Medical Negligence Solicitors in Ireland

Medical negligence solicitors in Ireland are legal professionals with specialised experience in helping people make claims for compensation after they have suffered an avoidable loss, an injury or the deterioration of an existing condition due to a mistake made by a member of the medical profession.

Although the general standard of healthcare in Ireland is very good – despite a difficult financial climate – when an avoidable error is made which, on the balance of probabilities, would not have been made by a competent medical practitioner in the same circumstances, victims of medical negligence and their families are entitled to claim compensation.

In order to determine what constitutes medical negligence, understand what is meant by the “balance of probabilities” and establish that you have a claim for medical negligence compensation which is worth your while to pursue it is in your best interests to discuss the circumstances of your claim with medical negligence solicitors in Ireland at the earliest possible opportunity.

Medical Negligence Solicitors and Sensitive Issues

When you or somebody close to you has been let down professionally by somebody in whom you had placed your trust, it can be difficult to then place your trust in another professional and speak freely with medical negligence solicitors about making a claim for compensation. Medical negligence solicitors are aware of this issue and treat each enquiry received with the utmost sensitivity.

No two medical negligence claims for compensation are identical. Medical negligence compensation claims in Ireland are based on each individual´s circumstances, with factors such as age, gender and the victim´s state of health prior to an incidence of medical negligence all being considered before the consequences of a medical error are considered by medical negligence solicitors in Ireland.

The concept of making a claim for compensation against a family doctor, a young nurse or a surgeon who has performed many successful operations on family members in the past makes a lot of people uncomfortable, and this is why medical negligence solicitors should always be consulted on occasions when you – or somebody close to you – has suffered an avoidable loss, an injury or the deterioration of an existing condition due to a mistake made by a member of the medical profession.

What Constitutes Medical Negligence in Ireland

In order to make a claim for medical negligence in Ireland, a medical practitioner who owed you a duty of care must have made an error which resulted in an avoidable loss, injury or the deterioration of an existing condition. There are a number of cases in which situations occur which could not have been foreseen and in which an injury has occurred which could not have been avoided. One of the roles of medical negligence solicitors is to establish which injuries are attributable to medical negligence and which could not have been avoided in any circumstance.

In order to prove medical negligence, medical negligence solicitors will engage the services of medical professionals to examine the victim and establish that on the “balance of probabilities” a different, or competent, medical practitioner would have taken a different course of action “at the time and in the circumstances” which would have avoided a loss, an injury or the deterioration of an existing condition occurring. Thereafter, medical negligence solicitors in Ireland will press forward with a claim for medical negligence – alleging that the medical practitioner displayed a poor professional performance due to a lack of skills or the failure to demonstrate their skills.

This is, of course, only if a claim for medical negligence is worth your while to pursue. Depending on the extent and severity of the injury, your general state of health at the time medical negligence took place and the contribution to an injury that can be apportioned to a medical practitioner, how much medical negligence compensation you are entitled to receive may not justify the resources and expenses of bringing a medical negligence claim to court. This is one of the reasons that it is important to consult medical negligence solicitors as soon as possible after you believe that you, or somebody close to you, have been the victim of medical negligence in Ireland.

Making a Medical Negligence Claim in Ireland

A further reason for speaking with medical negligence solicitors in Ireland at the earliest possible opportunity is that the Injuries Board declines to assess applications for assessment in cases of medical negligence. This is due to the fact that a successful claim for medical negligence compensation relies on medical opinion rather than cold, hard fact – irrespective of the strength of your claim or in the unlikely event that a medical practitioner´s insurance company admit liability immediately.

Claims for compensation are prepared by medical negligence solicitors and then sent to any party who may have been responsible for your loss, injury or deterioration. This could be a health authority, a hospital, a medical practice or an individual depending on the nature of the medical negligence that has taken place. If liability is admitted after a claim has been made, medical negligence solicitors then enter into negotiations with the negligent party´s insurers to obtain the best possible settlement of your medical negligence compensation claim.

In the event that a claim is contested, it may be necessary to litigate the medical negligence claim in court. Whether an appearance in the High Court is necessary will depend on the value of the compensation claim. Many claims for medical negligence compensation in Ireland are heard in the Circuit Civil Court, especially when the value of such claims is anticipated to be below €38,092.14. When medical negligence solicitors have constructed a sufficiently strong medical negligence claim on your behalf, the most likely outcome is an out-of-court settlement.

Examples of Medical Negligence in Ireland

It would be impossible to compile a comprehensive list of examples of medical negligence in Ireland as there are so many different ways in which medical negligence can occur. The following selection illustrates just some of the things that can go wrong in doctor´s surgeries, healthcare establishments and hospitals which could justify a claim for medical negligence compensation in Ireland.

Birth Injury Medical Negligence – Avoidable injuries can happen to both the mother and infant during the delivery process, resulting in children sustaining lifelong disabilities such as brachial plexus injuries and cerebral palsy, while an injury to the mother could prevent her from having more children in the future. Even after birth, neonatal hypoglycaemia and infections caused by germs in intensive care units can also lead to medical negligence claims for compensation.

Dentist Malpractice Medical Negligence – A dentist, as a medical practitioner, has an obligation to provide the best possible standard of care to his patients and if you were to suffer an avoidable injury during a routine dental procedure, have unnecessary treatment performed or were suffering from an oral infection which was not identified, you would be entitled to claim medical negligence compensation for dentist malpractice.

Emergency Room Medical Negligence – Emergency rooms are often staffed by junior doctors who have not yet gained the experience to quickly identify all symptoms of every illness and administer appropriate treatment. The misdiagnosis of appendicitis is the third most frequent medical error and occurs most often in an emergency room environment. Such a misdiagnosis is likely to lead to a successful claim for emergency room medical negligence.

Misdiagnosis Medical Negligence – The two most frequently misdiagnosed physical conditions are breast cancer and heart attacks. The misdiagnosis can occur in any medical environment and the consequences can be devastating to a victim when the correct diagnosis is eventually made. The success of misdiagnosis medical negligence claims in Ireland depends on the time period between the original misdiagnosis and correct diagnosis, and the damage that has been sustained due to the medical error in-between.

Surgical Error Medical Negligence – There are very many things that can go wrong during surgery – being operated on the wrong site, foreign objects being left inside a patient and anaesthesia errors among the most frequent. Even failing to advise patients of the risks involved in a surgical procedure can be the cause of a medical negligence claim for compensation in Ireland when a loss, injury or deterioration results.

Nursing Medical Negligence – Nurses are the eyes and ears of a doctor and have to be vigilant in the care of a patient to recognise when changes occur in a patient´s condition. Despite the excellent role nurses play in the health of citizens in Ireland, mistakes can still happen with medication, administration and communication, and when an injury occurs as a result, you are entitled to make a claim for nursing medical negligence in Ireland.

Medical Negligence Claims and the Statute of Limitations

Some of the reasons for contacting medical negligence solicitors as soon as you suspect that you have been the victim of medical negligence in Ireland have already been mentioned above, but perhaps the most compelling reason for speaking with medical negligence solicitors at the earliest possible opportunity is the Statute of Limitations.

The Statute of Limitations places a time limit of two years on patients to make claims for medical negligence in Ireland once they are aware that medical negligence has occurred. This “date of knowledge” is not necessarily the date on which medical negligence occurred. It could be the date on which a patient discovers that they have suffered an injury, when the correct diagnosis is made of a previously misdiagnosed condition or when the long term effects of incorrect medication becomes apparent.

Two years may seem like a sufficient amount of time to enable medical negligence solicitors to compile the strongest possible claim for compensation, but when additional medical examinations may be required and the results analysed, or establishing the negligent party when any one of a number of medical practitioners could be responsible for your injury, can take a considerable amount of time.

Medical Negligence Claims and Children

Different rules apply to medical negligence claims for children in Ireland and, as settlements of children´s medical negligence compensation claims in Ireland always need to be approved by a court, it will be necessary for you to engage the services of medical negligence solicitors – even if a settlement is negotiated and litigation in court avoided.

Children cannot make claims for medical negligence in Ireland on their own behalf until they reach the age of eighteen – from which time they have two years in which to make a claim as per the Statute of Limitations. However, it is not advisable to delay a claim for medical negligence compensation in Ireland longer than is necessary, and therefore a parent or guardian can make a claim on the child´s behalf, acting as their “next friend”.

The parent or guardian has to be approved by a court before a claim for medical negligence compensation in Ireland can commence. The “next friend” must also accept all financial responsibilities for the pursuit of the claim and be aware that any medical negligence compensation settlement will first be paid into court before any is released in order to pay for the child´s health care or special education.

It is important to note that each claim for medical negligence in Ireland is unique. If you feel that you have recently suffered a loss, an injury or the deterioration of an existing condition due to medical negligence in Ireland, and believe that you have a potential medical negligence claim for compensation, you are advised to discuss all of the points raised in the preceding article with medical negligence solicitors at the earliest opportunity.