In the United Kingdom and Ireland, if you have experienced an injury directly caused by medical mistreatment or a complete lack of care received, you may be eligible to file a medical negligence claim.
Situations such as these may also be referred to as ‘medical accidents’, ‘adverse incidents’, or ‘patient safety incidents’. It is important to remember and understand that even though the term ‘negligent’ is used in an official capacity, it doesn’t always mean that the treatment was actually negligent. When incidents are unavoidable, better quality of care or additional safety measures would be irrelevant anyway.
In Ireland, medical negligence claims are the most complex area of personal injury law that exists; the Irish legal system has corroborated this fact.
Unlike almost every other type of personal injury compensation case, the Injuries Board will refuse jurisdiction in respect to medical negligence claims.
How to Prove Medical Negligence Claims
Irish law only allows individuals to file a medical negligence claim if it can be proven ‘on the balance of probability’ that the treatment received directly contributed to your injury. Proving that a doctor or healthcare professional handled your care negligently is an extremely complicated matter.
Some circumstances that clearly indicate a medical breach of duty has occurred and, therefore, a medical negligence claim is warranted include:
- Delays or errors when diagnosing an illness or injury
- Failure to act promptly when presented with laboratory or test results
- Failures when performing procedures or operations
- Mistakes when administering drugs, treatments, or other prescriptive devices
- Inadequate or non-existent follow-up care
- A lack of clear, adequate and understandable explanations to the patient when describing the risks involved with specific medical procedures
Injury or Damage
If a plaintiff decides to pursue a personal injury claim, it is essential to understand that the term ‘personal injury’ is used for a specific reason: the victim must have suffered some kind of physical or psychological injury as a result of the medical negligence endured.
According to Irish civil law, in situations where doctors, medical professionals or hospital staff have performed their duties in a medically negligent or criminal way, (in a personal injury claim), the plaintiff is only permitted to seek compensation for personal injury loss or damage that has actually occurred.
Except for situations where it can be proven to have directly caused, as an example, a serious psychological trauma, a near miss would not be adequate to justify a compensatory award.