Medical Negligence

Medical procedures are supposed to improve our health and well-being, but occasionally, a patient’s situation can be made even worse by a negligent medical intervention.

Medical negligence claims are, generally speaking, technically more difficult to prove than other personal injury negligence claims such as road accidents, public liability etc.  This is because the circumstances that have to be investigated are often complex and often require a considerable amount of medical expertise to analyse and come to a conclusion as to whether or not there has been negligence on behalf of the medical practitioner. 

Generally speaking, medical negligence claims come under the following categories: 

  • a failure to diagnose or an incorrect diagnosis resulting in injury or pain and suffering; 
  • surgical procedures carried out unnecessarily or incompetently resulting in injury and disability; 
  • failure to warn about the risks of any particular procedure or treatment; 
  •  failure to refer to the appropriate specialist or a delay in making that referral resulting in a poor result. 
  • incorrect prescription of drugs or medication; 
  • poor management of labour causing serious or catastrophic injuries to the baby.

To bring a successful medical negligence claim, it is necessary to prove that the standard of care provided was below that expected of a competent professional and it was the cause of the injury or disability. 

Due to the fact that not all poor results from medical treatment are as a result of negligence, the question of liability has to be investigated very carefully.  It requires experience to know where to look and what questions to ask and the type of medical evidence required to prosecute the claim. 

We have been conducting medical negligence claims for over 30 years, from relatively minor claims right through to catastrophic birth injuries resulting in settlements of over $7 million. 

It is important to approach medical negligence claims carefully and to investigate them thoroughly before deciding to issue legal proceedings. 

We pride ourselves on being able to explain to people how a medical negligence claim works and the steps required to conduct an investigation. 

Time limits 

As in all personal injury negligence claims in South Australia, legal proceedings must be issued within 3 years of the date of the negligent act. 

In certain circumstances, an extension of time can be obtained, but it is best to make sure your investigations are carried out as early as possible, and a decision made whether or not to pursue the claim well within the 3 years. 

Coroner’s inquests 

If a member of your family has died in circumstances requiring a coronial investigation, we can apply our expertise to assist you in providing or understanding evidence given at the inquest. 

First interview 

Your first interview on a medical negligence case will be with a partner or senior solicitor who will spend whatever time is necessary to take an initial history and provide initial advice. 

We strongly recommend that you attend these appointments with a family member for support. 

We will not charge you for that interview if you decide not to proceed with us. 

“No win, no fee” 

As in all other areas, this firm offers a “no win, no fee” option, and that will be discussed with you in more detail at your first appointment. 

To make a claim you must be able to show there was some form of medical negligence and that you suffered in some way as a result. To assess your situation under this criteria, call PMN Lawyers for a free initial assessment of your claim.