If the doctor has apologised to me, does it prove that they were negligent?

In order to successfully prosecute a medical negligence claim against a healthcare provider there are a number of things that will need to be proven, ultimately to the satisfaction of a court. These include:

  • That the healthcare provider owed you a duty of care
  • That the duty of care was breached
  • That the breach of the duty of care caused or materially contributed to the injury, loss or damage which you have suffered.

The mere fact that you are dissatisfied with the outcome of treatment or a medical procedure undertaken is not in itself sufficient to establish an entitlement to a claim. As set out above, what needs to be proven is that the healthcare provider was negligent in that they had breached their duty of care and caused your loss.

In the event that there has been a less than satisfactory outcome there may be an apology for same proffered by the healthcare provider. This is a normal human response to someone who has suffered loss or injury. However, the proffering of an apology does not, in itself, constitute an admission of guilt.

This position has been codified in the Civil Liability Act 2002. Section 69 clearly provides that an apology made by or on behalf of a person in connection with any matter alleged to have been caused by the person does not constitute an express or implied admission of fault or liability… and is not relevant to the determination of fault or liability in connection with that matter.

Therefore, the proffering of an apology by a healthcare provider for what may have been an adverse outcome to treatment or a medical procedure does not constitute an admission and in fact the legislation now clearly provides that it is not relevant to the determination of fault or liability.

The prosecution of a medical negligence claim can be a complex and complicated matter. Hence the engagement of experts is necessary. For over 40 years Brydens Lawyers has been successfully prosecuting medical negligence claims on behalf of our clients who have suffered injury, loss or damage as a result of negligent treatment provided by a healthcare provider.

At Brydens Lawyers, #WE DO medical negligence claims.