As patients, we have the right to place our trust in doctors, nurses and other medical professionals to look after us by providing quality care. However, there are times when these medical professionals have caused their patients to suffer injury because of negligent medical treatment. In these cases, a patient may be eligible to file a medical negligence claim, and receive compensation for their injuries.
But how is your medical negligence compensation calculated in such circumstances? Read on to find out more what the key areas affecting a compensation payout.
Purpose of compensation
The purpose of any compensation is to put the patient back to the position they would have been in had they not received negligent medical treatment. Therefore, how much compensation is paid will vary between cases, and ultimately depends on the patient’s individual circumstances. If the patient’s medical negligence claim is successful, compensation will be paid by the medical professional’s insurer.
Types of compensation
A patient may receive compensation for:
Past and future medical expenses
Cost of care (domestic assistance) provided by a professional, or by friends and family
Loss of past and future earnings
Pain, suffering and loss of enjoyment of life
Need to know more about Medical negligence?
Medical negligence is an injury or consequence of medical treatment that could have been prevented or rectified. The type of the injury will determine whether or not negligence has occurred.
For example if you go into hospital for a routine operation, say an appendectomy, and after the surgery you experience continued abdominal pain. When you return to the doctors, they find a golden earring lodged in your colon. As a result further surgery and treatment is required and all because the original surgeon had been careless. In this kind of case you are eligible to lay a claim of medical negligence or malpractice. In Australia, as with many countries, medical practitioners are not exempt from liability, however if the care given is considered ‘reasonable’ and the injuries could not have been reasonably foreseen, then a claim cannot be launched. For instance in the case of a botched appendectomy, if the continued pain and injury were due to circumstances outside of the doctors control, perhaps the patient’s immune system reacted poorly to the procedure, then the doctor cannot be held accountable.
What are damages for economic loss?
- Payment of past and future medical expenses including hospital, reconstruction/replacement surgery, prosthesis, and rehabilitation expenses;
- Reasonable and necessary attendant care, domestic assistance, and home modification expenses;
- Other reasonable and necessary expenses incurred as a result of your injuries;
- Past loss of income
- Calculate at your pre-injury rate for the time you were unfit for work as a result of your injury
- Future loss of income
- If an injury is likely to affect your ability to earn money now or any time in the future up until retirement age the amount of compensation is usually payable.
Again, the amount payable will depend upon the full nature and extent of your injury and its impact on your capacity to earn.