Medical Negligence which is also known as “clinical negligence” occurs when a person suffers an injury as a result of a healthcare professional not providing an adequate or proper level of care. Health professionals would include doctors, dentists and any other medical professionals.
If you wish to bring a medical negligence claim, it is advisable that you make contact with a Solicitor who will take an initial detailed attendance from you and carry out investigations as to whether there is potentially an actionable case. The investigations would include the following:-
- It is advisable to obtain medical records from various hospitals and GPs that you have attended to ascertain your past medical history and the history of the treatment.
- You will be required to obtain a report from a suitably qualified expert confirming that in their opinion the treatment that you received fell below the requisite standard of care which would be expected.
- Once a suitable expert report is at hand commenting on liability and causation, a letter of claim would need to be sent to the appropriate defendant.
- You may then consider bringing court proceedings. Your solicitor would be required to brief a barrister to draft the appropriate court proceedings. The majority of medical negligence cases are in the High Court.
The first key step to ascertaining whether there is an actual case is to get an appropriate expert report. As Ireland is a relatively small country, it is often difficult to find an appropriate expert based in Ireland and you may be required to retain an expert based in the United Kingdom or elsewhere. This report will comment on causation and liability and is crucial in ascertaining as to whether there is a stateable case.
Once proceeding have been issued, the defendant will then set out there position and it will then be clear as to whether liability or causation are being disputed. If this is not being disputed, there is a strong possibility that the defendant will enter into settlement negotiations. If the matter is being disputed by the defendants it is likely that the matter will then go to a court hearing or trial.
It is important to know under the Statute of Limitations Act 1957 the time limit for bringing a medical negligence case is two years from the date of injury or the date of knowledge that the injury was caused.