How do I make a claim for surgeon negligence compensation if the Injuries Board do not accept assessments for medical negligence?
Eoin P. Campbell, LL.B., Solicitor
Editor in Chief
The way to claim surgeon negligence compensation – or any form of medical negligence compensation in Ireland – is to use a solicitor. This is quite simply because medical negligence cases are the most complex area of compensation law in Ireland and the Injuries Board´s remit is to speed through the highest volume possible of personal injury compensation claims without getting involved in the difficult ones.
An experienced medical negligence solicitor will first establish that you have a claim for surgeon negligence compensation by considering the following questions:-
- Was an avoidable mistake made by a surgeon that was due to a lack of skill or the ability to demonstrate that skill?
- Could the surgeon´s error “at the time and in the circumstances” been repeated by a competent surgeon?
- Was a mistake by a surgeon attributable to an administrative or technical failure prior to a medical procedure taking place?
- Did an injury actually occur which had a quantifiable and negative effect on the patient?
Depending on the answers to these questions, a medical negligence solicitor will prepare a surgeon negligence compensation claim against the surgeon – or other negligent party if an administrative or technical error is responsible for your injury – and support the claim for surgeon negligence compensation with evidence collected with the assistance of a medical expert.
Evidence of negligence is not required when requesting an assessment of surgeon negligence compensation from the Injuries Board Ireland and one of the most basic reasons for using a solicitor to make a surgeon negligence compensation claim is so that your claim is taken seriously by the medical professional responsible for your injuries.
Provided that your solicitor has constructed the strongest possible claim for surgeon negligence compensation on your behalf, the surgeon will usually accept liability for your injuries and pass your solicitor´s Letter of Claim onto his or her medical insurance company for a settlement of compensation to be negotiated.
How much compensation for surgeon negligence you receive will be based on the extent and severity of your physical injury, whether further surgery will be necessary to revise your surgeon´s error, the extent of any psychological trauma you have experienced and the impact that the surgeon´s negligence has had on your quality of life – both now and in the future.
It is important to know how much surgeon negligence compensation you may be entitled to as soon as possible, as medical insurance companies have a tendency to approach claimants when the case against their client is strong and make them a direct offer of compensation for surgeon negligence in return for a quick settlement.
Although the quick settlement may be tempting if you have suffered debilitating injuries and are concerned about your short-term finances, it is in your best interests to refer the offer to your solicitor. Not all direct offers accurately reflect how much compensation for surgeon negligence you may be entitled to but, as the insurance company´s approach is effectively an admission of liability, your solicitor can now approach the insurance company and request interim payment of compensation until your claim for surgeon negligence compensation is resolved.
Although the procedures are much different from what you might expect if you were able to make a claim for surgeon negligence compensation through the Injuries Board Ireland, your solicitor will handle practically every aspect of your claim on your behalf. A court appearance is rarely necessary when a sufficiently strong claim is constructed but, like “regular” claims for personal injury compensation, you only have two years from the date on which it was known that you have sustained an avoidable injury due to your surgeon´s negligence in which to make a claim for surgeon negligence compensation.
Therefore, it is recommended that you discuss the specific circumstances of your injury with an experienced personal injury solicitor at the first possible opportunity.