Medical Negligence

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What is Medical Negligence*?

In general Medical Negligence* is the failure of a Doctor, Consultant or any other medical personnel to meet certain standards of care relating to the medical profession. These standards are commonly based on what a reasonable doctor with the requisite knowledge and skills would or would not do. In other words it is the medical professional’s failure to exercise reasonable medical judgement in a particular case.

Unlike in other professions, negligence by a doctor, physician, consultant, midwife or other medical professional can have dire consequences for the patient and their family. Although health professionals have a duty of care towards their patients, when something goes wrong the medical fraternity tends to become highly elusive and defensive. In Ireland taking medical negligence claims* is often the only way to learn precisely what went wrong with your treatment.

Medical negligence claims* in Ireland are very complex. The outcome of a case will often depend on whether the action taken or not taken by the professional is deemed unreasonable in the circumstances. This can be difficult to prove, which is why it is essential that a qualified and experienced legal team be engaged for medical negligence claims.

For your information

Pursuant to Section 7 of the Courts and Civil Liability Act, 2004, the limitation period to pursue a medical negligence action* has been reduced from 3 years to 2 years, from the date of knowledge of the medical misadventure event.

The average medical negligence award* in Ireland is currently €63,000, but depending on the severity of the case, settlements can be far higher, for example:

  • The Health Service Executive (HSE) apologised to the family of John McNeive in Mayo, and made a settlement of €102,000 after a two-year delay in the diagnosing of his cancer. The settlement was for the mental stress to the family.
  • Emma Dempsey suffered shoulder injuries during her birth, causing her to have limited function in her right arm and shoulder permanently. The case was taken against the National Maternity Hospital and against a consultant obstetrician. The High Court approved a settlement of €500,000, which was made without any acceptance of liability.

Immediate Callback from a Solicitor or Freephone: 1800 93 88 93

C.M. Haughey Solicitors, Christchurch Hall, High Street, Dublin 8, Tel (01) 421 4220, Fax (01) 454 8338

*In contentious business, a solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage or proportion of any award or settlement.

*This statement is made in compliance with Reg. 8 of the SI 518 or 2002.