Guide to Medical Negligence Payouts in Australia.
Medical negligence payouts in Australia can be substantial, with some running into millions of dollars. If you think you might have a claim, you probably want to know whether your claim is likely to succeed and what sort of medical negligence payout you might be entitled to.
This guide will help you understand medical negligence payouts in Australia and includes:
- Examples of successful claims and payout amounts
- How to find out how much your claim might be worth
- How to get help making a successful claim
What’s the average medical negligence payout in Australia?
In 2018 the average medical negligence payout in Australia for one health region was more than $650,000.
Statistics on average medical negligence payout amounts across Australia aren’t published, but data obtained by the Northern Daily Leader* in a freedom of information request shows the Hunter New England Health Service made 105 medical negligence claim payouts between October 1, 2016, and October 1, 2018, at a cost of $69 million. However, this figure is considered high and it’s likely that the average medical negligence payout in Australia is less than $650,000. Payouts of this magnitude generally indicate quite serious medical negligence claims.
What percentage of medical negligence claims are successful?
59% of medical negligence claims in Australia are successful. This is according to the latest data from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare*, and this success rate is based on all medical negligence claims that were commenced across Australia over a 12-month period. It includes claims settled both in and out of court, however, the report noted that only 3% of claims were settled by a court decision.
At Law Partners, we win over 99% of our clients’ cases. So having one of our specialist medical malpractice lawyers on your side will give you a much higher chance of successfully claiming a medical negligence payout.
*Australia’s medical indemnity claims 2012-13, page 19
What are some examples of medical negligence payouts in Australia?
Here are three examples of medical negligence claims payouts in Australia:
Case 1: Injury from pregnancy termination – $1.48M
In this medical negligence claim in NSW, the patient was injured during a planned termination of a pregnancy. She suffered a perforated bowel caused by the use of forceps, which then required further surgery and treatment over the next two years.
This patient was awarded a medical negligence payout of $1.48M.
Case 2: Delayed diagnosis of appendicitis – $750k
Many medical negligence payouts in Australia result from delayed diagnosis. This patient went to her doctor with abdominal pain and was incorrectly diagnosed as having an ovarian cyst. She was subsequently admitted to hospital and discharged 24 hours later, once again without a correct diagnosis. She was eventually diagnosed with a ruptured appendix seven days after her initial examination. As a result, she has suffered long-term physical and psychological issues, which could have been avoided if the diagnosis hadn’t been delayed.
This patient was awarded a medical negligence payout of $750k.
Case 3: Paraplegia caused by delayed diagnosis – $4.5M
The patient presented at hospital with severe neck pain, and the hospital incorrectly diagnosed him as having a muscle strain and prescribed morphine. The next day he returned to the hospital, once again with severe neck pain, however he was discharged and sent home. On the third day, his limbs stopped working and he collapsed at home and became unresponsive. He was rushed into surgery where it was found he had a cervical spinal epidural abscess caused by a Staph infection. Despite undergoing surgery, the patient was left paraplegic and spent the next four months in hospital.
This patient was awarded a medical negligence payout amount of $4.5M to cover his losses and pain and suffering and to support his future care and treatment expenses.
How much is my medical negligence claim worth?
Past medical negligence claims are a good way to get some indication of payout amounts. However, your payout will depend on your personal situation, taking into account factors including:
- Your age
- Your pre-injury income
- Your future earning potential
- The direct costs you’ve incurred from your injury
- Your level of impairment
Medical negligence payout amounts can range from thousands to millions of dollars. For example, if you have some level of permanent impairment caused by medical negligence, and you’re unable to return to work, you could be awarded a significant lump sum payout to cover the wages you would have earned for the rest of your life, and for your pain and suffering.
The only way to get a true indication of the value of your claim is to have a specialist medical negligence lawyer look into it, establish the likelihood of its success, and estimate the payout you may be entitled to. This requires specialist medical assessments and reports.
The good news is, you can have your claim investigated at no cost to you. Our no win no fee lawyers will review your circumstances and if you have a potential claim, we’ll pay for the medical experts and reports needed to confirm the likelihood of your claim succeeding and estimate your medical negligence payout amount.
Read how a nightmare medical negligence ordeal ended with a $1.2 million payout to a former landscaper.
How are medical negligence claim payouts calculated?
Depending on the severity of your injuries, your total compensation amount can include:
- Lost income – the amount of income you’ve lost through time off work
- Medical expenses – resulting from your injuries
- Travel expenses – to and from medical appointments and treatments
- Domestic assistance – the cost of getting help with home duties
- Future losses – for example, your future earnings that you will miss out on as a result of your injuries
- Pain and suffering – an amount to compensate you for your pain and suffering, based on the extent of your injuries
A medical negligence pain and suffering payout is to compensate you for personal losses on top of any other claim you might already be making, based on how much your injuries have affected your lifestyle and work, as well as potential future expenses you may face. It’s calculated based on how much you’ve been impacted compared to the ‘most extreme case’ (MEC). MEC is considered the worst possible scenario.
The calculation of pain and suffering payouts is subjective, and this reinforces why it’s critical to have a specialist medical negligence lawyer on your side who will get to know you personally and make the strongest possible case on your behalf.
How do you successfully claim a medical negligence payout in Australia?
Medical negligence claims are complex, so it’s important to get expert advice and engage the services of a specialist medical negligence lawyer.
At Law Partners, we have a team of in-house medical and legal experts with a strong track record of winning medical negligence claims.
Here’s how we successfully claim medical negligence payouts in 8 steps:
- The first step is to speak to one of our medical negligence lawyers and find out if you have a valid claim. You can call us on 13 15 15 and we’ll assess your claim for free.
- If we believe it’s likely you have a claim, and you decide to proceed, we’ll consult with our in-house doctor and engage one or more medical experts who have experience in cases similar to yours.
- Your legal team will carry out further assessments, review your medical records and provide a report detailing how your treatment was negligent.
- We’ll fund all these assessments and reports, and you’ll only need to pay us back if your claim is successful.
- We’ll submit your claim to the relevant insurer, along with thorough evidence supporting your claim.
- If your medical negligence claim is accepted by the insurer, the next step is mediation – where all parties meet and try to reach an agreement.
- Most of our claims are resolved at this stage and a settlement (i.e. a medical negligence payout to you) is agreed upon.
- In the minority of cases where a settlement isn’t reached, we’ll advise you about taking your claim to court to pursue compensation.
Your Law Partners medical negligence team will manage this process for you and run your case on a “no win no fee” basis. We win over 99% of our cases and we pride ourselves on our strong record of success in medical negligence claims.
An accredited specialist in personal injury law with expertise across medical negligence, public liability and motor accident compensation claims, in a career spanning the best part of two decades.