A medical negligence solicitor is a specialised personal injury claims solicitor who is familiar with the procedures and terminology used in litigating cases of medical negligence in court. His services would be required if you have been a victim of medical negligence or malpractice by a member of the medical profession, either in a hospital, clinic, doctor´s surgery or in your own home. Any registered general practice solicitor in Ireland is capable of representing you in a court of law, nut there are a number of advantages attached to using the services of a specialised medical negligence solicitor.
What Constitutes Medical Negligence
There are many reasons why you may require the services of a medical negligence solicitor. However, it is first best to determine what constitutes medical negligence. To prove a case of medical negligence, a medical negligence solicitor must show that you sustained an injury due to a registered medical practitioner demonstrating a lack of care towards his patient – whether this lack of care was due to a lack of skill or a failure to apply that skill. It also has to be proven that the actions – or lack of them – taken by the negligent medical professional were avoidable, and this argument would have to be supported by a competent physician in a court of law.
Examples of medical negligence would include the misdiagnosis of an illness which causes an existing complaint to worsen, while the negligent medical practitioner was attempting to treat a non-existent ailment. A medical negligence solicitor would also be required if you contracted a hospital-related disease whilst in the care of a hospital, or received contaminated blood during a blood transfusion. Any avoidable errors made during surgery would qualify as medical negligence, as would an injury sustained whilst being treated by a chiropractor, a tooth being extracted unnecessarily by a dentist or an injury to an infant which could have been avoided during childbirth.
Although these may look like straightforward instances of medical negligence, it could be possible that more than one individual treated you when you acquired your hospital-related disease, or errors made during surgery could have been made by one of several medical practitioners in attendance. Also, because claims for medical negligence are based on medical opinion, a medical negligence solicitor can only show that, “on the balance of probability”, a medical practitioner acted in a negligent manner which contributed to, or directly caused, an injury. The strength with which a medical negligence solicitor can prove his argument will often influence the amount of compensation you receive.
The Duties of a Medical Negligence Solicitor
When representing you in a claim for medical negligence, a medical negligence solicitor has a number of important duties. He is responsible for writing to each potential defendant, advising them why they are believed to be responsible for your injuries and requesting disclosure of your relevant medical records (having previously sought your permission to do so). A medical negligence solicitor will also have to acquire the services of the most relevant competent medical expert for your injury – to make an independent medical examination of your injuries with the aim of advising the court on whether he would have taken the actions – or lack of them – that were performed by the defending medical practitioners.
Further duties of a medical negligence solicitor would include keeping you informed of what is happening with your case, explaining – or translating for you – the legal and medical terminology that is being applied in the presentation of your claim for compensation. He would also represent you in court in the event that he has been unable to negotiate an acceptable settlement in the meantime.
Each medical practitioner – or the hospital, clinic or practice to which they are attached – has to have a medical insurance policy indemnifying them against claims for medical negligence compensation. If your medical negligence solicitor has prepared a sufficiently strong case against their client, insurance companies will be keen to discuss a negotiated settlement before the case is presented at court. There are some cases where an insurance company may approach you directly with an offer of early settlement, but it is always best left to the medical negligence solicitor to ensure that the amount of the offer is appropriate to the injury and suffering you have experienced.
Seeking Advice from a Medical Negligence Solicitor
You may feel that consulting with a medical negligence solicitor could be an expensive course of action for you. We have a telephone advice service to allow you to discuss a potential claim for medical negligence with an experienced medical negligence solicitor for free. There is no pressure on you to proceed with a claim once you have spoken with us – our aim is to provide helpful and practical advice to victims of medical negligence and malpractice.
Should you be unsure about your entitlement to claim for medical negligence, we will try to make a quick assessment of the circumstances surrounding your injury, and advise you if there is a claim which it is worth your while to pursue. We will also expand on the procedures involved in making a claim for medical negligence compensation, and the length of time it may take to have your case resolved.
If you would like to find out more, the number to call is 1800 911 940, and our helpline is open 24 hours per day 7 days per week. All calls to our free telephone advice service are treated in the strictest confidence and we also operate a call-back service if you prefer. Simply complete your contact details in the call-back form, indicating when would be a suitable time to call and one of our team will be in touch with you.