What is Medical Negligence* ?
Medical negligence* is defined as the failure or omission by a medical practitioner to act in a manner that is expected of them by the medical profession. Such omissions arise when the medical practitioner veers off the set medical standards when dealing with patients.
A medical negligence* legal action is initiated only when the practitioner’s negligent actions end up causing harm and injury to their patient.
Negligence versus Malpractice
Negligence, in itself, is not always sufficient to warrant the levelling of charges against a medical practitioner. If the negligent acts didn’t resort to any harm on the health and wellness of the patient, then the medical professional might just be exempted from facing a medical negligence* legal action.
Medical Standards of Care
The question asked in such tort cases is often: Could the results and outcomes for the patient be any different were they to be performed by another equally competent medical practitioner? If the answer is yes, then that professional may indeed have deviated from the accepted medical standards of care and therefore potentially neglect.
Proving Medical Negligence*
For an injured person to prove that a medical person is negligent, the following factors must be considered:-
- Was there a doctor-patient relationship in place?
- Was the medical professional negligent?
- Did the medical professional’s neglect cause harm and injury?
- Was the medical professional at fault for misdiagnosis?
- Did the medical professional perform improper treatment?
- Did the medical professional inform the patient on the expected risks?
Medical Negligence* & Causation
For an injured person to succeed in a medical negligence* legal action, causation needs to be satisfactorily proven. There is a need to show a direct correlation between the injuries of a patient and the failure by the medical practitioner to perform their due diligence. The integrity of the entire lawsuit hinges on establishing causation. A medical negligence* legal action would effectively collapse if one was unable to connect the two above mentioned aspects.
The Statute of Limitations
The statute of limitations exists for the sake of protecting both the defendants and the plaintiffs in medical negligence* actions. There is only a window of up to 24 months during which injured patients have to report and initiate legal action, excluding the date of knowledge exception.
The sooner the investigation commences, the better the chances of actually collecting evidence to assist the case.
What is Vicarious Liability?
Vicarious liability refers to a scenario where someone else, in this case, the administrators of a hospital, are held liable for the omission(s) or act(s) of their employees. To avoid being held responsible for the actions, or rather inactions, of their employees, the employer is supposed to devise and effect necessary measures.
Personal Injuries * In contentious business, a Solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage or proportion of any award or settlement.
Please be advised that the above-mentioned material is intended as an overview and as a broad out-line of the topic discussed. It should not be considered as complete and comprehensive legal advice, nor act as an appropriate substitute.
Due care has been taken in the publication of this article and we do not accept legal liability as a result of reliance on any material covered in the above article.