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Medical Negligence Claims

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How long do I have to make a claim?

Across Australia time limits apply to your right to bring a claim in negligence. If you think you may have a claim or you have an inquiry about the treatment you have received, you should contact our medical negligence lawyers as soon as possible. 

Medical negligence is a particularly complex area of law and any potential claim must be investigated thoroughly. To avoid losing your right to sue for damages, you and your lawyer must act quickly.

What are some examples of a medical negligence claim?

There are as many examples of medical cases as there are differing medical treatments and procedures. A medical negligence claim may even arise from poor communication from doctors - this can give rise to a claim based on the failure to warn of risks involved in treatment.

Sometimes medical treatment gives rise to legal issues other than medical malpractice or negligence.

As medical science and technology evolves and advances, the law surrounding medical treatment becomes more and more complicated. Patients (and their doctors) may need legal advice about special treatment options, issues of consent to and refusal of treatment and the rights and responsibilities of patients and their families. The growing field of fertility treatment, for instance has particular challenges for the law and medicine. Another topical example is medical tourism, where medical treatment is obtained in other countries.

Occasionally the unexpected conception or delivery of a child is a result of medical negligence, and can have significant consequences both in terms of the care and support needs of the child (particularly if the child suffers from a disability) and the impacts of the pregnancy and childrearing on the carer. 

Our lawyers are able to advise you in these circumstances:

Slater and Gordon offer not only expert advice about medical negligence claims but are able to assist with general and urgent enquiries about you or your family’s treatment rights.

What happens if I win a medical negligence claim?

If you can prove that your injury was caused by negligent treatment, you may be eligible for financial compensation. Compensation for negligence is intended to reimburse you for the costs of your injury. It is not intended to punish the negligent party. The amount of money awarded in compensation reflects the level of pain and loss suffered, not the nature of the negligent treatment.

Compensation may be paid for:

  • General damages for pain and suffering and the loss of enjoyment of life;
  • The cost of medical expenses and treatment arising from your injury;
  • The lost wages and income caused by the injury; and in some cases you may be able to receive compensation for the care provided to you by family or friends, even when that care was provided at no charge.

Additional lump sum benefit

Many superannuation funds provide coverage for a disability insurance benefit, often referred to as a Total Permanent Disability (TPD) benefit. This insurance cover, if provided under your superannuation, is a benefit additional to the contributions that you and/or your employer have made to your superannuation fund during the period of your membership. Most people are unaware or forget that this insurance cover is in place. 

Whether you can make a claim for a superannuation disability benefit will depend on a number of factors - particularly, whether this insurance cover is provided under your superannuation. See more information on claiming your superannuation.