Making a claim for surgical and emergency medical malpractice
Maurice Blackburn has successfully represented hundreds of patients and their families in medical malpractice cases.
Why Maurice Blackburn?
We are Australia's leading medical negligence law firm and have a team of dedicated professionals who only handle medical malpractice claims. Medical malpractice laws are different across states and territories, so it's important to have a local lawyer with national resources.
All you need to know about medical negligence
If your health care professional, hospital or other facility breaches what’s known as their duty of care, you may be able to make a claim for compensation.
Types of medical negligence
Dimitra DubrowNational Head of Medical Negligence,
"I enjoy interacting closely with my clients and helping them to access their full entitlements. It is truly rewarding knowing that we are helping empower people."
Tom BallantynePrincipal Lawyer,
"I’m inspired by helping people achieve a measure of justice and financial stability."
Frequently Asked Questions
You may be eligible to claim surgical or emergency medical malpractice compensation if you have suffered physical, psychological or financial harm as a result of medical malpractice arising from areas including surgical malpractice, misdiagnosis, failure to obtain informed consent and medication errors.
A provider can include a hospital, doctor, nurse, assistant, lab personnel, dentist, pharmacist or other employer or allied health professional.
The most common types of surgical or emergency medical malpractice compensation claims can involve:
Your surgery negligence claims will usually focus on four main issues. These issues focus on whether the:
- patient was an appropriate candidate for the surgery
- surgery was performed with reasonable care and skill
- medical professional gave proper post-surgical care (including detecting and treating your infection)
- patient was properly advised about the risks of the surgery and could give informed consent.
Your negligent surgical procedure claim can include:
- cardiac surgery complications
- injuries from orthopaedic surgery such as back surgery, hip replacement or osteotomy (bone realignment)
- hypoxic brain damage following cardiac bypass surgery
- damage to the bowel or blood vessels, or other injuries from laparoscopic ('keyhole') surgery
- injuries during abdominal surgery such as hernia repairs, gall bladder removal and hysterectomies, as well as lap-banding for weight loss
- arthroscopy complications
- complications of eye surgery (including laser surgery)
- anaesthetic accidents and awareness (such as regaining consciousness during an operation)
- post-operative infections
- injuries from dental procedures.
- Many claims about cosmetic procedures are brought against surgeons because they failed to adequately explain the potential risks of a performed procedure or because of inadequate post-operative care.
Your cosmetic surgery claims can arise from:
- unexpected and unsightly scarring from breast-reduction or breast-uplift surgery
- poor outcomes from dermabrasion, chemical peels and laser surgery
- injury to the accessory nerve or unexpected scarring due to face-lift surgery
- scarring or a bowel tear due to liposuction
- poor outcomes from rhinoplasty
- surgery performed without proper consent.
- Courts can be reluctant to award compensation when a procedure is elective with potential benefits and the claim is based on an inadequate explanation of the risks.
2. Emergency medical treatment
Your claim for negligent emergency medical treatment can include failure to diagnose and treat:
- meningitis or some other serious disease
- compartment syndrome
- a cerebral haemorrhage or aneurysm
- cardiac arrest or heart attack
- a stroke
- severed or damaged nerves.
Your claims can also include failure to properly clean and dress wounds and failure to perform or adequately interpret diagnostic tests (such as blood tests, urine analyses, x-rays, and CT and MRI scans).
If you think you have experienced negligence or malpractice contact us today. Time limits apply to medical malpractice claims.
Medical providers owe you a 'duty of care' to exercise skill, judgement and reasonable care when examining, diagnosing, treating and advising you. If they breach that duty, you may be able to make a surgical or emergency medical malpractice compensation compensation claim and they may be liable for any harm caused.
Common negligent treatment that you may be able to claim surgical or emergency medical malpractice compensation for include:
- a negligent surgical procedure
- a negligent cosmetic surgery procedure
- negligent emergency medical treatment
- making an existing condition worse
- misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose a condition
- failure to provide the appropriate treatment or referral
- a delay in diagnosis or providing the appropriate treatment or referral
- failure to perform surgery or provide post-operative care with reasonable care and skill
- incorrectly reporting on test results.
You may be able to claim surgical or emergency medical malpractice compensation for negligent treatment by a medical provider under general Australian law. This also applies if medical negligence or malpractice results in an unexpected death.
The law in some states has a threshold that determines how significant or severe an injury has to be before you’re entitled to claim damages for pain and suffering caused by this injury. Each state and territory has its own laws that apply to medical negligence cases.
To make a successful surgical or emergency medical malpractice compensation claim, you need to be able to prove that:
- there was negligent surgical or emergency medical treatment
- the surgical or emergency treatment caused an injury or some harm that would not otherwise have occurred
If you do have a case, we will help settle it outside of court or represent you in court. Contact us to discuss your claim.
You will only need to pay our fees if you receive a settlement for your surgical or emergency medical malpractice compensation claim, as we provide our medical negligence services on a 'no win, no fee'* basis.
If your claim is successful, you will be charged for the costs of the investigation and the legal work performed after issuing proceedings. This will be a charge on the appropriate court scale, and you will be given more information about this at the time when the decision is made to issue proceedings.
You won't be charged our fees if your claim is not pursued. In most cases, disbursements (the out-of-pocket expenses that we pay to other people) must be paid whether you win or lose.
Yes. However, surgical or emergency medical malpractice law is complicated. Even if you have received negligent treatment, you cannot make a malpractice claim if you haven't suffered harm or injury.
As medicine is a difficult practice, your medical providers aren't expected to be perfect. Sometimes medical treatment is unsuccessful and injuries occur, but that is not enough to show that you were treated with negligence. You will need to prove that your negligent treatment is more than a reasonable mishap or mistake.
It's important to get help from someone who understands the complexities of surgical or emergency medical malpractice law, with experience in your area. Maurice Blackburn is Australia's leading and largest team of medical negligence lawyers, with all the resources and experience that come with being a national firm.
If you think you’ve experienced medical negligence or malpractice, contact us today to find out how we can help you.
In order to make a surgical or emergency medical malpractice compensation claim, you will need to:
- Contact Maurice Blackburn to speak with our medical negligence team.
- We will gather information from you about what has occurred and then provide you with a preliminary assessment.
We will help you understand if you have grounds for a claim by investigating your case and getting an independent medical expert's opinion. If we believe you should proceed further, we will then lodge your legal claim and represent you at mediation and settlement hearings.
If your case doesn’t settle, we can represent you in court. We also manage coroner's inquests by liaising with the court on your behalf, preparing the case and representing you in court. Contact us today.
Time limits vary under the different state and federal laws. In most cases, you need to take legal action within three years of the injury. If your surgical or emergency medical malpractice compensation claim is for a child, time limits can vary more and differ between states.
The timeline for your surgical or emergency medical malpractice compensation negligence claim may be shorter or longer depending on the case, so it's best to contact a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. Extensions of time limits are sometimes possible.
Your surgical or emergency medical malpractice compensation claim and the legal process may take up to several years, especially if you have to wait for injuries to stabilise.
We know that surgery and emergency treatment malpractice can have devastating consequences for you. If you or a loved one have experienced this type of medical negligence, our surgery compensation lawyers can help you understand your legal options to achieve the best possible outcome.