1Do I pay for anything upfront?
Most of our matters are conducted on a contingency fee basis. This simply means that we only take on matters which we believe have a high prospect of success. In such matters, we take on all the costs ourselves and our client will only pay us if we win the case. No win no fee.
2What is negligence?
To test whether a medical practitioner has been negligent the test which is used is with the same set of facts and situation would a reasonable, capable, careful and sensible medical practitioner have made the same misdiagnosis, surgical error, and applied the same treatment/procedure, or might he have made a similar mistake, or is the mistake a reasonable one under the circumstances. If the answer is “no”, then the medical practitioner is not of the required standard. One can then affirm that negligence has occurred and that medical practitioner may be held liable for the error.
3What is informed consent?
“Informed Consent” means that a medical provider has thoroughly informed a patient about all the inherent risks, benefits and alternatives involved in any surgical or medical procedure or treatment, and that the patient has duly given their consent to proceed with the treatment. A lack of informed consent may result in a patient being able to institute a claim for medical malpractice.
4What steps should I take if I suspect that I (or someone I care about) has been a victim of Medical Malpractice?
If you suspect that you have been a victim of medical malpractice or medical negligence, urgently contact Campbell Attorneys for an obligation free first consultation. We will assess your matter and advise you further.
5Who is entitled to make a claim?
• A person who was personally injured • A dependant of a deceased or injured party for the loss of support that dependant would have received • A guardian may also claim on behalf of a minor for any of the above reasons If you are unsure if you are entitled to claim, call us for expert advice.
6How long does the litigation process take?
Each case is unique to the individual and its circumstances hence it is impossible to provide an exact time frame as to how long it will take to finalise. We will ensure that we do all in that we can to ensure an expeditious carrying out of the mandate handed to us by our clients.
7How long do I have to claim?
A victim of medical malpractice would generally have three years to have issued summons from the time of the negligent act or the time they became aware or could have become aware of the negligent act. Further, in respect of actions against the state, for example due to negligence at a Government Hospital, you are required to serve a Notice of the Intention to Institute Legal Proceedings on the state within 6 (six) months of the negligent act. We can however apply to court to condone the late service of such notice. There are exceptions that may allow one to institute action more than 3 (three) years from the date of the negligent act, for example if one were dealing with a minor. If you are uncertain if your matter has prescribed, feel free to contact us and we will advise you. In any event, there are various time period of which action must be taken and we therefore recommend that you contact us and seek assistance as soon as possible should you be a victim of medical malpractice.
8What do we charge?
Firstly we offer a commitment free, no cost, initial consultation in which the merits of your matter can be discussed as well as any other questions that you need answered. Should both parties chose to proceed, we would generally accept the matter on a contingency fee basis whereby we agree to litigate the matter on risk and generally carry the cost of disbursements, for example medico-legal reports, advocates fees, etc. We would then agree to limit our fees to a percentage of not more than 25% of your claim.
9Who pays for the medical reports?
The cost of the disbursements including the medico-legal report and experts fees to testify etc, are significant and are normally in the region of a few hundred thousand rand upwards per matter, if matter has been taken to trial. The court will normally order the Defendant to reimburse such costs should you be successful. As long as our firm is satisfied with the merits of the matter, we will cover those costs upfront.
10What can be claimed?
A person can claim compensation for damages suffered. There are two main categories namely general damages and special damages. General damages cover the pain and suffering as a result of the injuries you sustained. Special damages include things like past and future medical expenses, past and future loss of earnings.