Scots College Order to Pay Almost $500,000 in Compensation Over Student Death

Nathan Chaina with his father.

Nathan Chaina with his father.

The family of Sydney teenager, Nathan Chaina, have been awarded $492,373 in damages following his death at a school camp, but it’s only a fraction of the $100 million in compensation they originally claimed.

The Scots College student fell into a flooded river at Kangaroo Valley on October 23, 1999. The 15-year-old was on school camp at the time and was hiking as a part of group of students, that also included his older brother Matthew.

The subsequent coronial inquest found that the school was responsible for the death as they’d failed to properly prepare the students for the tough hiking conditions and had ignored weather forecasts for the day.

The Chainas made moves towards compensation in 2002, claiming the death of their young son had left them suffering from nervous shock and legal fees had throw them into financial hardship.

Nathan Chaina’s father, George Chaina, also claimed that at the time of his son’s death he had been on a revolutionary new cleaning detergent that would have earned them millions of dollars, but that he’d subsequently lost interest in the business.

The sum awarded to the Chaina family did not include interest, which is in dispute and will be the subject of another hearing later this year. Reports indicate that the Chaina family appeared dejected by the courts decisions, who reportedly spent millions of dollars in legal representation since proceedings began.

You can read more about a recent court decision regarding recreational and adventure operators and their responsibilities regarding liability: ‘Obvious Risk’ saves Operators from Compensation Claims

The importance of records in medical negligence claims

Australian nurses and doctors are some of the best in the world, but sometimes they make mistakes.

When the unthinkable happens and you are forced to file a negligence claim, how you keep records will be extremely important to winning the case.

When the unthinkable happens...

When the unthinkable happens…

 

In most medical negligence cases, medical records play a massive part in being able to establish (during the investigation stage) whether you have a strong case or not.

Most cases rely on the careful analysis of the claimant patient’s medical records to determine the eventual failure or success of the case. Without a complete understanding of your records, there is a very real danger that the case will not be properly recognised or let alone succeed.

Here are two things to remember:

Ensure the medical records are a full set.

Often records are frequently missing and from hospitals in particular.  In most cases, especially the more complex ones, documents are missing. We recommend you press for the entire set and pressure the hospital to look for missing files. It can be surprising how records eventually turn up when pushed for them.

Press for additional records.

Another class of documents that can assist with a negligence case is internal inquiry/complaints documents. Although not strictly speaking medical documents, these often contain internal witness statements and reports. These type of documents often hold absolutely vital information for the investigation of a potential claim.

Remember, the content of your medical records is fundamental to the success of your potential negligence case.  Hold onto everything and don’t be afraid to put the pressure on.

It’s the key to claim success.

 

 

 

 

Medical Negligence Sees QLD Woman Loose Kidney

Imagine being operated on then having the wrong organ removed.

You wake up groggy and sans Kidney.

How would you react? How should the surgeon be punished? And what’s fair?

These were questions raised after a recent case of medical negligence struck at Queensland’s Rockhampton Hospital.

Is surgery safe from negligence?

Is surgery safe from negligence?

Queensland Health announced recently that Doctor Antonio Vega Vega had stood down after mistakenly removing the wrong kidney from a patient. What was even more worrying is that Vega Vega was also involved in three other incidents over the past 18 months.

The Spanish-trained urologist has voluntarily stepped down from his position at the Rockhampton Hospital.

Health Board Chairman Charles Ware was forced to reassure patients the hospital was doing everything to rectify the situation: “We have gone through the surgeon’s records and we have located a total of four adverse clinical incidents,” Charles Ware was quoted as saying.

The Member for Keppel Bruce Young defended the Central Queensland Hospital and Health Board, which took over management of Rochampton Hospital two years ago.

“The board has been very effective in Rockhampton where they’ve made in-roads into public health and that’s one of the things that I am concerned about,” he told the ABC’s Jacquie Mackay.

“My concern is that the long term ramifications of this incident; I hope it doesn’t put a stigma on Rockhampton where people may think, there’s good surgeons who may not want to come here.”

However the Member for Rockhampton Bill Byrne says locals have the right to be worried about the safety standards of the hospital.

“It really is now a matter for the board and the Health Minister to get on the front foot, finalise these matters as rapidly as possible and start, what I believe, is going to be a substantial journey to rebuild public confidence in the hospital,” he said.

It is reported that the woman who had her kidney unnecessarily removed will be on dialysis for the rest of her life.

Professional Negligence: Just the Facts

Professionals such as accountants, engineers and solicitors have a legal duty to complete their jobs ‘by the book’. If they fail to do so, and you suffer, then you may be entitled to compensation.

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Whether it’s being pointed to a dodgy investment or being taken for a ride by a business advisor, nothing feels worse than being let down by a professional.

The big question is: what defines negligence in a professional context?

Here are some examples:

  • Bad professional advice
  • Misleading professional advice
  • Errors in accounting
  • Engineering mistakes
  • Misrepresentation in Real Estate
  • Wrong property evaluations

If you ticked off any of these, then you may be entitled to make a claim for compensation.

Here are the things you need to prove in order to make a claim:

  1. The professional owed you a duty of care.
  2. They didn’t complete their job ‘by the book’
  3. Because of this negligence, you suffered a financial loss.

Compensation is paid by insurance companies and it’s the job of lawyers to find out who needs to be pursued, then put the claim forward in the best possible way. Most of these negligence claims are finalized within two years of a lawyer being engaged.

What you’ll need to gather and keep depends on the individual case of your professional negligence.

If you think you have a case, speak to a lawyer. They can help point you in the right direction when it comes to evidence gathering and pursuing legal action.

Good luck!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Medical Negligence – Paralysis following sinus surgery

In the days following a simple sinus surgery, Melbournite Daniel Hogan started to develop flu-like symptoms. His surgeon reassured Mr Hogan that the symptoms would eventually pass, but what happened next changed his life forever.

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Before the operation, Daniel Hogan was an avid exerciser. He would run almost every night and practiced yoga regularly. Now, the 38-year-old is partially quadriplegic; having developed meningitis from complications arising from sinus surgery.

According to a statement filed in the Supreme Court, Mr Hogan telephoned his surgeon Ron Trower two days after being discharged from a Melbourne Hospital. The surgeon reassured him that the flu-like symptoms were probably just a virus.

Several days passed as Mr Hogan’s condition deteriorated dramatically. He was eventually taken to the emergency room and their surgeons found a defect in his nasal cavity that had allowed the cerebrospinal fluid to leak, causing meningitis.

Mr Hogan has since been left permanently disabled form the neck down.

He finds it difficult to walk 100 metres, has zero sexual function, and is forced to use a catheter to drain his bowels.

The question remained, was it anyone’s fault?

THE CASE

Mr Hogan has recently decided to sue his surgeon for failing to provide proper care following the surgery. Mr Trower and the Royal Melbourne Hospital have denied any negligence in their treatment of Mr Hogan, but some law experts believe that along with the future lose of earnings, cost of medical treatment, household assistance and damages for pain and suffering, a compensation figure of $2million could be reached.

If not settled through mediation, the case is set for trial in November.

WHAT IS MEDICAL NEGLIGENCE?

Hospitals, doctors and health care providers have a duty to take proper care when treating patients. If a patient were to suffer injury that came as a direct result of inadequate skill or care then the patient (or family) may be able to make a claim for financial compensation.

Medical negligence claims are also extremely complex. Not every outcome results in a claim and it’s crucial to demonstrate a connection between the error and negative outcome.

WHAT CAN WE LEARN?

A tragedy like Mr Hogan’s has reinforced the principles that medical practitioners have a duty to warn their patients of all risks involved. Extra care must be taken by both doctors and hospitals to ensure our sick receive the best possible care that’s available.

THINK YOU HAVE A NEGLIGENCE CLAIM?

Then contact a lawyer.

It’s important you speak with someone who has experience in medical negligence as the cases are extremely complex. Time limits also apply in these types of scenarios, so early investigations are essential.

Head to our homepage if you’re seeking further legal advice.

 

 

The Must See Coverage from the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses into Child Sexual Abuse is one of the most closely watched legal battles in Australian history. Below, we bring you the latest must-read articles and video covering the stages of the commission and the hopes for the future for victims. With Cardinal George Pell now having faced the Royal Commission himself there have been expressions of the need that previous cases must be reviewed and current compensation caps removed.

What is Compensation Law?

The law can be a tricky thing to unfurl. To really help you get your head around things we try to regularly explain some of the fundamentals. Today we’re taking a quick look at compensation law – what it is and how it works.

Compensation Law

Workers compensation is a complicated thing.

Image from Shutterstock

The WorkCover government website groups New South Wale’s workers compensation system into four key elements:

1.     ‘WorkCover Scheme – provides workers compensation insurance through contracted Scheme Agents to employers operating in New South Wales.

2.     SICorp (through the Treasury Managed Fund) – manages workers compensation, administration and financial liability for most public sector employers except those who are self-insurers.

3.     self insurers – organisations with enough capital to underwrite, pay and manage their own claims. There are strict criteria that employers must meet prior to WorkCover granting a self-insurers licence.

4.     specialised insurers – hold restricted licences to underwrite workers compensation insurance risk for a specific industry or class of business or employers.’

The current system operates through two previous acts, the Workers Compensation Act 1987 and the Workplace Injury Management and Workers Compensation Act 1998. Both acts are designed to assist and protect employees who have become ill or injured as a result of work activities, as well as employers facing litigation.

Worker Compensation may pay for your hospital and medical costs, along with your regular wages, until the time when you can work again. Your employer must be paying a premium in order for you to be covered. You are not automatically covered by Workers Compensation and not all employees are considered ‘workers’ under the relevant state or territory compensation laws. Prior to commencing any job potential employees should ask if they will be covered in the instance of a work-related injury.

The Government site for WorkCover describes that there are two roles in which it plays in the workers compensation scheme

‘WorkCover acts on behalf of the Nominal Insurer, which is the legal entity responsible for the performance of the WorkCover Scheme. The Nominal Insurer contracts Scheme Agents to deliver case management and policy services within the WorkCover Scheme. WorkCover also regulates and manages the workers compensation system, including the licensing of self and specialised insurers and oversight of service providers.’

Under NSW law, employers must have a workers compensation policy in place if they are paying in excess of $7500 in wages per annum, are employing an apprentice or trainee, or are a part of a group for premium purposes. These are businesses that are related entities paying over $600,000 in wages per annum.

If you require more information about workers compensation you should contact your state or territory’s workers compensation authority.