Professional Negligence including Medical Negligence
When mistakes are made by professionals the consequences can be severe. Financial loss or in some instances personal injury can result. However, professionals owe a duty of care to their clients and if held to breach this duty compensation can be claimed. Often these claims are not straightforward and it is essential to obtain experienced advice when seeking an assessment of your position. Southside Lawyers have substantial experience in these matters. The principal of the firm has acted for many claimants and has previously acted for defendant insurers in these matters. The knowledge gained in these previous cases can be utilised to your advantage if you believe you may have a claim. A no obligation enquiry can be made at any time.
It is important to note that almost all professionals hold professional indemnity insurance. As such it is not the professional who will be paying the compensation to you on a successful claim, but the insurer. Sometimes professionals will readily accept they have made a mistake and have not performed their duties to an acceptable level. Compensation can usually be secured relatively promptly in these circumstances, but regularly the insurer will vigorously defend the matter and it is essential to secure an early experienced opinion on where you stand. Often it is important to obtain the opinion of another expert and Southside Legal has good connections to secure the appropriate expert.
Typical examples of professional negligence claims include claims made against lawyers, doctors, accountants, financial advisors, engineers, brokers and building inspectors.
It is necessary to be able to establish that the loss you suffered arose from the actual negligence of the professional. This can on occasion be a very complex task and if negligence can be established the insurer will be trying as hard as possible to reduce the damages payable. Southside Legal can lead you through the difficult issues and we will ensure you are informed as soon as possible in straightforward language just where you stand.
Time limitations apply to professional negligence claims and early notification provisions apply to certain types of claims. If you believe you may have a claim we urge you to contact us as soon as possible to find out on a no obligation basis, whether there is merit to your claim and whether further investigations are justified. In certain approved matters Southside Legal will run your case on the basis that no professional fees are payable by you until there has been a successful completion of your claim. In most successful cases the majority of the costs and outlays are paid by the defendant insurer.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Will it be necessary to go to court?
Most matters are settled on an out of court basis. There are compulsory settlement negotiations that must be held prior to the commencement of any court proceedings.
What damages can I recover?
There are numerous heads of damage which need to be considered with every claim. If the doctor is negligent you will be able to recover general damages for pain and suffering, out-of-pocket expenses, economic loss, future procedures needed and in some instances the commercial value of family members and friends providing gratuitous domestic services for you whilst you are injured. There are other heads of damage, however these needs to be considered on a case by case basis.
How do I know if I have a good claim?
We will assess your case in our first interview. If we advise you that you have low chances of success and you do not wish to pursue the matter any further, there will be no charge to you. Sometimes with medical negligence matters, it is necessary to get a report from an independent medical practitioner commenting upon the services provided by the doctor you wish to pursue. Until this report is obtained it is sometimes not possible to appropriately advise you on whether you have good chances of success or not as the issues involved are often extremely technical. We have been involved in many medical negligence claims and have a good “feel” for matters, however all matters need to be carefully investigated.
Have you done these types of cases before?
This firm has done many professional negligence claims against a variety of professionals since the doors of this firm were opened. The principal has practised in this area for over three decades and previously has acted for not only many claimants but also acted for insurance companies in defending these types of claims. As a consequence, he has an intimate understanding of how these claims operate and the best steps to take for a successful outcome.
Does a claim take very long?
In some instances, insurance companies for the professional will accept that their customer is at fault and will wish to settle the claim made as soon as possible. In those instances, claims can sometimes be finalised within a few months. However, if the defendant insurer wishes to defend the proceedings, the matter can take longer to finalise. We utilise mediation procedures as soon as possible in an effort to resolve matters as quickly as we can. However, if no agreement is reached and it is necessary to go to court, some cases can take a few years.
Do I have a valid claim?
We will advise you in the first meeting on whether we believe you have a good claim or not. We are prepared to have an initial consultation with you which will not cost you anything if you are advised there are low prospects of success and you do not wish to pursue the matter.
Is it an insurance company that pays the damages?
In almost all cases professionals have professional indemnity insurance which will cover the claims made against them if they are negligent. As such, it will not be the professional from whom you are pursuing compensation, that will be paying the damages.
Will it be expensive for me to pursue the claim?
With all professional negligence claims, we make an assessment on whether the matter can be pursued on the basis that costs are only payable by you on a successful conclusion of the matter. If we decide we can pursue your claim on this basis, then we will cover your outlays and hold all our professional costs until a successful conclusion of the matter. If there are more risks involved in the claim, then we may need you to cover the outlays or alternatively fund a preliminary report so that a better assessment of the liability can be made. We will advise you immediately if we we feel that you do not have good prospects of success.