Overview of Medical Negligence in Ireland

Medical negligence claims are becoming increasingly common in Ireland as victims become more aware of their rights and seek advice.

It is not just in hospitals where patients may be at risk from medical negligence. Ireland has many other medical institutions in which the threat of medical negligence exists. Dentists, opticians, ophthalmologists, chiropractors, midwives and plastic/cosmetic surgeons are all medical practitioners who are capable of errors which could cause life-threatening situations through medical negligence.

Medical negligence in Ireland is not confined to errors within the operating theatre. The misdiagnosis of an ailment or a delay in taking appropriate action is classified as medical negligence in Ireland. As are hospital acquired infections such as MRSA or those transmitted through contaminated blood – the Anti-D/Hepatitis C incident being a prime example of medical negligence in Ireland.

An item receiving a lot of media attention at present is the DePuy hip replacement recall which, although currently being classified as a product liability case, could quickly change into one of medical negligence in Ireland if it is proven that the Health & Safety Executive continued to implant these systems into patients even though they were fully aware of the unacceptable failure rates.

Determining Medical Negligence in Ireland

Medical negligence claims are not always a straightforward situation to prove. It has to be shown that on the “balance of probability”, a medical practitioner acted in a negligent manner which directly caused or contributed to an injury. This means that even though you suffered an injury due to the actions of your medical practitioner, the way in which you were treated could have been unavoidable, and the courts will seek the counsel of a competent physician to decide whether he or she would have acted in the same manner as the defendant doctor.

Some instances of proving medical negligence in Ireland would appear more obvious – misdiagnosing an illness, a failure to act on test results or an error in administering treatment or drugs, for example. However, for a claim of medical negligence in Ireland to be successful, a registered medical practitioner must be judged to have demonstrated poor professional performance – whether a lack of skill or a failure to apply that skill.

Claiming Compensation for Medical Negligence in Ireland

Claiming compensation for medical negligence in Ireland can be a long and complex procedure. Once there is suspicion of medical negligence, further medical examinations will be required to determine that your health has in fact deteriorated due to your medical practitioner failing to provide the duty of care you are entitled to. Only once this has been established can you make a claim for medical negligence in Ireland and sue the practice, hospital or health authority which employs the negligent medical practitioner.

All compensation claims for medical negligence in Ireland are dealt with by the court system and not by the Injuries Board Ireland. You will need to be represented by a solicitor in all your dealings with the court.

Of course a general legal practitioner will be able to deal with your case, but a solicitor experienced in medical negligence in Ireland will be more familiar with the procedures required to ensure that you receive a fair award of compensation for the physical and psychological trauma you have suffered. Furthermore, a specialised personal injury claims solicitor will be accustomed to approaches from medical insurance companies or the Health and Safety Executive with offers of early medical negligence settlements. The solicitor will be able to negotiate with these companies so that you are not undercompensated with an inadequate amount.

Children and Medical Negligence in Ireland

If your child has been the victim of medical negligence in Ireland, you, as a parent or guardian, can make a claim for medical negligence compensation acting as their “next friend”. As with all cases of medical negligence in Ireland, the final award of compensation to children – even when mutually agreed between the victim´s legal representative and the medical insurance company – has to be approved by a court before payment can be made.

The Statute of Limitations and Medical Negligence in Ireland

Children have any time up until two years from when they come of age in which to make a compensation claim for medical negligence in Ireland, but adults only have two years from the “date of knowledge” in which to present their case. This is not two years from the date the medical negligence took place, but two years from the date on which it was confirmed that you had been the victim of medical negligence in Ireland.

Nonetheless, this is no reason to prevent you contacting a specialised personal injury claims solicitor at the earliest possible opportunity when you believe that you may be the victim of medical negligence in Ireland. As mentioned above,claiming compensation for medical negligence in Ireland can be a long and complex procedure, and in order for you to discuss your case with a qualified and experienced solicitor, we have established a free advice telephone service which you are invited to contact.

This service can be accessed by calling or completing your contact details in the call-back form on the left. Our helpline is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, during which time our solicitors are on hand to offer helpful and practical advice and provide valuable information about making a compensation claim for medical negligence in Ireland. Please note that all calls to our free service are treated with the utmost confidentiality, and there is no obligation on you to proceed with a compensation claim once you have spoken with us.



This is an Information site only – if you feel you have a potential claim, you should discuss your situation with a solicitor registered with the Law Society of Ireland.