A single mother in her early 30s, suffered severe physical and psychological injury following the actions of healthcare professionals during the birth of her second child. Our client initially contacted another law firm to assist, however as they did not practice in medical negligence, they referred her to our expert lawyers who contacted her to discuss the events surrounding her injuries.
The viability of her claim was assessed, taking into consideration the assumed facts, the law, the chances of a successful outcome, the likely costs involved in bringing a claim and the potential award of financial compensation. Our specialist lawyers provided their expert opinion on whether the investigation seemed worthwhile, and the client ultimately made the decision to move ahead with a medical negligence claim.
The main principles that must be proven for a healthcare professional to be found negligent are:
- that the healthcare professional had a duty of care towards the patient
- that the healthcare professional breached this duty of care by not meeting the required standard of care
- that the patient experienced an injury or loss that a reasonable healthcare professional would have been able to foresee
- that the injury or loss was caused by breach of duty
In this case, the healthcare professional’s surgical errors caused damage to our client’s body and the subsequent medical procedures and the treatment by other healthcare professionals at the same location were such that our client continued to suffer further injury, ultimately resulting in significant physical trauma, psychological injury, nerve damage and loss of intimate sensation.
Under the Civil Liability Act 2002 (CLA), injuries and disabilities must exceed 15% of the most extreme case to be entitled to claim compensation for pain and suffering arising out of the incident. Our client had previously seen an independent specialist with respect to her injuries, who provided us with a detailed independent medical assessment of her injuries.
Clinical records from our client’s treating doctors were obtained along with a detailed statement by our client.
From the healthcare professionals who treated our client, we requested a copy of the following:
- incident reports in relation to the specific incidents with our client
- all correspondence and communication between the healthcare professionals and our client
- witness statements taken as a result of the incidents with our client
- copies of all medical documents or treatment expense documents in relation to our client
- photographs of our client
- copies of all pre-surgical consent forms executed or signed by our client
- copies of all pre-surgical advice provided to our client
Upon gathering the relevant evidence, we notified the defendant of our client’s intention to pursue her claim in accordance with the Civil Liability Act. Although the defendant was not willing to formally admit liability, they were agreeable to consider settlement of the matter.
Settlement negotiations were entered into and an offer was made which our client accepted to resolve her claim.