Why will the Injuries Board Ireland decline to assess a compensation claim for a wrong disc removed in an operation?

Eoin P. Campbell, LL.B., Solicitor

Editor in Chief

Eoin P. Campbell

A compensation claim for a wrong disc removed in an operation is categorised as a personal injury claim attributable to medical negligence and, under the Personal Injury Assessment Board (PIAB) Act of 2003, falls outside of the Injury Board Ireland´s remit to assess compensation for a personal injury. This means that, although you may have an indisputable claim for compensation for the removal of the wrong disc, you will still require the services of a medical negligence solicitor to help pursue your case.

Despite their being no defence in a claim for wrong disc removal, a solicitor acting on your behalf would have to establish who the negligent party was. The removal of the wrong disc could be attributable to the surgeon who performed your operation, a member of the theatre staff who provided the surgeon with the wrong instructions or the administration department who prepared the theatre notes prior to your procedure.

Once liability has been established, it is also important that your claim for wrong disc removal takes into account all the consequences of the medical error to ensure you are properly compensated. This means that in addition to the pain and suffering of going through a second operation to remove the correct damaged disc, you should also be entitled to compensation for the extended deterioration in your quality of life during a second recovery period and any financial costs that are incurred during this time.

Even though your compensation claim for a wrong disc removed in an operation is being handled with the assistance of a solicitor, you still have the same two year time limit in which to initiate a claim for wrong disc removal as you would have if your claim was processed by the Injuries Board Ireland. Nonetheless, you should still make contact with a solicitor at the first practical opportunity, because there is also the risk that you may be approached directly by the negligent party´s insurance company with an unsolicited offer of compensation for the removal of the wrong disc.

As it is likely that the medical practitioner who identified that the wrong disc had been removed (possibly your GP) then reported the error to the hospital at which the procedure was carried out; the hospital or Health Service Executive might have started their own internal enquiry into how the removal of the wrong disc occurred and already established liability before a compensation claim for a wrong disc removed in an operation is made.

With there being no defence in a claim for wrong disc removal, the negligent party´s insurers will encourage you to accept their offer of compensation for the removal of the wrong disc which – without a full assessment of your injury and the consequences to your quality of life – could be completely inappropriate. If you have engaged the services of a medical negligence solicitor, you will be able to avoid the risk of being undercompensated and ensure you receive a full and adequate settlement of your compensation claim for a wrong disc removed in an operation.