Medical professionals have what is known as a ‘duty of care’ towards their patients. In essence, they are required by law to provide patients with due care, adequate and timely treatment, medication and advice whenever required. Failure to provide this care and all it entails may result in a patient not recovering properly, becoming more seriously ill or receiving an injury or damage to their health. In such cases, patients may then claim for medical negligence compensation. There are, however, several factors, or elements, that need to be proven in order for claims for compensation to be granted.
Liability and duty of care
In the first instance, it must be established that there was a duty of care. This is generally easy enough, as medical personnel are required by law to provide timely and proper care to patients. Who is liable for the alleged clinical negligence depends on circumstances and may involve any medical professionals and / or the employing authority they work under.
Medical negligence claims and breach of duty
A person claiming compensation for injury by medical negligence also has to prove that the attending medical professional(s) failed to perform their duty of care sufficiently. Known as breach of duty, this includes wrongful diagnosis; provision of inadequate or no treatment; administration of wrong / no medication; failure to give necessary and correct advice, and more. A breach of duty is typically established by comparing the professional’s actions against what can be reasonably expected as standard actions to be undertaken in any particular case. Unless this is proven, a medical negligence injury claim has little chance of being successful.
Causation and medical negligence compensation
The second element of medical negligence is causation. This basically means that the injury or damages claimed for must have been the direct result of a breach of duty. This may be an immediate effect or an effect appearing some time after the alleged breach of duty. In a case where the duty of care was breached, but the breach did not lead to an injury, a claim is usually not justified.
Medical negligence, personal injuries, accidents at work and the burden of proof
Whether you are claiming for compensation in cases of medical negligence, other personal injuries or work accidents, the burden of proving that the injury was received at no fault of your own always lies with you.