Medical Negligence Compensation
What is medical negligence compensation?
The subject of compensation for medical negligence or medical malpractice is at a nascent stage of understanding in India for the common people while the government has taken measured steps to help the medical services consumers.
In cases of negligence in India, to assess real damages, it’s important to take into account multiple factors that miss the attention of the claimants under the overwhelming agony that they already suffer.
Compensation is not out of compassion for the patient
The most common areas of medical negligence are;
- removal of a wrong body part,
- wrong treatment due to faulty diagnosis,
- damage to an organ due to negligence of hospital staff,
- treatment against the accepted medical norms,
- prescription and discharge with wrong advice;
- or a surgical instrument left inside the body.
In cases of compensation for bodily harm, personal injury, loss of limbs, or death while undergoing a diagnosis or medical treatment, the courts first decide whether the medical practitioner was negligent and then comes the question of
monetary compensation. The subject of compensation is not about the compassion for the patient, or his wishful monetary needs for future but the evidence produced before the court and the applicable legal principles to decide the amount.
What does a settlement mean?
Compensation for medical negligence is intended to make the patient whole again. The key premise is to compensate the claimant for the medical expenses and personal costs incurred on the treatment. And in part to offset the hardship
of a lifetime to the patient or ensued cost of care to the caregiver; or to compensate the next of kin in case of death due to lost family income.
In an unfortunate case where the negligence results in patient’s death, the loss of deceased’s potential earnings at the progressive rate till the age of retirement or even beyond is made good to the next of kin. The compensation is equally applicable when childbirth injuries occur to an expectant mother from the negligence of medical staff or doctors of a healthcare facility.
Why is it paid?
It is paid to compensate for the agony and distress to the sufferer for not being able to enjoy the quality of life owing to doctor or medical staff’s negligence.
How is monetary compensation calculated?
Medical negligence advocates take into account all the factors that can be converted into money to build a figure to arrive at the compensation that the patient shall receive as a fair sum for the loss, or the next of kin shall receive in case of death. Some of these factors are:
- Severity of the injury
- Length of recovery
- Loss of projected earnings
- Impact on quality of life
Is everything claimed for negligence settled in favor of the claimant?
The courts require an unbiased medical opinion on the injury and its severity while deciding the compensation. A direct link between the cause and effect of the damage and the extent of loss is important. Occasionally there are contributory factors that aggravate the damage. Whether such a loss is imputable to the medical negligence is the other big question. As such there is no limit to the amount that one may claim in the court but each piece of claim has to be backed by an unambiguous medical evidence to verify the same.
Where is the complaint instituted?
A complaint is instituted in a District Commission where the opposite party resides or carries on the business, or the place where the cause of action arises, or where the complainant resides or personally works for gain.
Who has the jurisdiction and what are the levels of jurisdiction in India?
The District Commission has the jurisdiction to entertain complaints where the total value of the bills and fees for medical services does not exceed rupees one crore.
A level higher, if the value of the medical bills and fee exceeds rupees one crore but does not exceed rupees ten crore, the matter goes to the State Commission. State commission also entertains any appeals against the orders of any District
Commission within the state. The National Commission has the jurisdiction where the combined value of the
bills and fee for medical services exceeds rupees ten crore. It also entertains appeals against the orders of any State Commission in India.
In any case, the key to success is never delay filing a complaint
A negligence case has a time limit of three years from the date of knowledge to file a claim. The date of knowledge of the claimant is the date when it’s first realized that a mistake has been made. Once realized there should not be any
delay in filing the complaint.
What it does is; it ensures claimant’s access to documents and saves hardship of misplacing any of them. The documents are important to file a case. Also, over time one tends to forget the discussion, prescriptions or medical advice of the
doctor and the sequence of diagnosis and treatment. There should not be any delay if the negligence has resulted in a loss and it is felt that a claim arises out of the said negligence.