Negligence in Nursing Claims Guide.
At some point in our lives most of us will be cared for by nurses, so we’re fortunate to enjoy a high standard of nursing care in Australia. However, as with all professions, mistakes do happen in nursing and sometimes the wrong decisions are made. If this results in a worse outcome for you as a patient, then it could amount to negligence in nursing, also known as nursing malpractice.
If negligence in nursing has caused you to suffer an injury, illness, or losses like lost wages due to time off work, you could be entitled to claim compensation.
Read on to learn everything you need to know about negligence in nursing claims in Australia, how to make a claim, and how to make sure you receive your full entitlements.
Who pays my negligence in nursing compensation?
If you make a claim, it’s important to note that it’s very unlikely you’ll actually be suing the nurse involved in your treatment, as it’s generally the hospital’s insurer that will pay your compensation.
This insurance is there to provide an important financial safety net for you, the patient, so you should claim what you’re entitled to.
How do I know if I can make a negligence in nursing claim?
All medical professionals including nurses owe a duty of care to their patients. You can make a negligence in nursing claim in Australia if you’ve suffered physical or psychological injury, developed an illness, or suffered another loss due to a breach of that duty.
That doesn’t mean that every bad clinical outcome is a case of negligence in nursing – sometimes things go wrong despite the best efforts of the nurses charged with our care.
If you’re not sure whether your situation is a result of negligence in nursing, here are some questions you can ask yourself:
- Did the treatment or care provided to you by a nurse result in an injury, illness or other loss?
- Was the treatment below the standard you’d normally expect from a nurse?
- Would your injury or loss have been avoided if better nursing care was given?
If you can answer yes to these questions, it’s likely that a case of negligence in nursing has taken place. This means that you’re likely to be able to make a claim for compensation to cover the losses you’ve suffered.
What is a breach of duty in nursing?
A breach of duty in nursing is when a nurse doesn’t provide the standard of care that’s expected from them, and it can lead to negligence in nursing and life-changing harm to the patient.
The standard of care is the standard that nurses are compared to when they’re accused of negligence, and it’s measured with one question: What would a reasonably competent nurse have done in the same situation? This standard is assessed on a case-by-case basis and can vary across different states.
What’s an example of negligence in nursing?
If a nurse received a test result for you, the patient, but failed to report the result to the doctor, it could lead to a delay in your treatment. If that delay resulted in a worse outcome for you, then that could constitute a breach of duty on the part of the nurse.
What are the six key areas of nursing negligence?
There are a variety of mistakes that can happen in hospitals and figuring out who’s at fault can be difficult. Here are some common examples of negligence and malpractice in nursing:
- Improper patient monitoring – for example, not correctly recording observations or vital signs
- Failure to call for a doctor where assistance is required
- Not properly checking equipment
- Failure to follow procedures or errors in procedures like inserting IV lines
- Administering the wrong medication or a wrong dosage
- Failure to communicate clearly and care for the patient
These are just examples, not a complete list. You may still be eligible to make a claim for compensation even if you haven’t experienced one of these problems but have suffered injury, illness, or loss due to negligence in nursing care given to you.
Can I sue a nurse for negligence in nursing?
You may be put off the idea of claiming compensation because you don’t want to sue a nurse; after all, we all rely on nurses to care for us from time to time. But in nursing negligence cases in Australia, you don’t generally sue the nurse for negligence. Instead, fault will be put on their employer, which is usually a hospital or clinic.
Remember, when you make a claim, you’re claiming for your losses like additional costs you’ve incurred or lost wages through time off work. You shouldn’t be left out of pocket due to mistakes made by those who owe you a duty of care.
Also, it’s likely you’ll be making your claim against the hospital or clinic’s insurer. Many claims are resolved by negotiating and settling out of court. However, if an agreement on a settlement can’t be reached then you may need to go to court to get compensation.
The best way to understand your options is to speak to a medical negligence lawyer who is experienced in negligence in nursing claims, to find out whether you have a valid claim and your chances of success. You can get free legal advice on your claim here.
How much compensation can I claim for negligence in nursing?
Negligence in nursing practice compensation amounts can easily fall anywhere in the tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars depending on the severity of your injuries and losses.
Your total compensation could include:
- Income lost because of time off work
- Medical and travel expenses
- Domestic assistance
- Pain and suffering
- Estimated future losses if you can’t work
For more information and examples of medical negligence claims, read our guide to medical negligence payouts in Australia.
How do I make a negligence in nursing claim?
Claims involving medical negligence can be very complex. This isn’t just because it’s a complicated area of law but also because claims often involve many parties such as you, the medical staff, the hospital and the insurance company.
It can also be difficult to determine who’s at fault if the nurse was working under the supervision of another medical professional such as a doctor at the time of the alleged negligence.
The first thing you should do if you think you’ve got a claim is to speak to one of our specialist medical negligence lawyers. We’ll take the time to get to know you and your case before advising you on how much your claim could be worth and what are the next steps. We’ll also help you claim the maximum amount of compensation available.
To find out how much you can claim or to get free legal advice, speak to a specialist negligence in nursing care lawyer at Law Partners today.
An accredited specialist in personal injury law and spokesman for the Australian Lawyers Alliance, with the best part of 20 years’ experience in assisting injured Australians receive everything they’re entitled to.
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