Seeking compensation for medical negligence?

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Medical Negligence

What compensation can you receive?

Every medical negligence case is unique, and the amount of compensation will vary based on the specific circumstances. Medical Negligence claims are complicated, so obtaining legal advice is important to ensure that your compensation entitlements are met.

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The insurer responding to your claim is not required to act in your best interests, so you may miss out on compensation you are entitled to, without the assistance of a lawyer.

Every person is entitled to be compensated for:

  • Pain and suffering up to a maximum of approximately $406,000, depending on the year the injury occurred.
  • Lost earnings up to the date of resolution of their claim.
  • Personal future loss of income up to a maximum of approximately $3.8 million, depending on the year the injury occurred.
  • Business loss of income.
  • Assistance provided by a family member.
  • Future personal care, housework and gardening costs, if required.
  • Medical expenses.

So what are your chances of winning your case?

Several factors can influence your chances of winning a medical negligence claim. You need to:

  • Provide evidence from an independent doctor demonstrating that the medical professional failed to provide an acceptable standard of care.
  • Prove that the medical professional’s negligence caused the injury or harm.
  • Prove you have suffered actual harm or injury as a result of the negligence.

It's important to note that the outcome of each case will depend on its specific circumstances and facts. Consulting with a medical negligence lawyer can help determine the best course of action.

What fees are involved?

At MKF Lawyers, we operate on a ‘no win, no fee’ basis, so if your claim is unsuccessful you do not pay our legal fees. There’s no cost to reach out and have an initial chat about your case. We work on a no win no fee basis for most personal injury claims occurring in Adelaide. This means that you do not pay our legal fees in the event your claim is not successful. We usually work on a no win no fee basis for claims relating to motor vehicle accidents, childhood sexual and physical abuse, dog attacks, public liability, and total and permanent disability (TPD).

How long does the process take? What’s involved?

The time it takes for a medical negligence claim to be resolved can vary widely, depending on several factors, such as:

  • The complexity of the case. If your case is complex and involves a large amount of medical evidence, it may take longer to resolve.
  • The availability of evidence. If relevant evidence is difficult to obtain or if multiple experts are needed to provide evidence, it can prolong the resolution of your claim.
  • The willingness of the parties to engage in settlement negotiations. If the parties involved are able to reach a settlement, the case can be resolved more quickly than if it goes to trial.

As a rough guide, medical negligence claims can take approximately 18 to 24 months to resolve from the date you contact us.

We will:

  • Step 1: Have a phone call or in person meeting with you to discuss your case.
  • Step 2: Take a statement from you.
  • Step 3: Notify the other party of the claim.
  • Step 4: Obtain relevant medical records.
  • Step 5: Obtain reports from independent doctors regarding liability and causation.
  • Step 6: Wait for your injuries to reach a point where they are not going to get better or worse (stabilised).
  • Step 7: Obtain relevant financial records.
  • Step 8: Obtain reports from treating doctors and independent doctors regarding your injuries.
  • Step 9: Prepare an offer of settlement to commence settlement negotiations.

We understand that it can be difficult to make the decision to bring a claim against a treatment provider.  Some clients are worried about the impact the claim may have on the treatment provider or the treatment they may then receive to address the injuries caused by the mistake.  It is important to know that treatment providers and hospitals have insurance to compensate people for the errors they make. 

When can a medical negligence claim be made? 

Compensation for medical negligence may be sought as a result of injury, loss and damage being caused by a treatment provider (including medical staff at a hospital): 

  • Failing to properly investigate or diagnose an injury or illness.
  • Failing to provide adequate treatment to address an injury or illness.
  • Causing injury during the provision of treatment or surgery.
  • Failing to obtain consent for treatment. 

MKF Lawyers can provide advice regarding whether a claim can be made and the likely prospects of success of your medical negligence claim.   

Claims for medical negligence resulting in death

If the medical negligence causes death, a claim may be made in certain circumstances if someone was financially dependent on the deceased person.  It is necessary to prove that the treatment provider breached their duty of care and that breach of duty of care caused the death.  A personal injury claim may also be made by a close family member of the deceased in addition to a dependency claim if it can be demonstrated that they have suffered a psychiatric injury as a result of the death caused.  A claim for funeral expenses can also be made.

What time limits apply to medical negligence claims?

​It is necessary for you to provide notice of your claim, in compliance with the Court Rules.  There is specific information that you are required to provide in the notice so you should contact us to assist.  That notice needs to be provided within 6 months of the date of the injury. 

A three year time limit applies for any claim made for injuries caused by medical negligence including for any claim made for death caused by medical negligence.

MKF Lawyers has been recognised as a recommended medical negligence law firm (as voted by defendant lawyers and barristers) in Doyle's Guide 2023.


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Frequently Asked Questions

How do legal fees work?

We act on a no win no fee basis on almost every case. The only time we wouldn’t offer a no win no fee, is when a client wants to pursue a claim that we do not believe has a reasonable prospect of success.

No win no fee means that payment of our legal fees is not required until your claim has resolved and compensation is paid. The amount of our legal fees will be different in every case and we will provide you with an individualised estimate following our first detailed communication.

How long does a medical negligence claim take?

The time taken to finalise a medical negligence claim will depend on how soon you contact us after suffering the medical injury and how long it takes for your injuries to become stable, and the complexity of the medical and legal issues in the matter.  There are time limits set by legislation to bring a medical negligence claim.  It is necessary to bring a medical negligence claim within 3 years of the medical negligence occurring.

What happens if there is more than one treatment provider responsible for my injury?

If treatment was provided at a hospital by a privately engaged specialist and injury is sustained as a result of the treatment by that doctor and the hospital staff, a claim may be brought against the hospital and the doctor.  This does not mean you will receive double compensation. Instead, the insurers for each treatment provider will respond to the claim and will be responsible for sharing payment of the compensation to the extent they caused the negligence.  

By making a medical negligence claim, will the medical practitioner lose their right to practice medicine?

Making a compensation claim does not automatically have disciplinary consequences for a medical practitioner. A separate disciplinary action would be required to bring about such consequences. While we do not work in that area, we can provide suggestions if you wish to make a complaint about a medical practitioner.

Medical Negligence