What are the types of medical negligence?

There are many types of medical negligence such as:

  • Delayed/misdiagnosis of a condition for example cancer
  • Surgical errors
  • Birth injuries to the mother for example vaginal or anal sphincter injury
  • Birth injury to babies for example cerebral palsy
  • Neurological injury
  • Amputation of limbs

Why should I start a medical negligence claim?

Suffering harm because of medical negligence is very serious and can have huge negative impact on a person and their family. The law in Ireland gives people a way to obtain compensation for this harm and other losses which can go some way to helping recovery and quality of life. Also, when errors are highlighted, it may stop their recurrence on other people and help improve medical care generally.

Can I start a medical negligence claim?

We can only answer that when we understand the query fully and have a supportive report from an independent expert (usually based in the UK) that states your medical treatment by a healthcare professional was substandard.

Can I make a claim on behalf of a child or other person?

Yes, a child in law is considered any person under the age of 18 and you as their parent or guardian can start a claim on their behalf. The settlement payment once approved by the court will be lodged in the court office until the child turns 18. You can also take legal action for someone who has been injured but does not have the legal capacity to pursue a claim themselves, for example, a person who does not have the mental capacity such as suffering dementia or a brain injury. You may also be able to seek compensation where a family member has sadly died because of negligent medical treatment.

How do I make a medical negligence claim?

The starting point is to contact us, and we can begin the process of investigation to see if you have a case. We will discuss and take detailed notes from you and take up your medical records for examination. We can then identify the independent expert most suited to your situation who will provide a report as to whether your medical treatment fell below what is acceptable and also comment on whether your injury was likely caused by that treatment.

How long do medical negligence claims take?

There are a lot of different factors which effect how long a claim will take. Generally, a claim should take two years from when you issue legal proceedings but it can be longer. We work hard to move your case along quickly but there can be factors outside our control which can delay your case, but we seek to minimise these wherever possible. It is possible however in cases where the injured person is terminally ill for example to fast track the case and cases have been finished in a matter of weeks or months which would normally take upward of two years.

Will I need to undergo a medical examination?

Usually yes at some point. This will help document your injury and losses to support your claim for compensation. The defendant (the person or entity you are suing) through their legal representatives will usually seek you examined by their own doctor or expert of their choosing for their side.

Will I need to go to court?

That always remains a possibility, however most medical negligence cases will settle privately between the two sides. If you do have to go to court, we will look after you and ensure you have no concerns and understand what is likely to happen.

Will I be identified in court?

Generally, most cases will settle privately without the need to go to into court.  However, with cases that reach court privacy can be maintained with reporting restrictions at the direction of the judge if there are certain sensitivities involved.

Can I take a medical negligence case against the HSE?

Yes, if the hospital is part of the HSE as some hospitals are not or are private hospitals. It is important to understand that the Clinical Indemnity Scheme covers claims against the HSE and compensation payments and legal costs are not paid out of HSE budget. Also claims are not made against individual named doctors or consultants but the HSE only as their employer. Highlighting inadequate medical treatment by making a claim against the HSE may help prevent it happening to someone else.

Can I take a medical negligence case against one of the private clinics?

Yes, that is certainly possible if the care you received was substandard and caused you harm. The private clinics are required to have the appropriate insurances in place to cover compensation claims against them for errors. Our experience over the years tell us unfortunately quite a lot of medical negligence claims arise from private clinics.

Will making a claim effect my treatment?

This is a common concern we find clients of ours have and the answer is no.  You will still be entitled to medical care and that cannot be denied because you have a compensation claim made. If you are concerned you can let us know and we will be able to advise you on any specific concerns, you may have.

How do I fund my claim?

Outlays will arise along the way for expert report fees and court service tax on your pleadings. You can fund these from your own resources, credit union or bank loan or indeed we can recommend you a company that will fund these. We can also discuss your own particular circumstances and tailor things to suit. These outlays you pay along the way are recovered from the other side and refunded back to you after your case is over.

What are your fees?

Except in very limited circumstances, we do not charge fees or any deductions from your medical negligence compensation payment. We can do this because your legal costs will be paid separately by the other side which we negotiate and accept after your case has settled.  We will send you a detailed letter setting out how fees and charges are applied so you know exactly what to expect.

What are the different types of compensation?

Compensation (damages) is generally divided into general damages (compensation for pain and suffering) and special damages (compensation for out-of-pocket expenses). In medical negligence claims the special damages can be very significant. For example, loss of earnings could be significant or lifelong 24-hour nursing care, alternative or home adaptations and aids and equipment including assistive technology.  For further information on the different types of compensation payable click here: Compensation in Medical Negligence Cases

How much compensation can I claim for medical negligence?

This all depends on the level of harm suffered and losses incurred by you or your loved one. No two cases are the same however as experienced medical negligence solicitors we would have a very good idea what to expect for you. That will become clear when we understand fully the injury and losses which can take time to learn. For that reason, it is usually difficult to advise you at the outset but as the claim proceeds and we learn more about your injury and future needs we can certainly give a good indication of how much compensation to expect.

How long do I have to claim for medical negligence?

The law in Ireland states that legal proceedings must issue within two years from the date of injury. This becomes a little more blurred in cases of medical negligence as often it is not clear when the incident giving rise to the claim occurred or more usually that the injured person did not know of the negligence until much later such as when they obtained their medical records or perhaps obtained an independent expert report informing them that their treatment was likely negligent and this is known as the ‘date of knowledge’ test. There are exceptions to this however.  Our best advice really is to contact a specialist medical negligence solicitor without delay to protect yourself/your loved one against the strict time limits.

The law is generally unforgiving if there is undue delay commencing legal proceedings and if you suspect that you or a loved one may have been harmed from negligent medical treatment you should consult with a specialist medical negligence solicitor without delay to ensure your legal rights are protected.

Can I claim from the ‘date of knowledge’ of negligence rather than the two year date of injury?

Possibly and it very much depends on the particular facts. By way of example if you underwent negligently performed surgery in June 2017 but it did not become apparent that the problems with your health stemmed from that surgery until November 2019 then you would have until November 2021 to issue your legal proceedings and bring your claim. It might become apparent to you in November 2019 when you are told of the connection for example or you contact a specialist medical negligence solicitor because you suspect something may have gone wrong and an independent report is obtained which tells you that. It is from that point on that the law would consider you on notice so to speak and the two year time limit begins to run.

Are there any exceptions to the usual two-year rule?

There are certain exceptions for example children and the clock for them does not begin to run until they turn 18. If they are not relying on ‘date of knowledge’ they must start their legal proceedings before their 20th birthday.  Other exceptions can include persons with a mental disability and the law does not necessarily impose a strict two year limitation on that category of people. Furthermore with fatal injury claims – these can be brought within two years from the date of your loved one’s death or the ‘date of the knowledge’ of the person for whose benefit the action is brought, whichever is the latest.

What happens if the time for a medical negligence claim has expired?

Firstly you should seek professional legal advice from a specialist medical negligence solicitor and if it turns out that the time allowed has expired then unfortunately you cannot bring the claim successfully.

Is it possible to get an extension on the time limit for medical negligence claims?

No the law is quite clear on time limits and its exceptions. If there is some doubt as to whether there is medical negligence or not it is far better to start legal proceedings which ‘stops the clock’. Once legal proceedings are issued they do not have to be served for 12 months and this should be enough time for investigating whether or not there is negligence causing your injury.

Contact us

As medical negligence solicitors we would be happy to hear from you if you suspect you might have suffered harm from medical negligence. It is important you seek advice as soon as possible to protect your legal rights. If you think you may have cause to pursue a medical negligence compensation claim in Ireland please feel free to reach out to us below.

For advice on medical negligence, feel free to contact our solicitors to discuss your case. To contact one of our medical negligence claims solicitors please call 0818 888 555 or WhatsApp/call 087 398 7386 or complete our online enquiry form Initial advice is at no obligation and we will explain the next steps.

What is ‘breach of duty of care’ in medical negligence claims?

 

Contact Us

Get In Touch

Dublin

77 Camden Street Lower, Dublin 2, D02 XE80

Cork

Cube Building, Monahan Road, Cork, T12 H1XY