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Professional Negligence Solicitors

Legal Helpline: ☎ 1800 529 835

Have you suffered loss as a result of a medical professional's negligence or incompetence? We can assist you in obtaining OBLIGATION- FREE legal advice and No Win No Fee representation.

If you have an enquiry that relates to a claim against a medical professional such as a doctor, medical specialist, dentist, complete the Contact Form or call our Helpline for assistance.

Negligence by a Professional

Persons who hold themselves out to be professionals such as doctors have a duty under the law to exercise proper care and skill when providing services to their clients.

If a professional person fails to exercise a reasonable degree of care and skill, and as a result you suffer "loss" (whether financial loss or physical injury), you may be able to make a legal claim against them so as to recoup your losses.

An action may be brought under the common law of negligence and/or breach of contract law.

In establishing that the professional has been negligent, you must be able to establish the following (according to the law):

  1. Negligence (Breach in Duty of Care). A service provider may be held negligent if they have provided a service that is below the reasonable standard of care required for someone of their skill and qualifications.
  2. Causation. If the service provided was below the expected standard of care required by the law, you must then establish that this failure has caused or contributed to your loss or losses. Sometimes, the service or advice provided can be negligent, but if no harm, loss or damage has resulted, then you will NOT be entitled to any compensation.

Informed Consent

You may be able to make a claim if the professional failed to advise you on the possible unfavourable outcome of a proposed service, and if you had been advised that you would have declined the service, or sought advice and service from a more qualified practitioner. These cases can be very difficult to establish.

Compensation Awards

The purpose of compensation is to put the victim back into the position they would have been, had they not suffered negligence. You can only be compensated for losses that are the result of the negligence.

Compensation may include the following:

  • professional service expenses incurred as a result of the negligence, as well as any future expenses likely to be incurred;
  • past and future loss arising from the negligence;
  • interest;
  • legal costs.

In the case of medical negligence (negligent treatment, advice or diagnosis) by a medical practitioner, you may be entitled to medical and other out-of-pocket expenses, such as cost of pharmaceuticals, counselling, rehabilitation equipment, as well as loss of income and compensation for pain and suffering.

Time Limits

If you have suffered professional negligence, you have only a certain specified time period within which to bring legal action. Failure to bring action within the time specified by the law, will result in your claim becoming "statute-barred", i.e you will be prevented from bringing action at all. Only in very exception circumstances can the court extend the time period. However, it is prudent to not wait until the end of the limitation period to bring legal action.

The usual time limit is 3 or 6 years from the date of the negligence (it varies from State to State). That is, in some States you have only 3 years to bring an action, and in other States you have 6 years. Your solicitor will be able to advise you of what the relevant time period is in your case.

Professional Negligence Actions are very complex and can be vigorously defended by professionals and their insurers, given that it is often the professionals reputation that is at stake (amongst other things). Hence, it is important that you seek legal advice as soon as possible, if you think you may have a claim.

Not all bad professional service is negligent. A complaint about service provision, generally, is not professional negligence. Although you might be dissatisfied with a number of aspects of your professional service and care including the cost, the attitude or manner of a provider or the way in which the service was delivered, most such complaints will not give rise to a claim in professional negligence. While these things may be frustrating, infuriating and distressing, negligence claims are difficult to establish and unless you have actually suffered a loss quantifiable in legal terms, you are not able to make a claim.

 

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