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Top Questions to Ask Your Medical Negligence Lawyer

patient with a serious injury

Medical negligence is an unfortunate but real risk that Australians face every day when undergoing medical treatment in our clinics and hospitals, whether surgical or optional, elective or lifesaving. Most procedures are completed with precision and expertise, but in some cases, malpractice may occur where the medical professional fails to deliver a standard of care that meets the medical community’s norms and presents the patient with a risk of injury, harm, or even death. 

In these circumstances, the guidance and support of medical negligence lawyers can prove invaluable to patients. Facing medical malpractice can make for a troubling time, and that’s why our injury compensation lawyers have produced detailed and helpful answers to some of the most common questions that exposure to medical negligence can create. \

How Long Does a Medical Negligence Claim Take?

A case of medical negligence can have an impact on an individual’s physical and mental health over time, but patience is important in securing the compensation that you’re entitled to. Generally, the complexity of these cases stems from the need for detailed medical evidence and legal arguments, and that’s why it’s difficult to pinpoint an exact duration of how long an individual medical negligence claim can take. 

From the onset of the alleged negligence, it usually takes around 12 months for the injury to stabilise sufficiently, and this period allows a lawyer for medical negligence to collate the necessary evidence to substantiate the claim. Following this, an extra 6 to 12 months may be needed to amass supporting evidence, which might include reviewing medical records and consultation with medical experts. If the case then progresses to court, up to 12 months may be needed for a resolution, but an out-of-court settlement may be achievable.

How Long Medical Negligence Claims Take

Therefore, typical medical negligence claims typically take between 2 to 3.5 years to reach a conclusion, and this owes largely to the intricate medical and legal analyses required. Once the patient’s condition stabilises, both parties can dispute the resolution, but this will further extend its duration. 

What Is the Average Payout for Medical Negligence in Australia?

Facing medical negligence can be physically and emotionally challenging, and it can significantly impact the patient’s future and ability to work. Medical negligence payouts aim to compensate for these unfortunate circumstances, and that’s why these sums can be large. 

Although comprehensive national statistics on the average medical negligence payout amounts are not publicly available, data sets from the Hunter New England Health Service provided information on 105 medical negligence claim payouts from 2016 to 2018. The total sum paid out across these claims was $69 million, and this data therefore suggests an average payout of $650,000 may be applicable per health claim in that region of Australia.

Average Payout for Medical Negligence in Australia

However, it’s important to understand that such substantial payouts typically apply to more serious cases of medical negligence, and the payout that you receive will be determined by the specific circumstances surrounding your case. Therefore, your lawyer for medical negligence cannot provide a concrete figure that you can expect to receive without specific and medically verified information about your case. 

These payouts are not taxable, as they do not fall under the category of income received. Therefore, you do not have to report any compensation or damages payments to the ATO and pay any portion of them as tax to the government. However, for any additional money you have received as a result of your compensation or damages payments, you are required by law to report this to the ATO. This can become a little more complex, but your medical negligence lawyer can assist you in this process to ensure you meet all obligations.

How Much Is My Medical Negligence Claim Worth?

Evaluating the worth of a medical negligence claim is inherently complex, as it heavily depends on the unique circumstances of each case. Understanding past claims can offer some insight into potential payout amounts, but the true value of your claim depends on several personal factors. These include your age, pre-injury income, future earning potential, direct costs incurred from the injury, level of impairment, and more.

Compensation in medical negligence cases range from thousands to millions of dollars, tailored to cover various losses and damages suffered by the claimant. This can include lost income due to time off work, medical and travel expenses for treatments, costs for domestic assistance, future losses including earnings you will miss out on, and compensation for pain and suffering based on the extent of your injuries.

To accurately gauge the potential payout of a medical negligence claim, consulting an experienced medical negligence lawyer is imperative. Through their expertise, along with specialist medical assessments and reports, they can assess the likelihood of success and provide an estimate of the compensation you might be entitled to. This personalised approach ensures that all factors relevant to your situation are considered, offering a clearer picture of the claim’s value.

injured patient speaking with a doctor

How Do You Prove Medical Negligence?

Proving medical negligence requires a careful and thorough process that relies on four critical elements. Firstly, it must be demonstrated that the medical professional in question owed the patient a duty of care – a fundamental aspect of any healthcare provider-patient relationship. Next, the claimant must show that this duty of care was breached, meaning the professional failed to meet the standard of care expected in their field. 

The third requirement involves proving that the patient suffered an injury or damage as a direct consequence of the breach in the standard of care. This could range from physical injuries to psychological trauma. Finally, there must be a clear causal relationship between the medical professional’s negligent actions and the harm sufferred by the patient. This means that the injury or damage was a foreseeable result of the medical professional’s failure.

criteria to prove medical negligence

Medical negligence can manifest in many ways, including through the delayed or incorrect diagnoses, improper medical advice, or inadequate care provision. Successfully proving these elements often requires the expertise of a medical negligence lawyer whose knowledge ensures they meet all necessary criteria for such claims and achieve a fair outcome for the individual. 

Reach Out to An Experienced Lawyer for Medical Negligence

Working through the complex nature of medical negligence claims requires an understanding of their many aspects, from proving negligence to estimate your potential compensation. Each case depends on its own unique circumstances, including the severity of injuries and the impact on one’s life. Given the intricate process and the variability in outcomes, getting in touch with an experienced medical negligence lawyer can provide invaluable. They can provide personalised guidance, assess your situation accurately, and help secure the compensation you deserve, ensuring your rights are protected from start to finish. 

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