Medical negligence claims have soared in recent years partly due to an increase in medical procedures but also due to the public’s awareness that doctors are human and, like the rest of us, can make mistakes.
However, not every mistake can lead to a claim for medical negligence. You need to prove that the mistake was serious. The law was confirmed in a case called Hunter v Hanley from back in 1955 in which the Court defined negligence as a mistake that no ordinary doctor acting with reasonable skill and care would have made.
It follows that it is usually necessary for us to obtain a report on your behalf from an independent medical expert on whether the mistake in question amounted to negligence.
If a report is supportive we can then proceed with a medical negligence claim on your behalf.
Proving negligence alone however is not enough. We also need to prove that the outcome would probably have been better had it not been for the negligence. If for example a cancer patient is given the wrong drug and dies, we need to prove that it was this mistake, and not the cancer itself, which probably caused the death. This is called the law of causation.
Here are some other rules to bear in mind