When Does Medical Negligence Occur?

Duty of Care

It is generally accepted that a doctor/patient relationship always gives rise to a duty for the doctor to take reasonable care and provide competent treatment. Hospitals have the same duty and lack of facilities, funding or staff do not excuse them.

Breach of the Duty of Care

If you do not receive competent medical treatment, the duty of those treating you is breached.

Is important for patients to understand that a doctor is not automatically liable for making a mistake or making decisions that , with the benefit of hindsight, were not correct.

A doctor will only be liable if it can be proved that he/she failed to exercise the standard of skill expected of an ordinary competent doctor.

Whether a medical practitioner has failed to take reasonable care, is a matter for independent expert evidence.

If our medical compensation lawyers believe you have a matter worth pursuing, we will engage a medical practitioner in the same field of practice as the medical practitioner who provided (or failed to provide) the treatment. They will examine the relevant material, including your medical records and statements and provide an expert opinion in relation to where and how things went wrong.

If the expert report concludes that a medical practitioner did not treat a patient competently, the patient may be entitled to bring a claim in negligence against the practitioner.


The notion of an “injury” in this context is quite broad, for example, failing to diagnose a medical condition, perform surgery in the correct manner or incorrectly prescribing medication, may result in a negative physical outcome, even for a period of time, which can be categorized as an injury in the context of a medical negligence claim.

Psychological injuries may also result from incompetent medical practice and may be compensable.


Once it has been established that the medical practitioner has breached his/her duty of care and that the patient has suffered an injury and/or loss our medical malpractice lawyers must establish that the injury and/or loss was caused by the medical practitioner’s breach.