I was wondering how I could claim for medical malpractice in hospitals in Ireland on behalf of my son after his injured leg became worse after surgery?
Whether you can claim for medical malpractice in hospitals in Ireland on behalf of your child will depend upon the specific circumstances of his accident or injury. Claims involving a medical malpractice accident are generally more difficult than that involving an injury sustained elsewhere as although it may be clear that an injury was sustained, whether it was avoidable can be disputed. For example, if it is found that your son’s injury from medical malpractice was sustained after an unavoidable complication arose during surgery, it could be established that the doctor took all measures necessary to limit any damage and a claim may not be possible. In order to determine whether compensation for medical malpractice can be claimed, you are advised to consult a personal injury* solicitor at the earliest opportunity following your son’s accident and injury.
It should be noted that legal minors in Ireland are unable to initiate claims for medical malpractice in hospitals in Ireland until they have reached the age of eighteen, after which they will have until their twentieth birthday to make a claim. However it is possible that compensation for medical malpractice will be required long before then and for this reason a parent or guardian can initiate a claim on behalf of a child at any stage until the child turns eighteen as a “next friend”. This means a claim can be initiated at any point between the child’s injury from medical malpractice and their twentieth birthday. However it is important to note that although this may seem like sufficient time to make a claim, you are advised to seek compensation for your son’s medical malpractice accident sooner rather than later as funding could be required for your child’s educational or medical requirements.
Before a parent or guardian can represent a child as a “next friend” in a claim for medical malpractice in hospitals in Ireland, they must first seek approval from the judge presiding over the claim and cannot have a conflict of interest in the child’s claim. It should also be noted that if a claim for medical malpractice accident is unsuccessful, the next friend must be prepared to accept any financial liability which may arise as a result. For a claim to be successful, a medical expert must be able to verify that – on the balance of probability – an injury from medical malpractice could have been averted by the medical professional had proper care been taken. If the claim is successful the compensation for medical malpractice will be paid into court funds where it will remain until the child reaches eighteen years of age, although funds can be released for medical and educational needs upon application to the court.
Making a claim on behalf of a child can be complex and even more so if it involves a medical malpractice accident, as a claim involving medical negligence* cannot be made through the injuries board. For this reason you are strongly encouraged to contact a personal injury* solicitor at the earliest opportunity following your son’s accident and injury to assess your claim and assist in receiving the testimony of a medical expert regarding your son’s injury from medical malpractice. By determining the amount of compensation for medical malpractice to which your son may be entitled, you can determine whether your claim is worth pursuing further. By consulting a personal injury* solicitor at the earliest opportunity you will also significantly improve the likelihood that your claim for medical malpractice in hospitals in Ireland will be successful.