Published 03 Jan 2018
Author: Christine Beshay
Estimating the duration of a personal injury case is always difficult. Each medical negligence claim is different, and unforeseen circumstances can cause delays or even expedite the process.
Whether or not the matter proceeds to court hearings is a major factor in how long a claim takes to resolve. At Gerard Malouf & Partners, between 80 and 90 per cent of our clients accept a settlement before the case goes before a judge.
If a claim isn't resolved via a settlement or mediation, the process can take considerably longer, particularly when appeals arise.
Nevertheless, we can estimate how long the average case takes based on government figures and our own experiences.
What does medical negligence data say?
Medical indemnity statistics from 2008-09 to 2012-13 provide the latest official data available from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).
The average length of time between a health care incident occurring and the resulting medical negligence claim closing is between three and four years, according to the AIWH report.
Typically, it takes approximately two years for a plaintiff to open a claim against the medical practitioner allegedly responsible. This delay is usually because it can take several months or even years for a patient's symptoms to stabilise in order to proceed with a claim.
Between 70 and 78 per cent of claims from 2001 to 2008 were resolved within five years, the AIHW confirmed. However, these statistics only covered cases brought against public sector health providers, which only comprised around one-quarter of new claims in 2012-13.
Making a claim with GMP
The official data roughly corresponds with our own experiences here at Gerard Malouf & Partners.
Our clients' cases usually take between 18 months and three years to resolve, although the extent of damage that a patient sustains and the medical complexities involved are crucial factors in estimating a timeline. A claim generally takes two years to resolve from the date that a Statement of Claim is filed with the Supreme Court or District Court.
If you are concerned about the potential duration of a case, Gerard Malouf & Partners may advise you to seek a settlement at an early stage in an effort to reduce legal costs and the emotional strain of going to court.
Speak to a personal injury expert at Gerard Malouf & Partners Compensation, Medical Negligence & Will Dispute Lawyers to determine whether you are eligible to make a claim.