Medical Negligence

Medical Negligence Solicitors* Dublin, Naas and Nationwide

Medical negligence claims* are a very complex area of the law, so it is essential that you are advised by solicitors specialising in medical negligence*. From our experience peoples main concern is getting answers and not necessarily bringing a medical negligence claim*.

At Hanahoe and Hanahoe this is what our specialist medical negligence solicitors* do, we help our client get they answers they need. Thankfully, in the main, we have a very good health care system, so often the injuries sustained are unavoidable.

However, unfortunately sometimes they are avoidable and given the serious or even catastrophic injuries that can occur, it can have a profound effect on people’s lives. In these cases, our team of medical negligence solicitors* will do everything possible to ensure that the mistakes that were made are acknowledged and that you receive the compensation* you deserve.

We have offices in both Dublin and Naas, where our medical negligence solicitors* have over 40 years’ experience advising clients on medical negligence claims*. We are an award-winning law firm, having twice won Leinster Law Firm of the Year and the Irish Law Awards. In 2019 we were also nominated as Personal Injury/Medical Negligence Law Firm of the Year.

Why Choose Hanahoe and Hanahoe as your Medical Negligence Solicitors*

  • We are specialist medical negligence solicitors* with over 40 years’ experience.
  • We understand that our client’s primary focus is to get answers and not necessarily to bring a medical negligence claim*. We help our clients get the answers they need.
  • We advise and represent clients from all across the country. Our medical negligence solicitors* can meet you at our Dublin or Naas office, or indeed over Zoom, Gotomeeting or other digital consultation platforms we use.
  • We have access to a wide range of medical experts, who can provide us with their expert opinions and you with the answers, as to whether the treatment you received was negligent.
  • We are an Award Winning Law Firm, whose expertise in the area of medical negligence claims* was recognised at the 2019 Irish Law Awards

Helping clients to Get Answers

Most clients who come in to our office are not looking for medical negligence compensation*, they are looking for answers. Something went wrong with their medical treatment, and either they do not understand what happened; or they feel that their questions or concerns have been dismissed; or they were not told what happened; or else they do not believe what they have been told.

We help our clients answer those questions. From our experience of dealing with people or their families, it is much easier for them to accept a diagnosis or a serious injury, if they know that it was no one else’s fault and that they have just been unlucky. As medical negligence solicitors* that is often that’s what we do. We tell our clients that there was no medical negligence* and they were just unlucky.

The sense of relief that can give our clients is often palpable. But sometimes there is negligence and sometimes our clients have been injured unnecessarily. In those cases, we fight for our client’s every step of the way to ensure that they get the redress and medical negligence compensation* they deserve.

What is a Medical Negligence Claim*?

Medical negligence* or clinical negligence claim* are essentially personal injury claims* arising out of a negligent medical error or misdiagnoses. Medical Negligence claims* generally arise where:

  1. Where there has been an error made during surgery.
  2. Where a medical practitioner has misdiagnosed a patient.
  3. Where a medical practitioner fails to act on or treat an illness or complaint properly.
  4. Where the treatment that a patient receives is not of the standard expected of a suitably qualified medical practitioner.
  5. Where there has been an error made during the delivery of a baby.

The Law on Medical Negligence Claims*

Medical Negligence claims* are governed by the test set out in the case of Dunne v The National Maternity Hospital (1989) which provides that a medical practitioner is negligent in diagnosis and/or treatment only if he was guilty of such failure as no other medical practitioner of equal specialist or general status or skill will be guilty of if acting with ordinary care.

A Plaintiff will establish negligence against a medical practitioner by proving his deviation from a general and approved practice only upon proving also that the course taken was one that no other medical practitioner of like specialisation and skill would have followed when taking the ordinary care required from a person of his qualifications.

The Irish Courts have a very high threshold for what they deem to be medical negligence. This threshold makes it extremely difficult to be successful in medical negligence compensation claims*. It is therefore essential that you instruct specialist medical negligence solicitors* who have the experience and expertise in this area.

At Hanahoe and Hanahoe we have the expertise to advise you on when you have a stateable medical negligence claim* and perhaps as importantly, when you do not.

Bringing a Medical Negligence Claim*

If you believe that you or a loved one has suffered an injury as a result of negligent medical care*, the first thing you should do is consult with a specialist medical solicitor*. When initially consulting with a client, our medical negligence solicitors* will take a very detailed statement. Often due to complexity, or sometimes personal nature of the complaints, our clients prefer to prepare this statement themselves.

Once we have our initial statement, we will seek our client’s medical notes from the various medical institutions our clients attended. Often you may have attended a number of hospitals. It is essential that you take up your notes from all the hospitals you were treated in and not just from the hospital you have a complaint against.

It is also important to take up the GP’s records. Often you will find a telling note or letter in the non-offending hospitals notes or the GP notes, that may be crucial to your medical negligence claim*.

Once we take up your notes, one of our medical negligence solicitors* will go through them to see it they see anything unusual, concerning or telling in them. However, although we are specialists medical negligence solicitors*, we are not Doctors and therefore, subject to our client instructions, we would then take a preliminary view from an expert medical practitioner.

This is merely a preliminary opinion and based purely on our attendance(s), together with a small number of notes our medical negligence solicitors* feel are relevant.

While this is only a preliminary opinion and comes with the very large caveat that the expert has not considered all the notes, it gives our clients a greater insight into whether they have a potential medical negligence claim*. A lot of our clients find this very helpful deciding whether they want to take up full expert medical opinion.

Expert Medical Opinion

Before bringing medical negligence cases in Ireland, you must first get a medical opinion from a suitably experienced medical expert, confirming that treatment and/or diagnosis you received was negligent. It is a pre-requisite of any medical negligence claim* in Ireland, that you first obtain such a report.

There have been a number of High Court and Supreme Court decisions which set out that there is an obligation on any party intending to sue another, alleging professional negligence, to obtain a supportive expert opinion first before embarking on this course – Reidy v National Maternity Hospital[2] and Cooke v Cronin[3].

However, it is important to note that just because you have obtained an expert medical opinion, does not mean that your medical negligence claim will be successful. It is simply the first hurdle you have to jump before bring a medical negligence case in Ireland*.

The Statue of Limitations for Medical Negligence Claims*.

The Statute of Limitations is far less clear cut in medical negligence claims*, than it is in say personal injuries claims*. The Statute of Limitations for bringing a medical negligence claim* is two years, minus one day, from the date of knowledge of the negligent treatment or care. However, you may not have knowledge of an potential medical negligence for years after your treatment.

Cancer misdiagnosis cases is a good example. The difficulty is defining when was the date of knowledge and when was it reasonable to assume a person should have had knowledge that they have a potential medical negligence claim. This has been litigated recently in the cases of Geogh v Neary, Cunningham v Neary, Farrell v Ryan and Oliver O’Sullivan v Ireland, the Attorney General, Minister Health and Children and others and the position is still not perfectly clear.

As such we would always recommend that, where possible, you issue medical negligence compensation* proceedings, within two years of the negligent treatment. However, we emphasis, that just because you have not done this, does not mean that your medical negligence claim* is statute barred. Before making a decision on the statute you should always consult with a medical negligence solicitor*

 

 



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