Medical malpractice
and compensation

What you need to know about medical malpractice

Medicine is a complicated practice and health service providers are not expected to be perfect. Sometimes medical treatment is unsuccessful and injuries occur, but that doesn’t mean there’s been any malpractice.

However, healthcare professionals are expected to meet a reasonable standard of care for every treatment. Failure to meet such a standard can be negligent and can lead to compensation being awarded for any harm suffered by the patient. The three critical parts of medical negligence compensation claims are known as liability, causation, and damage.

If you have been hurt by inadequate medical advice or treatment, our expert medical negligence lawyers can help to clarify your situation and assist you in understanding your legal options.

Proving liability

Medical malpractice arises when treatment received from a healthcare provider such as a hospital, doctor, dentist, pharmacist or allied health professional falls below acceptable standards. A medical error is only considered negligent if the healthcare practitioner has failed to take reasonable care of the patient.

Doctors have a 'duty of care' to exercise reasonable care, skill and judgement in examining, diagnosing, treating and providing information to their patients. Signing a consent form that acknowledges specific risks and complications does not excuse the practitioner from the responsibility of meeting the appropriate standard of care for that treatment. Failure to exercise reasonable care, also known as breaching duty of care, can render the practitioner liable for the harm suffered by a patient as a result of the treatment.

Understanding causation

Proving negligence can be difficult—that’s why you need a specialist. To succeed with a medical negligence claim it isn’t enough to show that the healthcare practitioner has failed to take reasonable care, or that the results of the treatment were poor. It is also necessary to prove that, on the balance of probabilities, the practitioner’s poor performance caused the unsatisfactory result; this is known as “causation”. The most difficult part of a medical negligence compensation claim is proving the link between the negligent actions of the practitioner and the harm caused to the patient.

Insurers will often attempt to show that a patient's injuries and disabilities are pre-existing rather than caused by practitioner negligence. That’s why our medical malpractice specialists are also highly skilled investigators and determined negotiators, who are well-versed in medical terminology and able to establish and defend the true circumstances of any personal injury claim.

How are damages awarded?

Medical compensation for damages caused by malpractice is usually awarded as a single lump sum payment that's intended to cover past, present and future expenses, and to compensate for the loss and harm suffered as a result of the negligence.

Compensation can cover expenses including:

  • direct medical expenses
  • allied healthcare expenses
  • pharmaceuticals
  • medical and domestic assistance.

Compensation can also cover loss of income and future earning capacity, as well as payment in acknowledgement of pain and suffering. The value of the medical negligence claim is known as the quantum.

It’s critical to consult an expert medical negligence lawyer to ensure you obtain the most favourable level of compensation.

Why Maurice Blackburn?

At Maurice Blackburn we fight for fair. Our specialised medical malpractice compensation lawyers have a wealth of knowledge and experience working on cases.

Medical malpractice laws are different across states and territories, so it's important to have a local lawyer with national resources. That's why Maurice Blackburn Lawyers has offices in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide, Darwin and throughout Australia.

If you think you have experienced medical malpractice, talk to us today to find out how we can help you. 


We provide our medical negligence legal services on a 'no win, no fee'* basis. This means that you will only pay our legal fees if you receive a settlement or compensation. You won't be charged our fees if the claim is not pursued after investigation.

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.

No win, no fee*

Our medical negligence lawyers are experienced in winning fair compensation for our clients on a no win, no fee basis.

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