Can I sue a doctor for bad advice?

In Australia a claim can be brought against a doctor for bad advice so long as that advice is considered negligent.

When a doctor fails to exercise the proper standards of care, including giving bad advice to a patient, it isn’t necessarily negligence. Bad advice can simply be an honest oversight. People rely on doctors for help deciding on a course of treatment based on information and symptoms the patient provides. Unfortunately, this treatment may not always be what is best, and if another doctor reasonably would have given different advice in the same situation, it may be negligence.

How do I show that my doctor was negligent?

To establish negligence, you must show that:

  1. Your doctor owed you a duty of care. A doctor-patient relationship must exist between you and your doctor at the time of the alleged bad advice. To do so, you must show that the doctor in question was in fact your doctor at the time of the incident.
  2. Your doctor breached that duty of care. In this case by providing bad advice.
  3. You have suffered physical or financial harm. The breach must have caused you an injury. For instance, you must provide proof that taking the doctor’s bad advice worsened your condition.
  4. Your doctor’s breach of duty of care caused that harm. If you cannot show that you suffered injury as a result of the breach of duty, you will not have a claim.

If you can prove the above elements, then you can sue your doctor for bad advice.

A case involving Mrs Makaroff, provides a good example of where a doctor failed to advise Mrs Makaroff to have surgery. The delay resulted in Mrs Makaroff being denied a better outcome had she received the surgery at an earlier point in time. You can read our case summary here.

Medical negligence cases can be complex, with a heavy burden of proof on the victim and it is important to obtain legal advice. It is important to not delay obtaining legal advice as there is a great deal of work to be done to prepare a claim. McAuley Hawach Lawyers acts in these matters on ‘no-win no-fee’ basis. Please call our personal injury lawyers today on 1800 180 500.

Bernard McAuley

McAuley Hawach Lawyers
11 Fennell Street, Parramatta NSW 2124
Telephone: (02) 9633 1826
Web: www.mcauleyhawach.com.au
Email: reception@mhl.net.au  

The information in this publication is of a general nature and is not intended to address the circumstances of any particular individual or entity. Although we endeavour to provide accurate and timely information, we do not guarantee that the information in this publication is accurate at the date it is received or that it will continue to be accurate in the future. We are not responsible for the information of any source to which a link is provided or reference is made and exclude all liability in connection with use of these sources. If you do not wish to receive newsletters from us, please let us know.

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