Medical Negligence Solicitors Ireland

We have a successful track record for medical negligence legal actions in the circuit and high court in Ireland. If you feel you have been injured due to medical negligence, we will work with you to establish if you have a case, to assist you obtain the unanswered questions answers and to seek justice . We will collaborate with you and assist you with each stage of the process.

The first stage is the investigation stage whereby we explore if, in our opinion, sufficient evidence exists of a stateable and proveable case. We discuss with you each stage of the process and have open and honest conversations with you about your case.

On this page you will find information explaining what medical negligence is, examples of negligence, time limits, the case process, the law on medical negligence in Ireland, types of medical negligence claims, and we have a number of frequently asked questions answered.

We understand if you have never had a case before, you will have many questions and we will answer any question we can and furnish you with candid advice. We firstly want to understand from you if what occurred was wrong and then we proceed to establish what is proveable from the evidence with respect to negligence. You then obtain a case opinion and decide upon the best path forward for you.

We assist people with hospital negligence claims, surgical errors, cosmetic surgery claims, diagnosis-related claims, birth injury claims etc.

If you have any questions, we will be happy to help.

Medical Negligence Explained

Medical Negligence involves an act by a medical professional that resulted in an avoidable injury to a patient. This could be a misdiagnosis or negligent procedure error, surgery error, failure to act on a complaint etc.

Medical Negligence can also involve an omission to do something and consequently, an injury has resulted or an existing condition has deteriorated.

A medical professional will owe a patient of duty of care. The standard of care afforded to the person must have been substandard which resulted in an injury in a medical negligence legal claim.

The injured party must prove on the balance of probabilities that the failure of medical skill resulted in the injury that could or should have been avoided and this is the task the person will be assisted with by their solicitor.

Medical negligence can also be described 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 claim can be initiated when the practitioner’s negligent actions end up causing harm/injury to the patient and supportive medical evidence exists to issue proceedings.

Examples of Medical Negligence


• Failure to refer a patient to another specialist where it was necessary to do so
• Incorrect or unnecessary surgical procedures
• Error in a procedure or operation. Failure to diagnose a condition or a misdiagnoses
• Delay in providing a proper standard of medical care, diagnosis and treatment reducing a patient’s chance of full recovery from their medical condition
• Birth Injuries to children or mothers
• Failure to disclose risks or a treatment/operation
• Hospital systems failure to maintain a hygienic, clean hospital causing patients to contract infections while in the hospital such as MRSA.

Medical Negligence Claim Procedure

The initial state in a medical negligence claim can be described as the investigation. The client will know something is amiss and likely questions have been unanswered or explanations not provided. We sit down with you to understand the facts in chronological order and in essence to listen. This is a process and can take a little bit of time but is worth the time investment. Sometimes people like to put pen to paper or type a statement of events, and this can be very beneficial for both client and solicitor as this process concentrates the mind to put a structure to events.

It will be necessary to then obtain the medical records on your behalf and thereafter discuss the issue with you further. We can at this point have a greater understanding and clarity of events in sequential order.

It is necessary then we engage on your behalf a suitable medical expert to the relevant issue to prepare a medico-legal liability report. The medical expert can assist the court when determining the issue in question. Medical evidence to support the claim must be obtained.

If supportive medical evidence to your case has been obtained, we discuss with you the case process, the issuing of proceedings, and answer any question you have with respect to costs, case duration or other questions.

All cases are dealt with in stages and all cases must have a solid foundation upon which to springboard from. Once the investigation stage is complete, you will then be able to make an informed decision about the best path forward for you and have a certain amount of questions answered at that point.

Medical Negligence Claim Statute of Limitations Time Limits

The statutory time limit in relation to medical negligence actions is two years. So, if a person has been injured through medical negligence he/she must initiate proceedings two years from the date of the cause of the action.

There is an exception to this strict rule but can only be relied on in exceptional circumstances. Sometimes a diagnosis can come years after an event. A separate legal rule referred to as the date of knowledge deals with this circumstance. The date of knowledge relates to when the person first has knowledge of the injury in question or illness they have. This can happen commonly in misdiagnosis scenarios.

Types of Claims

Evidently the claim type relates to the injury but the principles of negligence with respect to medical negligence claims explained below, will apply to all types of medical negligence related claims.

Surgical Error Claims

If the claim relates to a surgical error, the injured party ie the patient is entitled to having the procedure conducted according to reasonable care, skill, diligence, and judgement. If this did not happen and the person suffered a personal injury, which was caused by negligence, breach of duty, possibly trespass to the person, then they may have a claim in respect of the surgical error conducted. Supportive medical evidence will need to be obtained in respect to the breach of duty.

Hospital Negligence Claim

If a person attends hospital for a procedure which was conducted in circumstances where it was imprudent to do so, the procedure in question was performed negligently or by poor practise which resulted in a disfigurement of the area related to the surgery the person will evidently feel aggrieved in this example. The person will correctly have assumed that it would be performed with diligence, skill, reasonable care etc. We have an information post on Hospital Negligence Claims which may assist you.

Misdiagnosis or Delay in Diagnosis

Misdiagnoses or delays in diagnosis can lead to significant problems for a person and sometimes it can be catastrophic. When a patient presents at a hospital they are under the care of the carers, owed a duty of care in respect of the medical care and attention. This will include care related to a diagnosis/treatment etc. If there is no diagnosis there can be no correct treatment evidently.

A persons care needs to be managed, diagnosed correctly as a consequence of the symptoms, and then dealt with by the appropriate carers.

Dental Negligence Claims

Here is an information post on dental negligence claims which may be of assistance.

Acquired Brain Injury Claims

Here is an information post on acquired brain injury claims which may be of assistance.

Bladder & Bowel Perforation Claims

Surgical procedures must be performed properly and in a skilful manner. In caesarean section procedures if the bladder is lacerated resulting in injury to the person which was caused by a lack of reasonable care, expertise etc. then the injury may have been caused due to negligence. If the injury was not caused as a consequence of negligence then that is a separate matter.

Birth Injury Claims

Mothers in respect of care are evidently entitled to a duty of care.

In circumstances where mismanagement occurs, this often occurs during the delivery or immediate aftercare. Injuries to the baby can include hip dysplasia, spinal cord injuries, forceps related injuries, Erb’s palsy etc.

Here is a post with respect to a brachial plexus issue by way of example which may be of assistance.

Medical Negligence Law Ireland

The law of tort in Ireland sets out the principles of negligence that relate to personal injury cases.

In respect of medical negligence claims, the Supreme Court in case Dunne V National Maternity Hospital sets out the well-established principles which apply to medical negligence cases in Ireland, which are:

  1. A practitioner was negligent in diagnosis or treatment only if guilty of such failure as no other practitioner of equal specialist or general status and skill would be guilty of if acting with ordinary care.
  2. A plaintiff establishes negligence against a medical practitioner by proving his deviation from a general and approved practice only upon proving also that the course taken was one which no other medical practitioner of like specialisation and skill would have followed when taking the ordinary care required from a person of his qualifications.
  3. A medical practitioner who establishes that he followed a practice which was general and approved by his colleagues of similar specialisation and skill is nevertheless negligent if the plaintiff thereupon establishes that such practice has inherent defects which ought to be obvious to any person giving the matter due consideration.
  4. An honest difference of opinion between doctors as to which is the better of two ways of treating a patient does not provide any ground for leaving a question to the jury as to whether the defendant who has followed one course rather than the other has been negligent.
  5. It is not for a jury (or for a judge) to decide which of two alternative courses of treatment is in their (or his) opinion preferable, but their (or his) function is merely to decide whether the course of treatment followed, on the evidence, complied with the careful conduct of a medical practitioner of like specialisation and skill to that professed by the defendant.
  6. Where there is an issue of fact, the determination of which is necessary to decide whether a particular medical practice is or is not general and approved, that issue must be left to the jury.

The above criteria needs to be applied to the facts of a persons case.

Your solicitor will assist you applying the law to the facts.

Frequently Asked Questions on Medical Negligence Law Ireland

Do I have a claim for medical negligence?

Do I have a claim for medical negligence?

To answer this one should apply the following questions to the facts :

  • Was there a diagnosis or treatment on the part of a medical practitioner where there is a failure to a degree that no medical practitioner of equal specialist or general status and skill would be guilty of if acting with ordinary care?
  • Did the medical provider deviate from a general and approved practice?
  • Did the medical provider follow a course that no medical practitioner of like specialisation and skill would have followed?
  • Did the diagnosis or treatment the medical carer followed have inherent defects which should have been obvious?
  • Did the diagnosis or treatment provided comply with the careful conduct of a medical professional of like specialisation ?.

A medical carer will have a duty of care to their patient, therefore the above questions need to be applied to the individual facts to answer this question. Once its clear negligence arises, it is necessary to prove that it was the negligent act/omission that led to the person being injured.

How hard is it to prove medical negligence?

To succeed in a medical negligence claim, you need to provide evidence that proves the medical carer failed in their duty and this failure causing you harm/injury.

The particulars of negligence relevant to each case will be different, but it must be proved that the defendant did not exercise reasonable care, diligence, judgement and caution regarding the treatment given, or advice given, or management of the situation etc.

In a typical situation, a competent and professional medical person is expected to follow the recommended clinical procedures when faced with a dental problem, for example.

A patient can prove his/her treatment or care provided was below the acceptable standard if, for example, the wrong treatment was conducted and it amounts to a situation that couldn’t have occurred with another professional practitioner.

Another requirement is that of causation. This links the actions taken by the medical provider to the injuries sustained. The patient must show that if it were not for the negligence of the medical carer, she/he wouldn’t have suffered an injury.

How long do clinical negligence claims take?

This is difficult to answer with any precision as there are many variables here, and there isn’t a one size fits all in terms of having a defined answer.

The first point to consider is what is the attitude in terms of the defendant? ie is liability admitted or not ?.

Evidently, if liability is defended this increases the duration of the case and the court must ultimately give judgement.  

Another point to consider is what are the injuries of the person taking the case? ie are they ongoing or not.

For example, let’s say you have a fracture. This is a clearly defined injury with normally a clearly defined duration of recovery.

A court wants to know the diagnosis, prognosis, duration of recovery, nature of treatment etc. ie in order to have the full picture.

If a person requires further medical care, the persons doctor has not concluded the treatment required, and will therefore not be clear on all eventualities to describe to a court.

Another point to consider is how complex is the matter or not.

Some cases are complex, but a lot of cases are not complex and it is likely your solicitor has seen a case of similar features before.

We, humans, love complexity over simplicity.

Once proceedings are issued and if injuries are not ongoing, you can move your case on with relative speed to have it concluded at the earliest opportunity.

In our opinion claims of this nature do take longer in duration than personal injury* claims.

Medical Negligence Claim* Questions & Answers

If you have been injured due to medical negligence you will have many questions you want to be answered.

We will answer any questions we can that you have, advise of the options available, advise of a course of action and represent you if required. People have many questions such as ‘do I have a case, ‘how easy or difficult is this case going to be’, ‘what is it worth’, ‘how long is this case going to be’, for example. 

If you feel you have been injured due to medical negligence and have questions concerning this, we can be of assistance to you. 

Kieran Cleary and Roger Cleary can help with any questions you have regarding negligence, liability and what can be done in offices in Clonmel, Co. Tipperary or Dublin 7. 

Initial Advice Consultation

Contact Details:

1. Call us on 01 546 1121  or  052 61 21999 between the hours of  9 am to 5 pm – Monday to Friday.

2. Email us – info@clearysolicitors.com – with a contact number and we will call you back.

3. Fill out our online Enquiry Form to the right.

What can be done after a Negligent act/omission takes place ?

• An Explanation – People injured have a right to a full explanation of what happened. This may be forthcoming or it may not. Early resolution regarding this is best for all concerned but doesn’t always happen.
• An Apology – An injured person may demand a full and sufficient apology from the appropriate person in relation to the events.
• Justice to be done to alleviate the loss or pain.
• Financial Compensation – If a person has been injured to the negligence of another they have a right to compensation for the loss, suffering, pain and financial consequences that have arisen.

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.

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. 

Medical Negligence* & Causation

For an injured person to succeed in 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. Medical negligence* legal action would effectively collapse if one was unable to connect the two above mentioned aspects.

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 the misdiagnosis?
  • Did the medical professional perform the improper treatment?
  • Did the medical professional inform the patient of the expected risks?
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.

Do You Need Advice on Medical Negligence Law ?

Roger Cleary

Need Legal Advice ? No Problem. Contact Us Today !

We help people injured due to negligence* attain restitution to their pre-accident position, as much as is possible, for the pain, suffering & financial loss, by seeking damages from the negligent party on their behalf.

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DISCLAIMER

Please be advised that the above-mentioned material is intended as an overview and as a broad outline 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.

Personal Injuries * In contentious business, a Solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage or proportion of any award or settlement.

Roger Cleary

Need Legal Advice ? No Problem. Contact Us Today !

We help people injured due to negligence* attain restitution to their pre-accident position, as much as is possible, for the pain, suffering & financial loss, by seeking damages from the negligent party on their behalf.