A hospital injury can take the form of an accident while you are in the hospital or be due to malpractice by a medical practitioner. These could be instances where you have suffered from a trip on an uneven surface or have been misdiagnosed with an illness which you do not have. In either circumstance, when the hospital injury was due to somebody else´s negligence, you are entitled to claim hospital injury compensation.
There are two different methods for claiming compensation for the two different forms of hospital injury. Those which are a “personal injury”, such as a fall due to a slippery surface, are dealt with via the Injuries Board Ireland. Malpractice claims for hospital injury compensation have to be made through the court system, as judgement on what constitutes medical negligence is determined by medical opinion rather than being based on physical evidence.
Claiming Compensation for Personal Hospital Injury
When you are claiming compensation for personal hospital injury – for example, a broken arm when you slipped on a food spillage – an application has to be submitted to the Injuries Board Ireland, together with a copy of the entry recorded in the hospital´s “Accident Report Book” and the relevant medical notes. If you have experienced out of pocket expenses because of your hospital injury, you can also claim these by attaching the applicable receipts.
The Injuries Board Ireland will write to the hospital to ensure that they accept liability for your hospital injury and then ask you to attend an independent medical examination so they can make an assessment based on the severity of your hospital injury and the length of time it may take to heal. Their assessment is sent to both you and the hospital for your agreement, and if the amount assessed is mutually acceptable, the Injuries Board Ireland issues an “Order to Pay”.
Your claim for personal hospital injury will only have to be resolved in a court of law if the hospital denies liability for your hospital injury or claim that you contributed to your injuries by your own actions. In these cases, the Injuries Board Ireland will issue an authorisation for you to pursue your claim in the courts – a situation which might also occur if their assessment of compensation for your hospital injuries is unacceptable to either party.
Claiming Compensation for Malpractice Hospital Injury
Claiming compensation for a hospital injury caused by malpractice is a far more complicated issue. Even when there is clear evidence that you have suffered an injury at the hands of a medical practitioner, it has to be proven that the hospital injury was due to poor professional performance or lack of skill – and could have been avoided with an alternative course of action.
In order to make a claim for a malpractice hospital injury, a solicitor will contract the services of a senior medical physician. The medical expert will make his own examination of your injuries, determine whether they were caused by medical malpractice or whether the malpractice contributed to the deterioration of an existing condition, and assist the solicitor in compiling a case to be presented before the court.
When your claim for malpractice hospital injury reaches the courts, your solicitor and the medical expert will work together to demonstrate how your injuries were avoidably due to the malpractice of a medical practitioner. Your solicitor will also explain to the court the effect that your malpractice hospital injury has had on your quality of life and the implications that this has had for your family and loved ones. This will help the court to determine an appropriate amount of compensation for your hospital injury.
Hospital Injury and Insurance Companies
Irrespective of the method in which you claim compensation for your hospital injury, you may be approached by an insurance company representing the hospital or negligent medical practitioner against whom the claim for hospital injury compensation has been made. Even before they are aware of the assessment by the Injuries Board Ireland or the strength of your solicitor´s case, insurance companies have been known to make offers of early settlement to avoid court action.
Nearly a third of all claims for hospital injury compensation are resolved by negotiation between a solicitor and the insurance company and this is often a quicker way of ensuring that you receive a fair and adequate amount of compensation without the need to go to court yourself. The only thing you do need to be certain of is that the settlement for your hospital injury does not leave you undercompensated, and this is something that your solicitor will be able to advise you on.
Further Information about Hospital Injury Compensation
If you have been injured in an accident in a hospital which was not your fault, or been the victim of medical negligence, you may want to find out more about making a claim for hospital injury compensation. If so, we have opened a hospital injury claims advice service, which you are invited to call and speak with an experienced solicitor. Our solicitor will be able to provide you with helpful and practical advice about hospital injury compensation, and you will be able to ask him any relevant questions.
Our lines are open twenty-four hours a day – seven days a week – and all calls to our hospital injury claims advice service are completely confidential. We also operate a call back service, if you would prefer us to call you. Simply complete your contact details in the form at the foot of the page and one of our team will be back in touch with you. Please note that by using our hospital injury claims advice service, you are not under any obligation to proceed with a claim for hospital injury compensation.