Medical practitioners in Australia have a ‘duty of care’ which requires them to exercise a reasonable level of skill, judgement, and care. This applies whether they are examining, diagnosing, treating or advising you. An unreasonable failure that results in harm is called medical negligence, or medical malpractice.
Do I have a medical malpractice claim?
Medical malpractice is a complex area of law, and depending on both your medical situation and the circumstances of the malpractice, you may have several options for claiming compensation.
Successful medical malpractice claims in Australia must demonstrate a liable medical practitioner, a breach of the duty of care, and harm which extends beyond the original injury or illness. Medical practitioners could be doctors, nurses, dentists, or other healthcare providers.
If you think you may have a medical malpractice claim, you can speak with a What’s My Claim Worth advisor to help clarify your situation and your legal options, and understand the compensation available to you.
How do I make a medical malpractice claim?
If you think you have suffered harm from medical malpractice, it is advisable to seek legal advice from a lawyer specialised in this complex area.
You will need to demonstrate that the liable medical practitioner has breached their duty of care, which will most likely involve accessing the medical records they hold and comparing this with your own, and other medical professionals’, understanding of your situation.
If your case seems valid, you will need to seek a claim against the liable doctor or medical organisation either directly or through the court system. While you may lodge complaints with professional bodies such as the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA), they will not process malpractice compensation claims.
In most cases, a claim must be lodged within three years of discovering the malpractice. In some circumstances, a lawyer may be able to seek extensions to this time limit, or help you pursue other options.
Most medical malpractice claims are settled out of court, with less than 5% proceeding to litigation. Where claims are settled out of court, there is no legal recording against the doctor or medical professional.
How much is my medical malpractice claim worth?
The value of a medical malpractice claim will rely on the degree of harm caused, not the degree of negligence that caused it. The compensation available can be in the form of:
- Compensation for costs and expenses, incurred and predicted, related to treatment and care
- Compensation for other costs and expenses, including travel costs
- Compensation for lost earnings, and projected future earnings
- Compensation for pain and suffering
Depending on the legal and medical circumstances of your claim, you (or your dependents or carers) may be eligible for other forms of compensation. All medical practitioners in Australia must be covered by Professional Indemnity Insurance, meaning your doctor will not be financially responsible for paying compensation.
How can What’s My Claim Worth help me?
Contact What’s My Claim Worth for a confidential discussion with an advisor, who can help you understand your situation, the options available to you, and the potential value of your medical malpractice claim. Our advisors can connect you with the right lawyer from our Australia-wide panel of medical malpractice experts, who will guide you through the process. What’s My Claim Worth lawyers operate under a No Win, No Fee guarantee (excluding defendant costs if the claim is litigated), meaning you’re free to pursue the compensation you’re entitled to, without worrying about whether you can afford it.