Medical malpractice
and compensation

Medicine is a complicated practice and health service providers are not expected to be perfect. Sometimes medical treatment is unsuccessful and injuries can occur, but that doesn’t mean there’s been any malpractice. Healthcare professionals are, however, expected to meet a reasonable standard of care in conjunction with every treatment. Failure to meet such a standard can be negligent and can lead to compensation being awarded for any damages suffered by the patient. The three critical parts of a medical negligence compensation claim 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. Talk to Maurice Blackburn today to find out how we can help you.

Proving liability

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

Doctors have a duty 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 doesn’t relieve the practitioner from the responsibility of meeting the appropriate standard of care for that treatment. Failure to exercise reasonable care – also known as a breach of the duty of care – can render the practitioner liable for the damages suffered 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 conditions rather than caused by practitioner negligence. That’s why, at Maurice Blackburn, 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 claim.

How are damages awarded?

Maurice Blackburn’s experts will secure the most favourable outcome for you. Compensation for damages caused by medical malpractice is usually awarded as a single lump sum payment that is 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 health care expenses, pharmaceuticals, and 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. Talk to Maurice Blackburn today about how we can help. We have lawyers in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide and throughout Australia. 

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.

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