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New laws are needed in Queensland to give interim financial payments to assist the victims of medical malpractice and their struggling families, according to Slater and Gordon lawyers.
Slater and Gordon, Medical Law lawyer, Margaret Brain said Queensland should adopt similar laws to New South Wales that allowed a person to apply for an interim payment from their medical compensation claim.
Ms Brain said that it can take years before compensation claims are resolved and this means that families were being forced to cover the costs incurred as a result of medical negligence.
“Medical negligence claims can take years to resolve because they are very complex cases. There is a lot of evidence and expert advice that has to be gathered and considered.
“This is particularly the case for medical negligence claims involving small children. In those cases you usually must wait to see what the long-term and permanent injuries will be and some of this can only be assessed as the child develops.
“But what this means is that it can be years before a claim can be finalised and that person or child and their family, must wait before they can see any financial compensation.
“In the meantime, these families are left to cover any bills that must be paid in relation to the injury. This includes medical bills, rehabilitation expenses and any costs associated with home modifications or medical aids such as wheelchairs.”
“Access to interim payments would go a long way to assisting families who already have to cope with the radical and traumatic adjustment in their lives after someone has suffered an injury following a medical procedure. It means help earlier to those struggling and in dire circumstances as they await the finalisation of their claim.”
In NSW the Civil Procedure Act 2005, sets out a process to apply for an interim payment order. It provides for a fairly straightforward process, provided that the case is clear cut and there is no real doubt about a breach of duty, causation or damage.
Mr Brain has written to the Attorney-General asking that he consider the law changes.