Recent figures released by the Courts Service of Ireland indicate that the number of medical malpractice claims being brought by injured patients has increased each year since 2010.
Medical Malpractice claims can be brought against General Practitioners, Hospitals, Surgeons, Physiotherapists and Drug Companies. In many cases people are injured through the administration of particular drugs which drugs may have been recommended by Doctors. This can then lead to litigation being brought against the Hospital and the Drug Company.
Taking a medical malpractice claim against a Doctor can be a very stressful and difficult legal process. There are a number of considerations that an injured person has to take in to account. The first one is obviously whether it can be proven that the Doctor acted negligently and as a result of that negligence an injury was caused. This is called the ‘causation’ rule. In many cases even where there is negligence it is difficult to prove that the negligence actually caused the adverse event.
The first step in investigating any potential medical malpractice claim is to obtain copies of all of the relevant medical notes and records, scans and x-rays so that these can be submitted to the appropriate medical expert for their opinion as to the standard of treatment given to the patient and whether that standard fell short of what would be expected from a Doctor acting with ordinary care. It is very important that the medical records are checked before they are submitted to the expert to make sure that all of the records are in place.
Medical malpractice claims have to be activated promptly because under the statute of limitations act there is a 2 year time limit to activating claims.
Medical malpractice claims in Ireland do not have to be referred to the Injuries Board as the Board does not deal with these types of claims. The 2 year time limit can be extended in certain circumstances by reference to a person’s date of knowledge. That is the date that they became aware they were injured, that the injury in question was significant and that it was caused in whole or in part by an act which constituted negligence.
In summary medical malpractice claims need to be dealt with by a specialist Solicitor with experience in handling complex and difficult medical negligence cases. In many cases Moloney & Co Solicitors can engage initial screening reports from Independent Experts for a reduced fee. In those screening reports the Independent Expert will give a preliminary view as to whether there has been medical malpractice in the patients treatment and if so whether a damages claim is likely to succeed or not.