What is duty of care?
When you visit a medical provider for treatment or advice for any injury or medical condition they owe you a duty of care
A medical provider can be a doctor, dentist, orthopaedic surgeon, neurosurgeon, psychiatrist or psychologist, medical specialist, physiotherapist, chiropractor, etc.
Their duty of care is to use reasonable care and skill, so as not to expose you to a reasonably foreseeable risk of injury when providing you with any medical treatment or advice.
Medical providers Have a duty to warn of risks
Medical providers who provide treatment or medical advice that gives rise to a risk of injury, also have a duty to warn their patients of the risks involved with that treatment in circumstances where:
The information is reasonably required for the patient, so you can make a fully informed decision whether they wish to proceed with treatment given risks involved
The information is such that the medical provider knows, or ought to know, that the patient would want to be aware of it when making their decision to undertake the treatment or follow the advice.
Medical negligence and lack of care
There are some cases where a patient can undergo treatment by a doctor for an injury the patient already has, and the patient suffers further injury during that treatment.
However, not all of these cases will be considered medical negligence.
Further Injuries From Undergoing Treatment Doesn't Automatically Mean You Have A Medical Negligence Claim
It does not necessarily follow that if a patient suffers further injury from undergoing treatment they automatically have a medical negligence claim.
To succeed in a claim for medical negligence, it has to be shown that there has been a lack of care in the provision of that treatment.
Or failure to warn of the nature of the risks involved in undertaking the treatment.
There Are Certain Risks Of Injury That Will Always Be Associated With Some Medical Treatments
This is because it is accepted that there are certain risks of injury that will always be associated with some medical treatments.
Even with the best due care and skill being exercised by the medical provider, complications can occur.
This is particularly relevant in cases where further injury can occur during surgery.
Find out more about medical negligence claims.
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If you have been injured as a result of medical negligence or where you feel a duty of care has not been exercised, or in many other situations, you may be entitled to compensation.
Even if you think your actions may have contributed to your injury, you may still have a claim well-worth pursuing.
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Working With The Civil Liability Act 2003
Under the provisions of the Civil Liability Act 2003, a professional is not considered to have breached their duty of care if:
It's established that they have acted in a way that is widely accepted by a significant number of other respected and competent professionals in their field
Unless the practice is irrational or contrary to a written law
Causation of injury - did the malpractice cause your injury?
It is not enough to establish there has been a breach of duty by your medical provider in their treatment of you.
You also need to show that you have sustained injury as a result of that negligent treatment or advice.
You need to prove that it was the actual breach of duty that caused your injury.
In medical negligence cases, this can sometimes be problematic.
This is because often further injury is sustained whilst the patient is undergoing treatment for a pre-existing injury that is quite debilitating.
And this can mean the treatment itself can cause increased symptoms.
Differentiating The Injury Sustained From The Pre-existing Injury
It can sometimes be difficult to differentiate the injury sustained from the pre-existing injury for which treatment was being provided.
Especially from the increased injury caused by the treatment.
This is not only an issue when looking at causation, but when looking at what damages or compensation you should receive for your injuries in a medical negligence claim.
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If you have been injured as a result of medical negligence or where you feel a duty of care has not been exercised, we can assess your claim and answer your questions. There is no cost, and no obligation.