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What is the process of making a compensation claim for surgical mistakes?

If you wish to make a compensation claim for surgical mistakes it is in your best interest to contact a solicitor who has experience in medical negligence claims at the first possible moment. Once you inform them of the nature of the medical consequences you suffered due to these surgical mistakes and the subsequent affect they have had on your quality of life, a solicitor will be able to advise you on the viability of your claim and guide you through the claims process.

In order to claim for mistakes made during surgery, you will have had to have suffered an illness, injury, or experienced the deterioration of an existing condition – if there have been no medical consequences due to the surgical mistake, then you cannot make a claim. For a claim to be successful it will also be necessary to establish that negligence did in fact occur and that the mistake was not an unavoidable accident. If your solicitor considers your claim to be sufficiently strong, he or she may attempt to determine that your injury or illness could have been prevented under alternative circumstances.

To establish negligence, your solicitor will contact the medical team involved in your operation where a surgical mistake was made. Each team member is contacted because it is not always the surgeon who is at fault in such instances; mistakes could have been made due to the wrong information being provided or due to a lack of care demonstrated by the technicians or nursing support staff. Your solicitor will not assign blame when they contact the medical professionals involved but will merely obtain the relevant medical notes form your operation.

These notes will be examined by an independent medical expert who will determine on the “balance of probability” if your injury or illness could have been avoided if another course of action had been taken during your surgery and if another competent medical practitioner had been involved. If they consider your illness or injury to have been sustained due to negligence, your solicitor may agree to proceed with your claim for compensation for a surgical mistake made during an operation.

Your compensation claim for surgical mistakes will either be made against the HSE or a private hospital’s insurance company, depending on where the surgical mistake occurred. The value of your claim for mistakes made during surgery will be calculated based on a number of factors. The solicitors involved will first examine the Book of Quantum which features a list of numerous injuries and how much they are worth depending on their seriousness and how long-term they might be and a base value for your claim will be obtained from here.

The base value will then be adjusted by taking into consideration your age, sex, general state of health prior to the surgical mistakes that were made, the pain and suffering you experienced and your loss of amenity. Loss of amenity refers to any non-financial changes you have had to make to your life. This could include if you have been unable to complete everyday duties or if you can no longer participate in hobbies or pastimes you enjoyed prior to when you experienced the medical negligence.

The information provided here regarding claiming compensation for a surgical mistake made during an operation is a general overview of the claims process. It is no substitute for the specific legal advice you will be able to obtain from a medical negligence claims solicitor. It is therefore in your best interest to discuss your potential compensation claim for surgical mistakes with a solicitor at the first possible opportunity.