An Explanation of Medical Negligence Claims in Ireland
Medical negligence claims in Ireland enable those who have suffered a loss, an injury or the deterioration of an existing condition due to the poor professional performance of a medical practitioner to claim damages in the form of financial compensation. Losses, injuries and the worsening of an existing condition are often unavoidable risks of medical treatment, but when a scenario has occurred which “on the balance of probabilities” is attributable to a breach in the medical practitioner´s duty of care, it is possible to claim medical negligence compensation in Ireland.
Eligibility for Medical Negligence Claims in Ireland
In order to be eligible to make medical negligence claims in Ireland it has to be proven that you – or somebody close to you – have suffered an injury which could have been avoided had greater care been taken by a medical practitioner. Successful medical negligence claims in Ireland often require that a panel of medical experts find “in the circumstances and under the conditions at the time” a different course of action could have been taken which would have avoided the loss, injury or deterioration of the existing condition.
Medical Negligence Claims against Multiple Parties
Determining which medical practitioner has been negligent is not always straightforward if you have been treated by a number of specialists or if the medical practitioner who carried out (for example) wrong-site surgery had been misinformed by one or more of his team. Some claims for medical negligence in Ireland may be made against multiple parties whereas others might be made against healthcare professionals you may have never met, but whose poor professional performance led to you sustaining a loss, injury or the deterioration of an existing condition.
Making Medical Negligence Claims in Ireland
Because of the complexity of medical negligence claims for compensation, the Injuries Board Ireland will decline to process any applications for assessment it receives and, if you wish to claim medical negligence compensation in Ireland, you will need to engage the services of a solicitor. Your solicitor will write a Letter of Claim to the party or parties who are considered to be responsible for your negligent medical treatment, advising them that you are making a claim for medical negligence compensation against them. Should the negligent party accept their liability for your injury, your solicitor will enter into negotiations to obtain the maximum possible settlement of medical negligence compensation. If liability is denied, your solicitor will issue proceedings in order to resolve your medical negligence claim in court.
Medical Negligence Claims and Litigation
Often the threat of legal proceedings is sufficient to open settlement negotiations for medical negligence claims in Ireland and frequently you will read about out-of-court settlements in which the claimant receives compensation for medical negligence without an admission of liability from the defendant. As your solicitor will have prepared the strongest possible claim for medical negligence compensation when he or she first started representing you, litigation in court should not present any fears for you, and your solicitor will guide you through any testimony you have to provide.
Time Limits for Medical Negligence Claims in Ireland
Injuries which have been sustained due to medical negligence are not always immediately apparent – in some cases they may take many years to manifest – and therefore you are allowed two years from the date on which you are diagnosed with a medical negligence injury in which to make medical negligence claims in Ireland rather than two years from the date on which the negligent treatment took place. The situation regarding time limits in medical negligence claims for children is much different – and this is explained in greater depth below.
Medical Negligence Claims for Children in Ireland
Medical negligence claims for children in Ireland cannot be made by a child until they reach the age of eighteen. As this is an impractical situation if funds are required to provide healthcare while the child is growing up, a parent or guardian can make medical negligence claims for children in Ireland acting as their “next friend”. Medical negligence claims for children in Ireland then follow the same procedures as “adult” medical negligence claims for compensation, however any settlement of medical negligence compensation in Ireland has to be first approved by a court – irrespective of whether the settlement was arranged by negotiation or achieved through litigation on court.
Average Settlements of Medical Negligence Claims in Ireland
There is no such thing as average settlements of medical negligence claims in Ireland, as each claim for medical negligence compensation is considered on its own merits. Although certain medical negligence injuries may be subject to the injury values published in the Book of Quantum, medical negligence claims in Ireland also have to take into account the impact that the injury has made to your quality of life, compensation for any psychological trauma you may have experienced and also for any financial costs you have incurred – or may incur in the future – which are directly attributable to your injury.
Medical Negligence Special Damages
In medical negligence claims in Ireland where a catastrophic injury has been sustained, the value of medical negligence special damages can be substantial – potentially accounting for a lifetime of lost earnings and restructuring of the home to allow for wheelchair access and special facilities. Great care has to be taken when compiling medical negligence claims for compensation in Ireland, for if a settlement of medical negligence compensation proves to be inadequate for your medical needs or to support you family, it is not possible to go back to the negligent party´s insurance company and ask for more.
Medical Negligence Claims in Ireland Summary
If you have recently received the news that you have suffered an avoidable injury or the deterioration of an existing condition due to medical negligence in Ireland it will be a very distressing time for you. Although no amount of medical negligence compensation may be able to reverse the injury you have sustained, a claim for medical negligence compensation in Ireland should provide you with the funds to obtain the best medical support while you endeavour to overcome your situation.
To maximise the likelihood of a successful claim for medical negligence in Ireland, you should seek professional legal advice from an experienced personal injury solicitor at the earliest practical opportunity. No two claims for medical negligence compensation in Ireland are identical and, with potential difficulties in obtaining evidence of negligence, it is important that you act quickly in order that your solicitor can prepare the strongest possible claim for medical negligence on your behalf with the time allowed.