*The contents in this blog relates to legislation in New South Wales.
Learn more about what you need to prove in a medical negligence claim here: Proving Medical Negligence in Medical Malpractice.
What are the steps – How to claim compensation for medical negligence
1. The Preliminary Investigation Stage
To make a medical negligence claim for compensation, liability must be confirmed by an expert in a report filed in Court with your claim. The role of the expert is to assist the Judge to understand the technical aspects of your claim, being the medical error, how it caused your injury, or the exacerbation of your existing injury, and the extent of the injury it caused you.
Turner Freeman Lawyers are a national firm, with experienced medical negligence lawyers located in Sydney and in offices throughout Australia. We start our investigations into your claim, by requesting and analysing your clinical records.
If that analysis further confirms the viability of a claim, your medical negligence lawyer will brief an expert for the purpose of obtaining an expert liability report to commence your claim. Should the expert provide a report that is supportive of your claim, Turner Freeman Lawyers will advise you further with a view to preparing and formally commencing your claim in Court.
2. Preparing and commencing your claim – filing a Statement of Claim and Statement of Particulars of your injuries and losses
On receipt of a supportive expert report, Turner Freeman Lawyers will be in a position to prepare and commence your claim in the Court of relevant jurisdiction. This is done by preparing a Statement of Claim and Statement of Particulars of your injuries, disabilities and other losses (called “damages”), and filing these documents along with the expert report.
As mentioned above, Turner Freeman Lawyers will quantify your injuries, loss and damages with a view to calculating and maximising your entitlements. This will include having you assessed by suitable experts to particularise your injuries and the impact of your injuries on your functional capacity and day-to-day life. Your damages are comprehensively set out in the Statement of Particulars.
The defendant will have an opportunity to satisfy themselves and investigate the negligence alleged and the damages claimed. The defendant or their insurers and/or legal representatives may verify and assess your claim by having you assessed by their own experts. Ultimately though, whether the expert is retained by us or by the defendant, the role of any expert is to assist the Court to understand the technical or specialised aspects of your claim.
3. Settling your claim – Settlement Conference or Mediation
Once both sides have prepared their cases and obtained any expert reports they intend to rely on, the parties will meet with a view to settling the claim by negotiation. This avoids the significant time, expense and risk of having a Court determine your claim.
At Turner Freeman Lawyers, your claim is efficiently and thoroughly prepared with robust and reliable medical evidence. This gives your claim the optimum chance of success. Most claims prepared by Turner Freeman Lawyers settle out of court at this stage on favourable terms.
4. Trial / Court Hearing
Although most medical negligence claims filed by Turner Freeman Lawyers do not go to trial, if a claim is not resolved between the parties outside of Court for whatever reason (ie by negotiation, mediation, settlement conference or otherwise), then the next and final stage is preparing for and attending the Court hearing and obtaining a final judgment in your matter.
Not all law firms are the same: choosing the right medical negligence lawyer to get the best results for your claim
A specialised medical negligence lawyer can make all the difference in the outcome of your case and the amount of compensation you obtain. Maximising your settlement is important. We understand that injured plaintiffs are often unable to work again and rely on those funds for ongoing medical and living needs, over the course of their lifetime.
Turner Freeman Lawyers are specialists in medical negligence law. In partnership with medical experts, we work to obtain the best possible outcome for you, whilst at the same time being mindful to keep costs at a minimum. Because of our specialised knowledge, we can work efficiently and effectively to achieve excellent results, whilst keeping costs and expenses down.
We are only paid if your matter is successful, at the end of the claim process. Your legal fees are generally paid (in part or full) by the defendant, in addition to your compensation sum, at the end of the claim. That means your matter will be able to progress without you having to fund significant legal costs along the way.
The initial consultation is important so that you can meet your specialist lawyer who will be your advocate as the claim progresses. It is important that you feel comfortable with your lawyer as we work in close partnership with you during what can be an emotional and stressful process.
You may then decide whether to retain Turner Freeman Lawyers to act for you on a “no-win-no-fee” basis.
Preparing for your initial consultation with Turner Freeman Lawyers
It helps if you have all of the details of your claim ready, including dates and names of your treaters.
We recommend that you:
1. Keep a record
- It’s a good idea to keep notes or a diary about any treatment you are concerned with, including important discussions with your medical or allied health care service providers and any advice or information you are given by them.
- A bullet point timeline is a quick and handy way you can record your experience and communicate it to your lawyer.
2. Gather and store your documentation
Gather any medical records you might have and store them safely, either in hard copy or electronically, including:
- Invoices and receipts for treatment expenses;
- Discharge summaries;
- Imaging reports;
Your records could become vital evidence in the event a claim is commenced, and will also assist during the investigation stage of your claim. We will ask you to pass them along to us.
3. Seek a second opinion
If you are concerned that you are not being given the right care by your medical professional, seek a second opinion from another medical professional to ensure your condition is being treated properly. Not only do you have a positive duty to minimise any harm suffered, at the end of the day the best result for you is to be happy, healthy and in the care of doctors you trust.
How do I get started with a medical negligence claim?
A serious and permanent injury can have devastating and wide reaching effects on you, your household and your finances. Making a claim for compensation can help to ease your burdens and address some of the pressures you might be facing in such circumstances. Turner Freeman Lawyers offers free initial consultations in Sydney and throughout Australia, as a leading national plaintiff personal injuries firm. You can take the first step by calling us on (02) 8222 3333.