The term ‘Medical Negligence’ is used to refer to a situation where an individual suffers a personal injury as the result of an error made by a medical practitioner, professional, or organisation.
While the vast majority of healthcare professionals operating in Ireland are trustworthy, safe, and dedicated to their line of work, mistakes can happen which may result in the need for a medical negligence claim to be launched. Such instances may include the misdiagnosis of a fatal illness, an error that occurred during surgery, or if the standard of medical care provided to you was insufficient, to name but a few.
In order to make a medical negligence claim in Ireland, the onus is on you to prove three things:
- That the treating medical professional/organisation owed a duty of care to you
- That this duty of care was breached
- That this breach caused you harm or personal injury
Below, we will explore these three points in greater detail.
That the treating medical professional/organisation owed a duty of care to you
Duty of care is the legal obligation of every healthcare professional in Ireland to provide you with a reasonable standard of care when being treated. Providing care to a reasonable level is expected of any competent doctor, nurse, midwife, surgeon, etc. working in Ireland, and is thus easy to prove.
That this duty of care was breached
This point is where the gathering of evidence for a medical negligence claim can become more complicated, as you must prove that the treating professional or organisation failed to provide you with a reasonable level of care.
The litmus test for such occurrences is whether comparative medical practitioners would have acted in the same way in response to your specific medical needs or circumstances. If not, then it can be reasonably judged that there has been a failure in their duty of care towards you.
That this breach caused you harm or personal injury
If it can be established that a breach of duty occurred, you must then prove that this breach directly contributed towards your suffering. It is important to note that it is not sufficient to prove that a medical professional made a mistake; you must prove that their actions/inactions actively caused you suffering and have resulted in your ill health.
Speaking to a solicitor
The launching of a medical negligence claim in Ireland can be confusing, daunting, and time consuming for individuals who are unsure of the legal jargon and processes involved. Like with any legal claim, it is strongly recommended that you speak to a solicitor who specialises in such cases and can provide you with the best advice before proceeding with a medical negligence claim.
*In contentious business, a solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage or proportion of any award or settlement.*