If you have suffered injury or loss at the hands of a medical professional, it is likely that you have found yourself in an unfamiliar and stressful situation. If the injury or loss is significant, you might consider approaching a lawyer to see whether or not you have a claim for compensation. While deciding to make a claim for compensation can seem like a daunting and lengthy task, the process is in fact quite easy to understand.
Even though no two medical negligence claims are ever the same, a claim will often involve the following process:
If you decide to take up a free consultation with one of our lawyers, we can arrange a conference so that we may take your instructions. Taking instructions will involve your explaining in your own words, what occurred and will allow us to provide some initial advice specific to your situation.
It is an opportunity to ask questions and satisfy yourself that we are the right lawyers for you.
Requesting and reviewing your clinical records
To help us understand your medical history and the treatment you received, we will request copies of your clinical records and any relevant documentation. After receiving your records, they will be reviewed by one of our lawyers and particular issues identified in relation to your case.
Qualifying an expert
Once a lawyer has reviewed your records, we will often seek the opinion of an independent medical expert to comment the care and treatment that gave rise to your injury, and in particular, whether this fell below the requisite level of skill and care.
An independent expert opinion is an essential step in your claim, and may sometimes involve you attending a consultation with the expert for examination.
Medical and other experts may also be asked to consider the nature of your injuries (orthopaedic specialists, psychiatrists, neurologists etc), and other losses (accountants, vocational assessors) that you may have suffered as a result of the subject treatment.
Once these opinions have been obtained, your lawyer will be able to advise you in relation to the strengths and weaknesses of your claim, as well as any damages that you might be entitled to.
Negotiating a settlement and taking your matter to Court
Finally once your case is completely prepared, your lawyer will often attempt to negotiate a settlement without the need for incurring unnecessary legal costs and delay in taking your matter to a Court hearing.
Sometimes it is not possible to participate in settlement negotiations until after Court proceedings are commenced. However, the Court will almost invariably make an order that the parties participate in a mediation or settlement conference.
A Court hearing is the undertaken only after avenues to reaching an agreement with the insurer and settling your case are exhausted.
If you or somebody you know has suffered a medical injury due to the negligence of a doctor or medical practitioner, you may be entitled to compensation. For more information, please call Stacks Goudkamp on 1800 25 1800 to arrange a free, no-obligation assessment of your claim, or alternatively, make an online enquiry.
Written by Mark Crollos.