The legal procedure for recovering damages related to medical negligence entails a lawsuit against the practitioner or medical institution. A Judge will review the arguments and supporting evidence from the plaintiff and the defending party to determine whether or not negligence has indeed occurred.
The legal representatives of both parties will present expert testimonies in support or against the claim. The Judge will take all evidence into account before making a final decision. The Judge, however, also needs to decide whether the care giver is liable and what compensation to order.
The first step is to determine whether or not medical negligence has taken place and whether you have enough supporting evidence. You will thus first need to seek legal advice from medical law attorneys who will help to determine the merits of the claim. It is essential to start the procedures as soon as possible after the incident to prevent a situation where evidence is destroyed or witnesses can no longer remember the essential details.
The client may also notify the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) about the complaint. If the attorneys find that it will be impossible to provide the necessary evidence in support of the claim, they will advise you accordingly. They will request supporting documents, which include your medical records from the medical practitioner, and then send a letter of demand to the said health care provider or the insurance on behalf of the practitioner.
In the instance where the practitioner opposes the complaint and a settlement cannot be reached, the case will be argued in court. In this instance, you will need to testify. Should the court rule in favour of your claim, the Judge will also grant financial compensation to cover the loss of income, medical expenses and legal costs incurred (if any). The Judge, however, decides what amount to award – based on evidence in the matter.
Take the first step in recovering damages. Contact our attorneys for professional advice.