Medical Negligence Solicitors – Personal Injury Compensation Claims - Australia

LAWYER HELPLINE: 1800 633 090



Australia has one of the highest incidences of medical negligence in the world. Most of the larger Australian firms of medical negligence solicitors as well as some of the smaller niche firms have a large department dedicated to this type of personal injury. On the face of it medical negligence appears to be similar to other personal injuries however the way it is dealt with in law is very different with a unique definition of negligence and a set of protocols that only applies to this type of legal action. Our solicitors have Law Society Specialist Accreditation in Personal Injury (Medical Negligence). If you decide to instruct us in your claim, we will zealously represent you and leave no stone unturned in our quest for maximum compensation. Our medical negligence solicitors offer the no win no fee scheme and compensation is paid in full. You will not have to fund or finance the cost of your solicitor’s time as the case proceeds. We offer free legal advice to establish whether or not you have a viable claim. Just use the helpline or email our offices and a specialist medical negligence solicitor will phone to discuss your matter. We will take brief details over the phone and give you our initial views on liability and the anticipated value of a successful compensation claim. If after speaking to us you decide not to proceed further you are under no obligation to do so and you will not be charged for our advice.If you have been injured by the negligence of a healthcare professional including a doctor, dentist, nurse or technician and would like to speak to a medical negligence solicitor, call us today.

Medical Negligence Definition

The definition of what constitutes medical negligence varies dependant on location. In some states common law applies and a doctor’s behaviour is judged by comparing the allegedly erroneous behaviour with that of peers working in similar circumstances whereas in other places the standard is set by legislation. There are exceptions to the general rules and treatment may be considered to be negligent if it is irrational and peer comparison does not have to be universal provided that a substantial body of medical practitioner would have approved. In all cases the courts will decide the issue following consideration of the evidence and after hearing expert witnesses.

Time Limits

Upon taking initial instructions a medical negligence solicitor will ensure that the court time limits have not expired. A personal injury compensation claim must be settled or proceedings must have been issued in a court of law within three years of the negligent act or within three years of discovery of the negligence. Failure to comply with these time constraints may mean that the opportunity to claim compensation is lost forever. There are exceptions to the basic three year rule for minors and the mentally disabled. In the case of minors the three year period does not start to run until the eighteenth birthday and in the case of the mentally disabled time does not start to run until full mental capacity has returned. In addition the court does have a wide discretion with regards to time limits which is rarely exercised.

Negligent Acts

There are any number of negligent acts that can result in a medical negligence solicitor taking legal action. The most common issues are outlined below :-

  • failure to diagnose
  • delay in diagnosis
  • delay in treatment
  • medication errors
  • prescription errors
  • delayed care
  • misdiagnosis
  • failure to advice on alternative treatment
  • Inadequate treatment
  • negligent surgery
  • inadequate post-operative care
  • Failure to disclose risk to patient
  • wrong side surgery
  • failure to refer patent to a specialist
  • equipment failure
  • failure to properly interpret text result
  • lost records

Negligence Law in Australia

The law in Australia is generally based on a federal system with each state or territory having its own individual legislation on a particular topic and if no such legislation exists the applicable law is known as ‘common law’ which has grown up over the years based on the equitable decisions made by judges in earlier cases which can differ dependent on location. Some statutes are passed by the Government of Australia and do apply nationally however in the case of medical negligence claims whilst there are moves afoot to unify the law on a national basis at the moment each state or territory has its own law.

In some parts of Australia the common law applies to medical negligence claims and in other areas there is legislation. Where the common law applies courts do not judge a doctors conduct by comparing it to other medical practitioners but apply absolute standards A common law medical negligence claim will succeed if the standard of care did not reach the level demanded by the law in that particular location.

Recent legislative changes applying to medical negligence claims in some states have established that a doctor will not be judged to have been negligent if their conduct was such that a substantial body of the medical profession would have acted in a similar manner faced with the same situation provided that the approach to the treatment was considered to be logical. The mere fact that the chosen treatment has failed and alternative treatment may have succeeded does not establish negligence in these circumstances.

Medical Negligence Solicitors - Compensation Awards

The main reason for employing a medical negligence solicitor is to ensure that you have the best opportunity to successfully claim compensation. The calculation of damages that are likely to be awarded by a judge is no easy matter however our medical negligence solicitors will asses the anticipated award at an early stage and will incorporate that figure into the court documents for consideration by the judge. Medical negligence solicitors divide awards of compensation into two main types being damages that can be accurately calculated on a mathematical basis special damages) and damages that must be assessed (general damages) by a Judge using previous case law as guidance. In addition interest may also be payable.

    Special Damages

    • loss of Income
    • gratuitous assistance / free domestic care
    • out-of-pocket expenses
    • medical expenses
    • lost wages
    • travelling expenses
    • special aids
    • home alterations
    • general expenses
    • cost of paid care

    General Damages

    • pain & suffering
    • loss of amenable employment
    • loss of lifestyle
    • loss of consortium
    • loss of physical capacity
    • loss of mental capacity
    • disfigurement
    • disadvantage on the job market

    Wrongful Death

    Where death arises from surgical mistakes, GP negligence, medical mistakes and accident and emergency negligence it may be possible to start a wrongful death compensation claim. If you believe that a loved one passed away because of medical negligence you may be able to claim compensation. It goes without saying that a medical practitioner owes their patient a duty of care and if that medical practitioner failed to reach a reasonable standard of care they may be guilty of medical negligence and be liable to pay compensation. Our medical negligence solicitors can help you to claim for pain & suffering, loss of income, psychological distress and loss of quality of life. There are two parts to a wrongful death compensation claim being the deceased's own claim and a claim for the survivor or next of kin or dependant. It is necessary to prove the duty of care, failure to meet the necessary standard of care and make a connection between the failures and the death bearing in mind tat the patient was already ill prior to diagnosis and treatment. You must be in a position of legal entitlement which is determined by family relationship or a proven dependant of the deceased person. The normal rules about time limitation apply in wrongful death cases. It is always advisable for a member of the family or a solicitor on their behalf to attend the coroners inquest to take written notes as the evidence given may be relevant to a subsequent medical negligence compensation claim.

    LAWYER HELPLINE: 1800 633 090

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