How to Sue a Hospital in Australia


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When you or a loved one seeks medical care, the expectation is to receive treatment that meets professional standards. Unfortunately, there are times when the care provided falls short. These instances are referred to legally as “medical negligence” and can cause serious harm or even death. If you or a loved one has been the victim of medical negligence or malpractice in a hospital, this guide aims to help you through the complexities of suing a hospital for negligence in Australia.

Medical Negligence vs Malpractice

Medical negligence and malpractice are some of the more complicated cases in personal injury law, but what’s the difference between these instances of substandard care? In Australia, Malpractice and Negligence are generally used interchangeably, though some may differentiate the terms based on whether or not the medical professional in question has malicious intent. 

Under these more rigid definitions, medical negligence refers to unintentional harm caused by a healthcare provider’s failure to meet the standard of care. Malpractice, on the other hand, suggests a more deliberate disregard for patient safety. 

Regardless of the type that has occurred, proving medical negligence or malpractice can be challenging and complex. If you or a loved one may have suffered harm from hospital negligence and you’re wondering how to sue a doctor in Australia, speak to the Personal Injury specialists at Carbone Lawyers for a free assessment of whether your circumstances qualify.

Legal Criteria for Filing a Negligence Claim in Victoria

Specific criteria must be met for suing a hospital for negligence in Australia. At a minimum for successful medical negligence cases in Victoria, you must:

  • Initiate the claim within 3 years of when you have discovered the negligence and injury*.
  • Prove harm (injury, pain, suffering) as a result of the actions or inactions of a medical professional.
  • Prove that the practitioner’s actions or treatment was below the professional standard that a peer would have provided in the same circumstances.
  • Prove that the harm would not have occurred had the treatment been appropriate.

*This time frame is for adults in Victoria and applies to the date the adult discovered or should reasonably have discovered the injury, that its cause was the fault of another, and that its severity was sufficient for a claim. 

Navigating the Claim Process

The road to claiming medical negligence is different for every case and can take several years. The first step is generally gathering comprehensive evidence, including medical reports, records of diagnosis, and any communication with healthcare providers. The team at Carbone Lawyers excels in helping clients collate and organise this crucial evidence, laying a strong foundation for their case.

In successful medical negligence cases, the compensation awarded aims to restore the individual to the quality of life they would have had had the negligence not occurred. This can differ from case to case but takes into account factors such as:

  • Past and future related medical expenses
  • Pain and suffering and the loss of enjoyment of life
  • The cost of car and home modifications you require as a result of your injury
  • The financial value of care provided by friends and family
  • Loss of earnings (past and present)

Ready to Take the Next Step? Contact Carbone Lawyers

If you believe you have been a victim of medical negligence at a hospital in Victoria, the path forward can be long and complex. That’s where we step in. Carbone Lawyers offer expert guidance and support with a No Win, No Fee policy, ensuring your case is handled with the attention and expertise it needs, without worrying about any costly upfront fees in most personal injury cases.

Don’t settle for less, if you need legal advice or are unsatisfied with your current lawyers, the Carbone Lawyers team is ready to help. Start your free claim assessment online or call 1800 369 888.

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