Medical Negligence Lawyers Dublin, Limerick, Ireland
During our lives, we will all need to undergo some kind of medical care. Whether you’re visiting your GP at the local practice, attending an out-patient clinic or undergoing surgery, the important point to understand is that you are entitled to expect that medical professionals will discharge their responsibilities for your care with skill and diligence.
If you have suffered as a result of a medical practitioner's negligence, you may be able to make a personal injury claim. Unfortunately, problems do arise where medical treatment has not been carried out properly and has had a negative impact. It is in this context that you may need to consider whether or not your treatment amounts to negligence by a medical professional.
If you have suffered from medical negligence and need advice on whether you are entitled to financial compensation, please contact our team here or call our team on +35316632000
Medical Negligence Legal Advice Dublin, Limerick, Cork, Leinster & Across Ireland
At Sherwin O’Riordan, we are regularly consulted by clients as to whether the treatment they have undergone has fallen below the standard expected of medical professionals. If you are concerned about this, we are here to help.
What is medical negligence under Irish law?
‘Medical Negligence’ can take many forms. Ultimately, it concerns a medical professional who fails to deliver patient treatment at the standard that is expected of them. Examples include, amongst others:
- A negligent delay in diagnosis and treatment;
- A failure in care, such as medication dosage being calculated and/or administered incorrectly;
- An injury caused during surgery or by a particular course of treatment.
How is medical negligence established?
Medical professionals are held to a very high standard, in terms of the level of treatment they are expected to deliver to their patients. Indeed, most practitioners take exceptional care of the individuals they are treating. However, in instances where this does not happen, and negligence is suspected, it must be established that they fell short of the legal duty of care that they owe to you as a patient. This is done by satisfying three different criteria:
- First, you must be able to demonstrate that the healthcare professional owed a duty of care towards you as an individual. In other words, you must be able to show that they had the responsibility to do, or not to do, anything that could cause you to suffer harm. In medical cases, this is usually starightforward;
- Secondly, you must be able to evidence that they failed to discharge their responsibilities to you, i.e. to carry out their responsibilities so as not to cause you to suffer harm. If there is evidence of this, that will in most cases be sufficient to establish that they breached their duty of care;
- Finally, you need to show that the medical professional’s breach of their duty of care towards you actually caused you to suffer harm. This is the most important part of the process of demonstrating negligence on the part of medical professionals. Without causation, there can be no negligence on the part of the practitioner.
How is negligence proved?
A claim of medical negligence depends heavily on the quality of supporting evidence. There are certain things that will figure prominently in any claim of negligence against a medical practitioner. Most important among these are:
- The facts that form the basis of the claim: no court will be able to treat a claim for medical negligence seriously when there is doubt as to its facts. It is important that a timeline is established, that can demonstrate a particular course of treatment;
- Medical knowledge and clinical practice: in deciding whether or not you have suffered from medical care that was negligent, a court will need to be informed of the state of medical practice at the relevant time. This will normally be provided by expert witnesses, who will be able to identify whether or not care was within or without accepted clinical practices.
When is the deadline for making a claim for medical negligence?
Given the complex nature of medical negligence claims, there are strict deadlines regarding the timeframe for dealing with them. In Ireland, the law will only allow claims for medical negligence to be made if they are brought within two years from the date that you became aware of your injury. In most cases although not all, this will be the same point at which you underwent treatment or shortly after.
What is the outcome of a successful claim?
In claims for medical negligence, the court will aim to make an award that puts the patient in the same position – so far as they can – that they were in before they underwent medical treatment. This will normally involve payment of some level of financial compensation, in the event of a successful claim being made. However, the courts will determine the level of the award that is appropriate, taking a number of things into consideration when doing so, including:
- The level of harm that you suffered, and any long term consequences;
- The finances required to remedy the negligent treatment or provide for ongoing care; and
- The financial investment in bringing the claim before the courts.
It is almost impossible to give exacting detail on the level of compensation one or another claim for medical negligence could attract. Minor injuries will generally attract less compensation while more severe, long-lasting injuries that compromise a patient’s quality of life will tend to be of greater value.
Contact the Medical Negligence Team at Sherwin O’Riordan Solicitors
The law in this particular field is quite complex, and must be handled by solicitors that understand how to approach medical negligence claims. Furthermore, it is important that the case is handled by solicitors who appreciate the work involved. There is a lot of investigation required in compiling and analysing medical records, interviewing experts, conducting complicated negotiations and, where necessary, presenting arguments in court.
At Sherwin O’Riordan, we have developed particular expertise in dealing with claims for medical negligence. If you are concerned about the effect medical treatment has had on you, speak to our team of expert medical negligence solicitors today. We will listen to your concerns, and be able to investigate whether or not you have a potential claim for medical negligence. Please contact us and see how we can help.
Meet the head of our Dublin medical negligence injury lawyers team