Our Perth medical negligence solicitors have many years experience in representing patients throughout Western Australia injured by poor medical treatment, misdiagnosis and medical misconduct. Patients are entitled to quality health care. Doctors, dentists, nurses and other health care professionals have a duty to take reasonable care for the safety and wellbeing of their patients. A patient that is harmed by medical error or incompetence may be entitled to claim medical negligence compensation.
If you would like free legal advice from a Perth medical negligence solicitor, specialising in No Win No Fee compensation claims, call our helpline, send an email or complete our Contact Form. A chat with one of our solicitors is completely confidential, and you are under no obligation to instruct our solicitors to act for you.
Clinical Negligence Claims
Perth medical negligence compensation claims typically involve complaints about:
- Inadequate medical treatment.
- Wrong diagnosis.
- Surgical error.
- Medication error.
- Delay in commencing treatment.
- Failure to warn of risks.
- Failure to refer to a specialist.
- Incorrect test results reported.
- Professional misconduct, including drug-affected
health care professionals, and sexual misconduct.
Negligence can occur in all settings, including private practice, private hospitals, public hospitals, and clinics. It can happen to anyone - children, adults, the elderly, professionals, employed and unemployed, students, mums and dads. Medical injuries can be purely physical and/or psychological in nature such as Major Depression, Adjustment Disorder, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Anxiety Disorder etc.
In minor cases, an error is quickly identified and the situation is corrected before any damage occurs to the patient. However, more troubling cases involve circumstances where a patient suffers permanent damage which results in life-long disabilities. Living with a disability caused by an accident can have a huge impact on one’s capacity to work; to take care of their physical needs; to take care of their dependants; and to enjoy the pleasures of life they once knew.
Medical Negligence Cases
Our Perth medical negligence solicitors have dealt with a wide variety of compensation claims and are able to provide advice on the most complex of cases including:
- Traumatic brain injury.
- Spinal Injury.
- Obstetric negligence (e.g birth trauma, cerebral palsy, erbs palsy, fractured clavicle).
- Gynaecology negligence (sterilisations, laparotomies, laparoscopies, hysterectomies).
- Surgical error (wrong-site surgery, retained instruments & swabs, nerve & organ damage).
- Medication errors (dosage errors, wrong medication, drugs contra-indicated).
- Infections (failure to diagnose and treat).
- Cancer misdiagnosis.
- Pathology errors.
- Antenatal testing errors (failure to diagnose congenital conditions; Down Syndrome).
- Incorrect reporting of x-rays, CT scans and other radiology.
- Complications from cosmetic and plastic surgery.
- Paediatric negligence.
- Failure to provide adequate post-operative care.
- Failure to warn of risks involved in a procedure or treatment.
- Faulty medical products and devices (hip replacements, pacemakers, breast implants).
- Dental injuries (jaw fractures and dislocations, nerve damage, infection).
Medical Negligence Law
Perth medical negligence law is governed by in Western Australia common law (case law / decisions by judges) and legislation known as the (Western Australian) Civil Liability Act 2002.
Western Australia common law generally requires that in order for a patient to receive medical negligence compensation, they must prove that:
- The health professional owed a duty of care to the patient.
- The injury could or should have been foreseen by the health professional.
- The health professional breached their duty of care to their patient, by some act or omission, resulting in an injury, harm or loss.
A medical negligence compensation claim can be commenced by the injured victim or by their guardian (on behalf of minors or persons suffering from a mental disability). An action can also be commenced by dependants who have lost a loved one due to negligence. Legal action can also be taken by third parties in special circumstances, for example in pure mental harm cases.
There are strict time limits which apply in all in Western Australia compensation claims. A court will only ever grant an extension of time in rare cases. That is why you should seek legal advice from a Perth medical negligence lawyer as soon as you are made aware of the possibility that you have been injured by poor clinical treatment.
Standard of Care
Further clarification of the common law can be found in legislation.
The Civil Liability Act 2002 (WA) sets out the standard of care for health professionals in section 5PB:
An act or omission of a health professional is not a negligent act or omission if it is in accordance with a practice that, at the time of the act or omission, is widely accepted by the health professional’s peers as competent professional practice.
What this means in practical terms is that the health professional (for example a doctor) won’t be considered to have been negligent, if other doctors provide medical reports/opinions stating that the care that the defendant doctor provided was competent care. However, there is still the possibility that a judge could completely disagree with the opinions of the insurance doctors who provide evidence in defense of the doctor.
A health professional could also be held liable for negligence, if their actions were “so unreasonable that no reasonable health professional in the health professional’s position could have acted or omitted to do something in accordance with that practice.”
Medical negligence cases are extremely difficult and are often hotly contested by the defendant health professional or hospital. That is why we recommend that patients should only be represented by an expert Perth medical negligence lawyer who represents patients on a daily basis and has experience in standing up for patients’ rights against insurance companies.
Our Perth medical negligence lawyers will advise you of all your options, including whether to commence legal action in the first place, whether to accept an offer of settlement, or whether to take your case to trial in a court of law. Our lawyers will fully advise you of the risks involved with each option, and the best course of action to take in your case.
The Civil Liability Act 2002, sets out the type of damages that can be awarded in medical negligence claims. There are various thresholds that must be met before compensation can be awarded.
Compensation may be paid for:
- Past and future loss of earnings.
- Gratuitous services of a domestic nature or relating to nursing and attendance.
- Pain and suffering.
- Loss of amenities of life.
- Loss of enjoyment of life.
- Curtailment of expectation of life.
- Bodily or mental harm.
- Past and future medical expenses (including the cost of surgery, hospital expenses, doctor’s fees, physiotherapy, medications).
Strict time limits apply in clinical compensation claims, and if you are unsure whether you can still make a claim, you should speak with a Perth medical negligence solicitor.
In Western Australia, if the negligent act or omission occurred prior to 15 November 2005, you have 6 years from the date of the negligence to lodge your claim. If you were injured on or after 15 November 2005, there is a 3 year limitation period. In some situations, a case could still be brought outside of the time limit if the injury or harm did not become immediately apparent. Different time limits also apply to children, persons with a mental or intellectual disability, and in some claims against public hospitals.
Safeguard your legal interest by seeking legal advice about your claim as soon as possible. Our experienced Perth medical negligence solicitors can advise you as to whether legal action is still possible or whether it is too late to do anything about it.
No Win No Fee Solicitors
Our solicitors are able to provide free initial advice without obligation and legal representation on a No Win No Fee basis. They are experts in handling the most complex of medical negligence claims, and are interested in representing patients and their families, not insurance companies. They will fight for your rights, and ensure that you receive maximum compensation under the law.