A medical lawyer can help you with issues regarding the medical negligence of doctors and other medical professionals. Medical negligence is when a doctor performs a procedure or operation, prescribes medication, makes a diagnosis, or performs some other aspect of medical practice in a way that is not consistent with appropriate and sound medical techniques. This results in damage to patients which could have been avoided if the doctor or other type of medical professional had acted correctly. The law in many countries protects patients against medical negligence because it is possible to claim against the doctor or their employer as a result of an act of medical negligence and substantial damages can be obtained.
How do you prove medical negligence?
There are four major elements to proving a claim of medical negligence. The first is that there was a duty of care in relation to doctors they always have a duty of care over their patients in the law of any common-law country such as the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, Australia, India or any other Commonwealth country. This is simply an element of the common law which has been adopted to prevent medical professionals from acting in ways which show no care of their patients. The second major element is that there was a breach of the duty of care. A breach of a duty of care normally relates to the concept of a standard of care. The doctor must perform the procedure, operation, diagnosis or other type of medical activity in a way that is consistent with substantial body of medical opinion at the time. It is necessary to note that the doctor does not have to conform with the majority of medical opinion and only that their actions must be consistent with a substantial body but this does not have to mean that it is the majority. The third major element to prove is causation. This means that it must be proven that the doctor through their negligence caused damage to the patient if for example a doctor conducted surgery on a patient with our first sterilising themselves and then the patient sustained a broken leg when a light fell on top of their league during the surgery this would mean that the chain of causation had broken and that it would be impossible to prove medical negligence at least on the grounds that the surgeon had not wash their hands before the operation.the final major element of proof is damage. This means that there must be damage shown as a result of the medical negligence. If for example a surgeon conducted an operation without sterilising themselves first the elements of duty breach and causation would be met however if the patient did not appeal as a result that no claim can be made because it is a requirement that the patient sustains damage as a result of negligence of the doctor involved.
Is there a statute of limitations?
Yes in almost every jurisdiction there is a statute of limitations involved in medical negligence. In New South Wales, Australia, for example the statute of limitations is normally six years under the civil liabilities legislation which was introduced to reform the system which had caused insurance premiums for professional indemnity insurance for doctors to get completely out of control because insurance companies had come to perceive the risk of claims of medical negligence against doctors as being so high that enormous levels of premiums were being charged. This meant that the legislation came in limited claims to within six years.although it should be noted that it is still possible to claim after six years however it is more difficult because there is more requirement to show reason why the claim was not made before the time of the statute of limitations expired.