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Why Should I Sue For Medical Negligence?

When something goes unexpectedly wrong in the medical context, this may lay claim to an action in tort if medical negligence can be identified. The basis of such an action lies in the general civil law of negligence, designed to provide compensation for any individual injured by another’s negligence.

A legal proceeding against the negligent medical practitioner or institution not only benefits the unfortunate patient but may in fact improve societal conditions in general.

Such functions of the tort include:

1. Ensuring that the patient who has suffered as a result of medical negligence receives compensation for his losses;
2. Holding the medical professional accountable for their negligence; and
3. Serving a public statement of the wrong doing so that such mistakes can be avoided and deterred in the future.

If you believe you have a case against a doctor / medical institution, please do not hesitate to seek legal advice as early as possible to discuss your options. This is true even if you have already lodged a complaint with the Singapore Medical Council (“SMC”). It may be too late to commence a civil claim if you choose to wait for the SMC investigative report to be released before seeking legal advice, as there is generally a 3-year limitation period for medical negligence claims in Court.

What Kind of Compensation Can be Sought?

A medical negligence claim is intended to reimburse a patient for losses. The amount calculated is based on the damage or loss suffered. The aim of the compensation is to restore the claimant back to the position he was in before the negligent act of the doctor or hospital was committed.

Compensation payable to you may include:

  • Medical and transport expenses
  • Loss of earnings / loss of income
  • Caretaker’s loss of income
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of amenities / loss of enjoyment of life
  • Future medical treatment expenses
  • Loss of future earning
  • Loss of earning capacity
Benefits Of Working With Hoh Law Corporation

With close to 30 years of experience handling medical negligence claims just like yours, Hoh Law Corporation is well positioned to :

  • Advise you on the evidence required to make your case and the process of getting it
  • Appoint medical professionals to provide professional opinions and fill in any “missing” information that may support your case
  • Prepare you for court appearances by running you through the process and guiding you each step of the way
  • Dispute any potential decisions based on our case handling history
  • Determine if your case has been correctly assessed and maximise your entitlement
News Article
Woman sues Jurong Health for alleged negligence
How Does Misdiagnosis Affect You?

A large number of medical malpractice lawsuits stem from the misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis of a medical condition, illness, or injury. When a doctor’s diagnosis error leads to incorrect treatment, delayed treatment, or no treatment at all, a patient’s condition can worsen or in extreme cases, lead to fatality.

Was The Doctor Negligent?

A misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis itself is not evidence of negligence.

​ Skillful doctors can and do make diagnostic errors even when using reasonable care. The key is determining whether the doctor acted competently, which involves an evaluation of what the doctor did and did not do in arriving at a diagnosis. ​

In a medical malpractice case based on a diagnostic error, the patient must prove that a doctor in a similar specialty, under similar circumstances, would not have similarly misdiagnosed the patient’s illness or condition.

Errors In Diagnostic Tests

Sometimes, a doctor may fail to correctly diagnosis a condition because they relied on inaccurate results from laboratory tests, radiology films, or other types of tests. This can happen in one of two ways:

  • The diagnostic equipment was faulty;
  • Human error (for example, contaminations of samples).

In these instances, the perpetrator of the human error or the hospital supplying the facilities may be the one liable for medical negligence.

Again, the patient must prove that the error was the result of negligence.

Did The Misdiagnosis Inflict Harm?

The patient must also prove that the doctor’s negligent misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis caused regression of the patient’s injury or condition.

In the rare case that a doctor misdiagnoses a patient with a condition or illness that the patient does not have, the patient may also be able to prove harm in the form of anxiety, stress, medical problems, and expenses due to unnecessary treatment and other associated claims.

Drug Prescription Errors

Mistakes in drug prescriptions can be a form of medical negligence.

The effect of a prescription drug error can range from minimal to fatal, depending on the nature of the error.

Types of Prescription Drug Errors:

  • Administering wrong medication or the wrong dosage;
  • Prescribing harmful medication (resulting in allergies and interaction);
  • Failing to warn of side effects; and
  • Wrong labels in medication.

If you believe that you have been a victim of a prescription drug error and have suffered harm as a result, you should contact us as soon as possible.

A Case Of Misjudgment Or Plain Oversight?

Medical horror stories involving surgeries have dotted the landscape across the world. In some pretty astonishing cases, the negligent acts of doctors performing surgery have caused much pain and suffering, and even deaths, to their patients.

In one such case (in the United Kingdom), the patient and her baby passed on after a surgical team removed the wrong organ from the mother.

Negligence As A Tort

Negligence as a tort requires more than mere lack of care. A claimant who wishes to sue in negligence must show:

  • that the defendant owed him a legal duty to take care;
  • that there was a breach of this legal duty by the defendant; and
  • that the breach caused him recoverable damage.
How To Sue For Surgical Negligence
Act Before Time Runs Out

The biggest mistake a patient can make is waiting too long to file a claim. Legal time limits require patients to file legal claims promptly. If you believe you have a case against a doctor / medical institution, contact us as early as possible to discuss your options. Please do not hesitate to seek legal advice even if you have lodged a complaint with the Singapore Medical Council (“SMC”). It may be too late to commence a civil claim if you choose to wait for the SMC investigative report to be released before seeking legal advice, as there is a limitation period for all negligence cases.

Determine The Parties At Fault

This is a crucial determination. Just because medical negligence has occurred at a hospital or clinic, does not necessarily mean that the facility can be held responsible. If your case is based on sub-standard care provided by an individual doctor, and that doctor is an independent contractor (as opposed to an employee of the hospital), you need to pursue a direct action against the doctor personally.

A case against the hospital will only be available if the doctor was an employee of the hospital or if the doctor’s incompetence should have been obvious to the hospital. To find out who to commence an action against, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Obtain Medical Records

A hospital must keep every patient’s medical records for at least 7 years after treatment. Upon request and payment of the applicable fees, the hospital must disclose copies of the records to the patient. Upon obtaining your written consent, your lawyers may also write to the relevant medical institution to make a request on your behalf.

Comply With any Procedural Rules

Patients will have to overcome several legal hurdles before the filing of a lawsuit. A patient might have to file an affidavit in which a qualified medical expert attests that the plaintiff has a valid case. A patient might also have to submit a claim to a medical review board before filing a law suit, or attend mediation sessions as a form of alternative dispute resolution. These complex procedures require the experience of qualified lawyers to guide you through the process.

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Send us an enquiry

Thank you for choosing HOH Law Corporation. For any general enquiries, please fill in the following contact form and we will get back to you as soon as possible. Alternatively, you may reach us at 6553 4800.

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