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For example, your neighbor started a fire on purpose in your garage with the intent to kill you. If you started having panic attacks that led to fainting, you might have a case. In this type of situation, the physical injury is a direct result of emotional distress. But if an employer screams and makes threats at an employee, this might not count as outrageous conduct. Even if it's rude and insensitive, it might not count as emotional distress.
If you suffer an injury or illness after medical treatment, and it was a known risk that your doctor did not tell you about before you agreed to the treatment, it could be malpractice. A court will consider whether a reasonable person would have consented to the treatment if they had been told of the risks. In some cases, the failure to get any consent at all may also be an assault or battery. If you have experienced an assault during medical treatment, you can contact the police.
3. Expect that the case will be quick and cheap. Although experienced lawyers will take on viable cases on a “contingency basis”, you will likely be expected to front the costs of initial medical opinion(s) and record gathering. Be prepared for no less than $5,000 and as much as $15,000 to get started. If the investigation is favourable, most lawyers will pay the freight from this point to the end of the case.
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If the injured patient is able to prove – through qualified expert testimony – that the doctor committed an act of medical negligence, then the patient has satisfied the first step of proving a malpractice claim against the doctor. However, the injured patient must also be able to show that the doctor’s negligence resulted in certain injuries or damages.
According to the American Journal of Medicine 15 per cent of all medical case in developed countries are misdiagnosed. The National Center for Policy Analysis further states fatal diagnostic errors in U.S. intensive care units equal the number of breast cancer deaths each year — 40,500. Misdiagnosis has become a cause for concern in the medical and legal field because it has fatal consequences.
Disclaimer: This information is designed for general information in relation to Queensland compensation law. It does not constitute legal advice. We strongly recommend you seek legal advice in regards to your specific situation. For expert advice call 1800 266 801 or chat via live chat to arrange free initial advice with our Principal lawyer, Greg Smith.
My younger brother died almost 2 years ago. He coded (his heart stopped beating) a couple days after a colostomy procedure. The doctors rushed him into surgery as he was clearly bleeding internally. They didn't find the source of the bleed, but after looking for a while, gave up and closed the surgery anyway. He continued to bleed, which led to two more surgeries, more complications and his eventual death.
Another potential cause of action is intentional infliction of emotional distress. This is based on a doctor’s outrageous conduct that intentionally or recklessly causes a patient to suffer severe emotional distress. This must be beyond a mere slight as it must be something that would outrage society. The common law tort required a physical manifestation of injury, but most jurisdictions no longer require this element. This cause of action has been successful in some cases in which patients recorded their doctors performing medical treatment while mocking and ridiculing the patient to a serious degree.
Putting a dollar amount on suffering is difficult for every party involved in a lawsuit. Some attorneys estimate pain and suffering damages using a formula based on the total of the other compensatory damages: compensatory damages x (a number from 3 - 10) – compensatory damages. The number you multiply by depends on the severity of the injury. For example, a minor injury would be a “3,” paralysis would be a “10.”
About three-quarters of mediations result in a satisfactory outcome, often within a day, but mediation is not legally binding until a written agreement is signed and the case can proceed to court. The NHS Litigation Authority launched a mediation service in 2014 for cases that have reached the compensation stage (contact the trust involved directly for more information). The Tutu Foundation also offers a mediation service (tutufoundationuk.org, tel 01865 514830).
Plaintiffs can also sue for the negligent infliction of severe emotional distress that they experienced because of someone else’s injury. This types of suit occur sometimes when a person has to witness the injury or death of a loved one caused by another person’s negligence. However, to succeed on such a claim one must be able to prove that their distress was an immediate and foreseeable result of the defendant’s behavior. In addition, the plaintiff generally must physically witness the accident in order to be able to recover for this type of claim.
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Medical malpractice cases are so difficult and expensive to prosecute that they are generally only brought in cases of a serious permanent injuries. Moreover, a doctor can't be liable for a mere error in judgment, which this probably was. Count your blessings and move on. If your girlfriend is really unhappy with this doctor, there are other doctors out there.
Most people are uncomfortable talking about their injuries. No one likes to be thought of as a whiner or complainer. I find that even my most severely injured clients are wary to openly discuss the full weight and burden that their injuries take on them. It’s understandable that if you have a scar from a surgery or accident that you may not like to discuss the fact that it makes you uncomfortable when strangers stare at it or friends or colleagues ask you what happened. Victims of injury do not often desire to sit and truly reflect on the extent that their injuries have had on their lives. Even so, little vignettes or stories illustrating how someone’s life was like before and then after an accident is crucial in demonstrating to the jury the magnitude of your loss.
Halifax lawyer John McKiggan, author of Health Scare, argues that the reasons for poor outcomes in medical procedures are often kept hidden. McKiggan cites the 2004 Canadian Adverse Events Study that found that 70,000 of the 185,000 adverse effects suffered annually by hospital patients are potentially preventable. Between 9,250 and 23,750 patients die annually from preventable errors, involving doctors and other health practitioners.
At the same time, the doctor or the doctor’s insurer must complete a similar investigation in order to determine whether medical negligence actually occurred, and if so, whether the negligence resulted in certain injuries and damages to the claimant. The doctor must also obtain an opinion in writing from another doctor in order to support his or her defense.