Introduction

Patients that enter Accident & Emergency departments at hospitals that have suffered physical or psychological harm or financial loss as a result of negligent medical treatment may be able to claim compensation for the breach of the hospital or doctors’ duty of care. Each state will have their own legislation governing medical negligence. Each year, the country’s approximately 300 Accident & Emergency Departments receive about 8 million visits. By some estimates, as many as 18,000 people die every year as a result of medical error, while 50,000 people suffer a permanent injury.

Usually, claims for damages arising out of medical negligence take place in the courts but an independent Commissioner can assist parties to reach resolution, including financial payment, through a complaints resolution and conciliation process.

To be successful in a medical negligence, a claim must be able to demonstrate that the standard of care fell short of what would be reasonably expected of an emergency doctor in the circumstances, and the failure to provide the expected standard of professional care resulted in the patient suffering, being harmed, or incurring a loss.

The test used to determine causation is the ‘balance of probabilities’ i.e. it is more likely than not that the error committed in the accident & emergency department caused the harm or loss.

Once negligence is proven, the specific damages for quantifiable economic losses can be calculated from the date of the injury e.g. medical, care, and hospital charges,
rehabilitation expenses, special equipment, travel and accommodation costs, loss of income (including superannuation), and legal costs.

In addition, general damages for non-economic losses arising from a significant injury can be estimated e.g. pain and suffering, disfigurement, loss of limbs, organs or senses, loss of future earning capacity, loss of enjoyment of life.

An assessment of the degree of impairment should be made by an approved medical examiner that will assess the impairment and provide a certificate of assessment. The hospital or doctor attending the emergency department can challenge this assessment by requesting a medical panel make a determination on the impairment.

There is normally a statement of limitations on claiming compensation for medical negligence. Ideally, it should be within three years of patient becoming aware of the harm or loss. In some special circumstances a longer period of up to twelve years is permissible.

At the bottom of this profile are brief details of a number of the experts that Expert Experts represents. Call our office to discuss your requirements and to obtain an expert submission that suits your needs and budget.

Expertise in Action

Experts in medical negligence can give opinions in cases where hospital emergency departments have breached codes of conduct, misdiagnosed patients, prescribed medications that are ineffective, inappropriate, or harmful, failed to maintain confidentiality, failed to warn of side effects of medication or surgery, failed to keep adequate records, ignored consent protocols, or did not refer patients to the appropriate specialists or surgery resulting in harm or a delayed intervention.

Experts can also help calculate economic losses and estimate non-economic losses for pain and suffering.

Sample Reports

For some fields of expertise we have some sample sections of de-identified reports. Please contact our office if you are interested in a sample.

Cost

The overall cost of expert opinion depends on the services required. Some of the key factors that affect the cost of advice include:

  • The need for a view or inspection of a location
  • The quantity of documentary material to be reviewed
  • Whether there are reports of other experts to be reviewed and commented on in detail
  • Whether there is a need for conferences with the expert either in person or by telephone/Skype
Relevant Articles Emergency department care 2016–17: Australian hospital statistics

Emergency department care 2016–17: Australian hospital statistics provides information on people who present at emergency departments in Australia, including who used services, why they used them, and how long they had to wait for care.

Emergency departments in 'crisis' as mental health patients left waiting: new report

According to a report by the Australasian College for Emergency Medicine (ACEM), more than 250,000 Australians visit the emergency department each year seeking help for acute mental and behavioural conditions. But mental health patients are having to wait longer than other patients to be assessed and treated, and as a result, are sometimes leaving the emergency department before finishing treatment — at their own risk, and against medical advice.

NSW hospitals warning: nurses and staff ‘flat out’ and ‘exhausted’ as Covid numbers soar

With the outbreak of COVID-19, emergency departments within NSW have been caused to undertake an extensive workload have been forced to extend all their human and medical resources due to a shortage of staffing and other medical professionals.

Relevant Cases Herron v HarperCollins Publishers Australia Pty Ltd (No 3) [2020] FCA 1687 (25 November 2020)

Expert opinion relating to brain assessments made prior, particularly in relation to whether a patients' treatment standard was to be constituted as negligence or medical malpractice.

Gould v South Western Sydney Local Health District [2017] NSWDC 67

Experts opinions were given on whether the gangrene contracted by an eight year old boy was due to the antibiotic medication given after an emergency hospital surgical procedure.

Related Blog Articles

A sample of our experts in Medical negligence - Emergency

Below are short profiles of a sample of some of the experts with expertise in this field. Not all of the experts we work with appear on our website and finding new experts for unusual or hard to find fields is our specialty.

Please contact our office to discuss your specific requirements and to obtain an expert submission that suits your needs and budget. Expert Experts are experts in finding the right expert for your needs.

Contact us at answers@expertexperts.com.au or give us a call 1300 72 66 55

Expert Experts sources experts in all disciplines for lawyers, insurers, government and industry across Australia

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