What is involved in making a compensation claim for medical procedure errors in hospital?
Because every claim for medical procedure errors in hospital is different, it would be better to discuss the specific circumstances of a procedural error in hospital directly with a solicitor. However, as a general guide:-
When you first speak with a solicitor, he or she will listen as you explain the medical procedure you underwent, the injury you sustained due to a procedural error and what explanation (if any) has been given to you for the error at the hospital being made.
As it may not necessarily be the medical practitioner who was treating you at the time of the procedural error who is at fault for your injury – for example if he or she was given the wrong information – your solicitor will write to every doctor and member of the medical support team that were involved in your procedure to obtain their notes in relation to the treatment in hospital you received.
If you have not already done so, your solicitor will also send a ‘Letter of Complaint’ on your behalf to the HSE hospital or private medical facility in which you underwent the procedure.
The feedback from the ‘Letter of Complaint’ and the notes from the medical practitioners providing your treatment in hospital will be analysed by a medical expert to determine where in the chain of events the procedural error in your treatment was made and provide that information to your solicitor; who will then confirm with you that you have an injury claim for a hospital procedure error before sending a ‘Letter of Claim’ to the hospital or private medical facility at which you underwent the procedure.
If there is any delay in the Health Service Executive (or private medical facility) acknowledging their mistake, your solicitor may have to issue court proceedings; however, a court appearance is not usually required to resolve an injury claim for a hospital procedure error as there is rarely any defence against an injury due to a medical procedure error in hospital and your claim should be resolved quickly – even if it is in an out-of-court settlement without an admission of liability.
If you have sustained a loss, an injury or the avoidable deterioration of an existing condition due to a procedural error in a hospital, you should speak with a solicitor without delay. Although the Statute of Limitations allows plaintiffs two years to make a claim for medical procedure errors in hospital, a ‘Letter of Complaint’ should be sent within a year of an injury being diagnosed due to a mistake being made at the hospital.
To ensure that the ‘Letter of Complaint’ and the ‘Letter of Claim’ do not contain contradictory content, it would be in the best interests of your claim for medical procedure errors in hospital if both were prepared and submitted by your solicitor. As evidence of negligence in an injury claim for a hospital procedure error can take some time to accumulate, it is advisable to contact a solicitor to discuss the circumstances of the unfortunate event at the first practical opportunity.