Could my daughter pursue a compensation claim for wrong site surgery even if she is under eighteen?
It may be possible for a compensation claim for wrong site surgery to be made on your daughter´s behalf while she is still under eighteen years of age, however it is not possible for her to make a claim herself as in Ireland a legal minor cannot make a claim on their own account or instruct a solicitor.
If you think your daughter is entitled to compensation for surgery on the wrong site, then you or a legal guardian will have to represent her as her “next friend”. A next friend can pursue a claim on account of a child, provided that they have no conflict of interest and they take financial responsibility should a claim because a surgeon operated on the wrong site ultimately be unsuccessful.
The Statute of Limitations applies somewhat differently when it comes to child injury claims, so your daughter also has the option of waiting till she turns eighteen to pursue a claim because a surgeon operated on the incorrect site. The Statute of Limitations typically imposes a two year time limit on potential plaintiffs to pursue a claim, with a number of rare exceptions. However, with regards to your daughter, because she is under eighteen and cannot make a claim in her own right, the two-year limit will not begin until she is eighteen – meaning that she has until the age of twenty to make a compensation claim for wrong site surgery.
Although it may seem like your daughter has an ample amount of time to claim compensation for surgery on the wrong site, it is still recommended that you speak with a medical negligence claims solicitor about your daughter’s potential claim at the first viable opportunity. There is rarely any defence against procedures carried out on the wrong site, and the only issue that needs to be resolved before a claim because a surgeon operated on the incorrect site is “why?”. Therefore, your solicitor would write to all the parties who may have played a role in your daughter´s treatment (medical staff, technicians, administrators) and engage the services of an independent surgical expert to establish how the mistake was made and determine who exactly was negligent.
The solicitor will thereafter calculate how much compensation for surgery on the wrong site your daughter is entitled to and enter into negotiations with the negligent party´s insurers to resolve the compensation claim for wrong site surgery as quickly as possible. Please note that when a satisfactory conclusion to the claim because a surgeon operated on the wrong site is agreed, the settlement will still have to be approved by a judge and the compensation settlement paid into court funds until your daughter reaches adulthood.
If you wish to pursue a compensation claim for wrong site surgery on your daughter’s behalf, it is in your best interest to discuss this with a medical negligence claims solicitor. They will be able to provide you with information that is more relevant to her situation and also advise you on how best to proceed. Therefore you should contact your solicitor at the first available moment.