Medical Negligence Law Solicitors for 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.

Cleary & Co. Solicitors, Experienced Litigation Law Firm

___________________________________________________

Kieran Cleary and Roger Cleary of Cleary & Co. are responsible for files involving litigation in our firm.

We have forty years combined experience with respect to litigating civil cases and dealing with medical negligence claims in Ireland.

The first appointment is a meet and greet to discuss what has occured and ascertain if we can assist.

Appointments take place at one of the addresses on our contact page or online.

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 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.

Contact Details

Law Chambers, Market St
Clonmel
Co. Tipperary

Tel: (052) 612 1999

Online Consultations: Available.

General Email: info@clearysolicitors.com

Ormond Building, Ground Floor
31-36 Ormond Quay Upper
Dublin 7

Tel: (01) 546 1121

Online Consultations: Available.

General Email: info@clearysolicitors.com

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.

Can I make a claim for Dental Negligence ?

The principals of tort law & medical negligence are the same for hospital, surgical and dental negligence etc. claims.

The law needs to be applied to the facts on a case by case basis to assess if a person has a case or not.

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. 

Duty of Care

The law in Ireland is medical care providers owe patients a duty of care to a level that would reasonably be expected of such doctor / medical care provider in the circumstances.

How do I prove medical negligence in a case ?

This is your solicitors task to assist the person prove negligence arose. The medical evidence is examined, an appropriate medical experts view with respect to the care or lack thereof is undertaken and provided to the court. Both the injured party and the defendant will seek to having the medical facts examined by their own engaged doctors and the medical evidence presented to the court.

The injured party on receipt of the medical experts view can obtain legal opinions from their solicitor and barrister on the strengths or weakness of the evidence to hand to understand how to proceed.

Can I make a medical negligence claim against a private health care provider and public health care provider in Ireland ?

Yes.

Do patient advocacy groups or resources exist which can support individuals dealing with medical negligence issues in Ireland?

Yes.

Here are two.

www.patientadvocacyservice.ie

www.irishpatients.ie

Standard of Care

The expert must examine whether the medical care provider followed the accepted standard of care for the medical issue in question. A review of relevant guidelines, procedures, medical records are assessed to examine if the standard of care fell below par.

Causation Analysis

The medical expert must assess the causal relationship between the acts or omission regarding the medical care and the patients injury.

Testifying in Court

The medical expert presents their opinion to the court and explains the medical issues if required.

The medical expert provides an unbiased and objective opinion in the matter.

Are there any alternatives to going to court for medical negligence cases in Ireland ?

Yes.

Mediation can be quite an effective dispute resolution mechanism.

Pediatric medical negligence

Pediatric medical negligence occurs when a healthcare provider fails to meet the accepted standard of care in pediatric medicine, which resulted in a harm / injury or adverse outcomes for the child patient. Pediatric medical negligence cases can be complex.

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.

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.

Informed Consent

Relevant information for this can include information with respect to the medical condition, details of the procedure or treatment, benefits / risks discussion. A discussion with respect to the uncertainties should be had. Once the information is to hand patients can make an informed decision then how to proceed.

What is the Hippocratic Oath

It is an ethical guide with respect to health care providers.

Hippocrates was a physician himself. It is summarised as first, do no harm. It is similar to a moral code with respect to patient safety.

What are the first steps in investigating a medical negligence case?
  • If the person is engaging a medical negligence solicitor, have a meeting with their solicitor to have an initial discussion about the matter.
  • Collection of Medical Records.
  • Chronology of events assessment : One has to get clear on the specific chronology of factual events in order of time.
  • Medical Records Assessment.
  • Expert Medical Review Obtained. The expert will assess whether the care provided met the accepted standards of medical practice. They will also help determine if any deviations from these standards could have contributed to the patient’s injury.
  • Legal Assessment : One has to assess if a breach has been identified and is causation identified. The breach in standard of care must be directly linked to the persons injury. Causation is the most difficult legal hurdle aspect of medical negligence cases for a number of reasons.
  • Legal Opinion : The person can receive a legal opinion from the solicitor and barrister dealing with the matter. The client decides what they wish to do, and proceedings may or may not commence at this juncture.

What is the burden of proof in a medical negligence case ?

The Balance of Probabilities.

In essence the injured person must prove on the balance of probabilities in a civil claim that facts alleged are true. He/she must prove the alleged facts are more likely thank not to be true than the countervailing facts proffered.

What are general damages ?

This is a heading of loss in a medical negligence case which deals with the pain and suffering of the injured party.

A comparison will be made as to how the person was before the incident to then after the incident.

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.

What is medical negligence ?

For an injured person to succeed in medical negligence* legal Medical negligence occurs when healthcare professionals provide care that falls below the accepted standard, resulting in harm or injury to the patient.

What are the common types of medical negligence?

Common types include misdiagnosis, delayed diagnosis, surgical errors, medication errors, birth injuries, and failure to obtain consent.

Can I claim for psychological injuries caused by medical negligence ?

Yes, claims can be made for both physical and psychological injuries.

What types of errors qualify as medical negligence ?

Examples are :

Misdiagnosis, delayed diagnosis, failure to treat surgical errors, and medication errors.

Birth Injuries: Injuries sustained by infants during childbirth due to medical negligence, such as mishandling during delivery, failure to detect fetal distress, or improper use of medical instruments.

Anesthesia Errors: Errors related to administering anesthesia, such as dosage errors, failure to monitor the patient during anesthesia, or complications from anesthesia administration.

Failure to Obtain Informed Consent: Proceeding with medical treatment without obtaining the patient’s informed consent or failing to adequately inform the patient about the risks and alternatives of the proposed treatment.

Laboratory Errors: Errors in conducting or interpreting laboratory tests, leading to misdiagnosis or incorrect treatment decisions.

Radiology Errors: Errors in interpreting diagnostic imaging studies, such as X-rays, CT scans, or MRI scans, resulting in misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis.

What role do expert witnesses play in medical negligence cases

Expert witnesses play an important role in medical negligence cases, as in many other jurisdictions. These experts assess whether the standard of care was breached and whether that breach directly caused harm to the patient. Here’s a closer look at the specific roles of expert witnesses in these cases:

1. Establishing the Standard of Care

Expert witnesses are typically healthcare professionals with expertise in the specific area relevant to the case. They provide an independent assessment of the standard of care that should have been provided under similar circumstances.

2. Assessing Breach of Standard

Once the standard of care is established, an expert witness evaluates the actual care provided to the patient. They offer opinions on whether the actions (or inactions) of the healthcare provider fell below the standard of care.

3. Linking a Breach to Harm

A very important proof aspect is causation, that is, linking the breach in the standard of care to the injury or harm suffered by the patient. The expert provides an opinion on this.

4. Explaining Medical Concepts

Medical negligence cases often involve complex medical terminology and procedures. Expert witnesses explain the medical detail to assist a court make informed decisions based on a correct understanding of medical practices.

What legal recourse is available if a child suffers from birth injuries due to negligence ?

A child has no legal capacity to take a case.

Such a legal claim must be brought within two years of the date of the incident or the date on which the injury was discovered. However, for children, this period does not begin until they reach the age of majority (18 years old).

The parent of the child will like commence legal proceedings to seek legal recourse through the courts.

Loss of Earnings

Both present and possible future loss of earnings may need to be reviewed in case. This is dependent on the persons individual circumstances as a result of what arose.

How do you prove medical negligence in Ireland ?

In essence the law needs to be applied to the facts of each individual case.

Evidently as the nature of this legal action type concerns medical care, then the experts required to give evidence to court, having reviewed the medical care and prepared reports are doctors.

The injured parties evidence in addition to the medical records assist to put the facts together to then endeavour to prove medical negligence. Supportive medical evidence must be obtained and the assessed by the persons solicitor and barrister and the case presented to the court for assessment.

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?
Special Damages

Special damages in a medical negligence case, which are out of pocket expenses, can include loss of earnings, medical expenses, rehabilitation costs, long-term care costs, further medical remedial care work which is needed.

Each persons loss will have to be examined on an individual basis.

Do You Need Advice on Medical Negligence Law ?

Anaesthesia awareness Claims
Birth Injury Claim
Cosmetic Surgery Claims
Eyelid Surgery (Blepharoplasty) Claims
Rhinoplasty Surgery Claims
Erb’s Palsy Claims
Deep Vein Thrombosis
Surgical Error Claim
Gastric Band Negligence Claim

Patient Safety Act 2023

Top Articles on Medical Negligence Claims*

Acquired Brain Injury Claims Guide

Acquired Brain Injury Claim Guide A brain injury can evidently be a very serious injury and the following are some questions answered in this regard and about acquired brain injury claims. A person who has sustained such an injury has many questions and concerns about their present day and future. There are practical considerations to…

Continue Reading Acquired Brain Injury Claims Guide

Brachial Plexus Birth Injury

Brachial Plexus Birth Injury If a parent of a child is concerned about the medical care provided during birth and wishes to explore their legal options, we can have an appointment to discuss the matter. Alot of frustration arises when something happens is due to a lack of communication and the parents wondering what happened…

Continue Reading Brachial Plexus Birth Injury

Hospital Negligence Claims

Hospital Negligence Claims If you have been injured as a result of medical care error and wish to know what your legal rights are in the matter, we can have an appointment with you to discuss the facts and thereafter apply the law to the facts. This post will give the person information about the…

Continue Reading Hospital Negligence Claims

Dental Negligence Claims

Dental Negligence Claims To succeed in a dental negligence claim, you need to provide evidence that proves the medical carer failed in their duty and statutory duty causing you harm. Book a Dental Negligence Claims Understanding the Legal Framework Surrounding Dental Negligence Claims When seeking professional dental care, we expect professional dental treatment to follow…

Continue Reading Dental Negligence Claims

Transparency Decade | Duty of Candour | Medical Negligence*

Transparency Decade | Duty of Candour | Medical Negligence* Recently, a conference took place where it was proposed, a ‘Duty of Candour’ should exist in Ireland in relation to health care provision. Book a Medical Negligence Consultation Today Transparency Decade | Duty of Candour | Medical Negligence. This duty, if implemented, would benefit patients, doctors,…

Continue Reading Transparency Decade | Duty of Candour | Medical Negligence*

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.

Visit our Dublin 7 or Clonmel, Co. Tipperary offices and we assist clients across Ireland.