Patients can suffer preventable injuries as a result of medical care gone wrong, despite the best efforts by doctors and other health professionals. Medical negligence claims can be made in certain circumstances to recover compensation for injuries you – or someone close to you – have suffered; however, claiming compensation for medical negligence in Ireland can be extremely complicated.
Money is not usually the main motivation for filing a claim if you have been injured as a result of medical malpractice. The judicial system, on the other hand, can only give monetary compensation. Litigation may be used to secure an apology or to highlight poor practices among healthcare professionals. If a claim is successful, the one certainty is that cash compensation will be awarded.
It is impossible to quantify the amount of compensation you will get for your claim. People sometimes believe that particular injuries automatically entitle them to huge cash compensations, but when you file a claim, your personal suffering, pain, recovery time, and any financial effect must all be considered. You should be paid for both your injuries and financial losses.
What qualifies as medical negligence in Ireland?
Medical negligence is used to describe any “adverse occurrence” caused by a medical professional or a medical facility’s agent making a mistake. Doctors, dentists, plastic surgeons, psychiatric, nurses, consultants, chiropractors, opticians, hospital managers, lab technicians, and others could be among the probable negligent parties. These medical professionals might be state workers or work at a private medical facility, and they could be covered by medical insurance or be compensated by the state.
However, in order for an adverse incident to be considered a direct result of negligence, it must be demonstrated that a competent healthcare professional would have chosen an alternative course of action that would have prevented the injury sustained from occurring “at the time and in the circumstances.”
As a result, clinical negligence claims will not be viable if you have incurred financial losses, an injury, or the worsening of an existing ailment as a result of a medical practitioner’s conduct – or omission – that is deemed to be acceptable practice in the circumstances.
What can be claimed for in a case of medical negligence claims?
Special damages – These damages address the financial aspects of the victim’s life as a result of medical malpractice. A victim may be unable to return to work for a period of time following the accident, necessitating time off, and special damages will be used to recoup the money lost.
Travel expenditures to and from appointments, pharmaceutical costs, care, and home adaptations so that victims can function on their own or alternative accommodations are all examples of such damages. However, depending on the specifics of the case, this list might cover additional financial considerations.
General damages – Physical injuries fall under general damages. The compensation award is determined by the severity of your medical negligence injuries. Physical and emotional injuries are also included in general damages. If you were left handicapped, scarred, or sick as a direct result of medical negligence, you qualify for compensation in Ireland. Clinical negligence can result in emotional injuries like stress, anxiety, and depression.
The process of making a medical negligence compensation claim
The process for filing a medical negligence claim in Ireland will vary depending on the nature of your injuries and whether you were a private or public patient when the damages occurred. Because medical negligence cases are so complicated, the Injuries Board will turn down applications for medical negligence compensation assessment and provide you with Authorization to pursue your claim for medical negligence compensation through the courts.
However, before initiating legal proceedings, you must go through the following steps to verify that you have a valid medical negligence compensation claim and the medical records to back it up:
Making a Complaint
According to the Office of the Ombudsman, the initial step should be to file an official complaint with the medical facility or practitioner responsible for the treatment that led to the medical accidents. We advise that your complaint be written by medical negligence lawyers, not only to give weight to the complaint but also to eliminate any potential inconsistencies when filing a medical negligence compensation claim later.
Launch an investigation
Once you have sought legal action, a lawyer will ask for your medical documents and have them examined by independent specialists in that particular field of treatment. A parallel inquiry should be underway at the medical facility where you got the improper treatment, and if you do not obtain an acceptable answer to your complaint in a fair length of time, you can request a review by the Health Service Executive.
Letter of claim
A Letter of Claim is sent to the alleged negligent doctor, outlining the nature of your claim and inviting them to make an offer of settlement in respect of your injury. This is usually done after your solicitor has consulted independent experts and established that you can claim compensation.
Although the chances of getting an admission of liability from the concerned party within the required time limit are low – especially if your claim is against the HSE – you’re likely to be approached by dubious medical insurance companies. If that happens, direct them to your solicitor.
What factors will be taken into account in a medical negligence claim?
When determining how much financial compensation you should receive, the courts will consider a number of factors. The following are some of the most common factors that courts consider:
- The type and severity of your mental or physical injury
- How much pain and suffering you have gone through
- Medical costs of continuous treatments, drugs, and care
- Lost earnings, including all future earnings in salary and pension
- The effect of the injury on your mental well-being and day-to-day life
- The cost of making modifications to your residence, such as adding a stairlift
- The cost of additional medical equipment, such as a wheelchair
Medical negligence compensation calculator
Because no two medical negligence compensation claims are the same, it’s nearly difficult to get an exact estimate of how much compensation you qualify for using an online compensation calculator. If you feel you have been a victim of medical malpractice in Ireland, you should speak with expert personal injury solicitors who will evaluate your situation and gather the necessary medical evidence before giving you an estimate of the amount of compensation you can expect.
Speak to a solicitor
Medical negligence claims remain a complicated area of Irish law. It is in your best interests to speak with a solicitor as soon as possible about the nature of your injury, loss, or unnecessary development of an existing condition. Get in touch with a medical negligence solicitor for free to address any questions you may have regarding your right to compensation and how to proceed with your clinical negligence claim.