of damages in complex medical negligence cases requires the input of many professionals on your team. We will engage actuaries and other professional experts to calculate to the best estimate of the likely costs you may endure and open these to the Court, so the Judge may use that evidence when he or she calculates your award. This is a very important step in bringing your case to a close so as to ensure you are adequately compensated for the loss and damage you have endured as a result of the negligence of a medical professional.
We are expert Medical Negligence Solicitors at MBSolicitors and we aim to give you a dedicated and personal legal service.
*In a contentious matter a solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage of or proportion of any award or settlement.