Hospital accident compensation is a financial award made to you when you have sustained an injury in an accident on the hospital premises as a patient, visitor or member of staff, or when you have been the victim of medical negligence due to the actions – or lack of them – by one (or more) of the registered medical practitioners who work on behalf of the hospital. In both cases, there has to be proof of a lack of care or negligence on behalf of the hospital or its employees before you can claim hospital compensation.
Personal Injuries in Hospitals
Hospital injury compensation is the area of compensation that covers accidents on hospital premises. This would include slips, trips and falls due to an uneven or slippery surface, injuries sustained if you were hit by a mechanical cleaning device or if you suffer from food poisoning as a result of eating in the hospital restaurant. There are a large number of circumstances where you could sustain an injury through the hospital´s negligence, and be entitled to claim hospital compensation.
Claims for personal injury hospital compensation are submitted to the Injuries Board, who will then contact the hospital concerned and ensure that they accept liability for your injuries. Once consent is received, the Injuries Board Ireland require you to attend an independent medical examination to confirm your injuries. The Board will then assess the amount of hospital compensation due to you based on the Book of Quantum and any special damages that you have claimed.
When claiming hospital compensation of this nature, it is in your best interests – although not compulsory – to use the services of a specialised personal injury claims solicitor. A specialised personal injury claims solicitor will be able to assist you with the application form for your hospital compensation, guide you through the processes required if the hospital denies responsibility or claims that you contributed to your injuries through your own negligence, and ensure that the assessment made by the Injuries Board Ireland is a fair amount of hospital compensation and appropriate to your injuries.
Medical Negligence Hospital Compensation
In contrast, medical negligence hospital compensation is determined by the courts in Ireland, and will require the services of a solicitor in order to have your case presented. There are many excellent general practice legal representatives you could choose from to bring your case to court, however, a specialised personal injury claims solicitor, who is familiar with the terminology and specific arguments of a medical negligence hospital compensation claim, will be the your best ally.
Furthermore, when pursuing a claim for medical negligence hospital compensation, it is required that a medical expert testifies on your behalf to explain to the court how your injuries were sustained, and how they could have been avoided if the medical practitioner had performed to an adequate standard. In order to get the best medical expert for the job, is it once again better to rely on a specialised personal injury claims solicitor with experience in medical negligence hospital compensation claims.
Claims for hospital compensation due to medical negligence may also extend to injuries sustained away from the hospital itself. If your local doctor, chiropractor, midwife or any other medical practitioner is attached to the hospital, you may still be claiming hospital compensation for medical negligence if it happened in a doctor´s surgery, mobile clinic or even in your own home. Such are the complexities of claiming any form of hospital compensation; it is always to your benefit to discuss your case with a specialised personal injury claims solicitor experienced in both personal injury hospital compensation and medical negligence hospital compensation.
Time Limits for Claiming Compensation
In Ireland, there is a law called the Statute of Limitations which limits the amount of time you have between sustaining an injury in a hospital and making a claim for hospital compensation. In all cases of personal injury hospital compensation, the time limit is two years. In claims for medical negligence hospital compensation, you would have two years from the date of knowledge that medical negligence had taken place. This is because your injury caused by the medical negligence may not come to light for many years and consequently you would be time-barred before knowing that anything was wrong if the law was not designed in this way.
There are also special exclusions for children, who have until two years after their 18th birthday or date of knowledge (whichever is the later) in which to make a claim for hospital compensation. In all cases, a child has to be represented by a parent or guardian acting as their “next friend” and all awards of compensation – whether assessed by the Injuries Board Ireland or determined in the High Court – have to be approved by a court before payment can be made.