Compensation for medical errors

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medical errorA medical mistake is behavior of a medical practitioner objectively contrary to generally recognized principles of diligence and the current state of medical knowledge, which results in injury to the patient.

Within medical errors, one can distinguish medical malpractice regarding incorrect diagnosis or
therapy. Medical errors may also apply to the activities of a dentist, nurse or midwife.

Types of medical errors in Poland

Medical errors are classified and divided into categories in various ways. Within medical errors, the most common are:

  • diagnostic error, or diagnosis error,
  • therapeutic error, or treatment error,
  • organizational error,
  • technical error,
  • information error.

What are the claims of a person injured by medical error?

A person who has suffered damage as a result of a medical error has legal claims. The injured party may pursue his claims amicably, before the Provincial Commission for Adjudication on Medical Events or in court. These claims include:

  • compensation, i.e. a specific amount of money, which is to compensate the injured party for his actual losses, in particular the costs of medical procedures, medical consultations, medicines, rehabilitation, travel, purchase of a wheelchair, specialist clothing, food and other documented expenses made in connection with occurring event;
  • compensation for harm, aimed at compensating the injured party for the harm and pain caused by medical error. The specific amount of compensation is determined individually, based on all the circumstances surrounding the event;
  • payment in advance of the sum needed for medical costs – this claim is entitled to victims who continue treatment and need cash for further treatments or purchase of necessary medical equipment;
  • disability pension for increased needs, i.e. a periodically paid benefit, the purpose of which is to cover additional costs that the injured party must regularly bear as a result of a medical error;
  • disability pension due to loss of future views or loss of ability to work, 5) which is due to persons who, due to a medical error, lost the opportunity to work or a specific professional development, including promotion;
  • determination of liability for the future, i.e. a claim in a situation where at the moment of adjudication it is difficult to assess whether the patient’s condition will deteriorate in the future as a result of a medical error;
  • interest on individual amounts demanded by the injured party.

Premises for medical error

To be able to talk about the occurrence of a medical error, the following elements must jointly occur, which are also premises for claiming compensation for medical error:

  • act or omission inconsistent with the current and universally recognized state of knowledge in the field of medicine,
  • unintentional fault (recklessness or negligence) of the perpetrator who is a medical practitioner,
  • patient damage (death, damage to health or other violation of health),
  • causal relationship between the error and the patient’s injury.

Limitation of claims

When conducting cases for compensation for medical errors, we first verify that the claim has not expired. Pursuant to the provisions of the Polish Civil Code, the limitation period for a claim for compensation for damage resulting from a medical error may not end earlier than 3 years after the date on which the injured party learned about the damage and the person obliged to repair it. In the event that a medical mistake simultaneously fulfills the features of a crime, the claim for compensation for damage expires after 20 years from the date of the crime. In a situation where the injured party is a minor, his claims may not be barred earlier than after the expiry of 2 years from that person’s becoming majority.

How can we help you?

As part of the subsequent stages of handling a case for compensation:

  • we analyze and evaluate available claims,
  • we complete the necessary documents, including medical documentation (if necessary, we request the medical entities on behalf of the client to provide them),
  • we determine the scope of opinions necessary for experts and their specialties,
  • we conduct negotiations with the perpetrator of the error or his insurer, aimed at amicable settlement of the dispute,
  • we draw up and submit letters to the court or Provincial Commission for Adjudication on Medical Events,
  • we represent the client in proceedings before the court or the Provincial Commission for Adjudication on Medical Events at all stages of this procedure.

Why us?

Cases for compensation for medical errors in Poland are usually complicated and require good substantive and organizational preparation. The model of conduct in force in Poland, where the initiative of evidence weighs on claimant, requires the claimant to take evidence, to navigate efficiently as part of a civil procedure and to have thorough knowledge of the law and judicial decisions. Due to the significant value of the subject of the dispute and the importance of the results of the proceedings for the further fate of the victims, it is worthwhile to use the assistance of a professional representative – a solicitor when conducting disputes regarding medical errors.