Expert Advice from a Medical Malpractice Lawyer in Israel
The following article will provide you with insight from a medical malpractice lawyer in Israel regarding filing a medical negligence claim. If after reading this article, you still have additional questions about suing in Israel, or if you need legal representation from a civil attorney, please contact our law firm (03-3724722, [email protected]). We have offices both in Jerusalem and in Tel-Aviv.
Israel has a well-earned reputation for high-quality health care and for excellent medical professionals. Unfortunately, even in Israel, doctors and other health care providers make negligent medical errors sometimes. If you have suffered bodily damage and financial losses because of the medically negligent actions of your doctor, then it is your right to receive adequate compensation. It is important to use the services of a qualified medical malpractice lawyer in order to successfully litigate a medical negligence case in Israel and to ensure that you receive the full amount of compensation that you deserve.
The definition of medical malpractice in Israel
The term for medical malpractice in Israel is rashlanut refuit – literally: “medical negligence”. Medical negligence is considered a type of civil wrong and is therefore addressed by tort law (dinei nezikin in Hebrew). Specifically, medical malpractice is a subcategory of the civil wrong called negligence. Victims of negligence and medical malpractice have the legal recourse of filing a civil lawsuit and claiming financial compensation from those who caused them harm.
Professional negligence is legally defined in Israel by the Civil Wrongs Ordinance. In it, professional negligence is described as a failure to demonstrate the degree of caution and skill that would be expected of a reasonably prudent and qualified professional. If this lack of care and caution causes damage or losses to a person, then it is considered a civil wrong and the harmed individual has a right to full compensation.
Experienced medical negligence lawyers in Israel are able to assess whether a medical malpractice claim has a reasonable chance of success. They also have detailed knowledge of the relevant laws and legal precedents that define under what conditions an action is considered negligence. The expertise of a medical malpractice lawyer is essential in order to prove your case and receive fair compensation for your losses.
Breach of duty
Judicial precedents in Israel have established a clear duty of care that health professionals have towards their patients. Note that the legal term “duty of care” does not refer to a contractual duty but rather to the implicit responsibility medical providers have towards their patients. Note that not every medical error is considered a breach of duty or an act of negligence. According to Israeli law, a breach of duty occurs only if the health care provider failed to act with the level of caution expected of a reasonable and qualified professional. If they acted professionally and took reasonable precautions, then it is not considered a wrongful act or a breach of duty, even if they made an inadvertent error.
However, if their actions deviated from the desirable behavior of a reasonable professional, it is considered a breach of duty. Additionally, for this breach of duty to constitute medical negligence it needs to be proven that their behavior resulted in harm to the claimant. Medical negligence can occur at any stage of receiving medical care. This includes the failure to diagnose a condition, negligence during a surgical operation, inadequate care at the rehabilitation stage, and more.
Who can sue for medical malpractice in Israel?
If a doctor or any other medical professional acts negligently and this results in a patient suffering bodily harm or death, then a civil lawsuit can and should be filed. The claim can be filed by the harmed individual or, in the case of minors, by their parents. In cases where medical negligence results in the patient’s death, a lawsuit can be filed by the deceased person’s heirs or dependents. Moreover, one does not have to be an Israeli resident in order to file a civil lawsuit in Israel. If a tourist or expatriate receives medical treatment in Israel and suffers from medical malpractice, they are entitled to exactly the same legal rights and compensation as an Israeli citizen.
Note that the medical negligence lawsuit can be filed against any health professional from whom you received negligent care – physicians, anesthesiologists, physiotherapists, psychologists, optometrists, nurses, pharmacists, etc. You should also sue the hospital or medical institution in which you received the negligent care. The hospital has both a direct duty of care towards its patients and vicarious liability as to the employer of the negligent health care provider.
Statute of limitations for suing in Israel
The Israeli Law of Prescription (1958) subjects all civil lawsuits to a prescriptive period (also known as a statute of limitations). This law limits the period in which a person may file a civil lawsuit such as a medical malpractice claim to no more than 7 years after the wrongful act. Because of these time limits, you should contact a medical malpractice lawyer in Israel as soon as you become aware that you have been harmed because of negligence.
In the case of minors who suffer medical malpractice, the prescriptive period is longer. In cases in which the minor’s parents did not file a lawsuit, the patient can do so on their own as soon as they become an adult. The prescriptive period in such cases is up to 7 years after the claimant turned 18. In other words, claimants under the age of 25 can file a medical negligence claim even if the negligence occurred in their childhood. For instance, if a person has suffered from cerebral palsy since infancy and it is demonstrable that the cause of their condition is medical negligence during their birth, they can still file a medical malpractice lawsuit in their early twenties, despite the usual seven-year prescription period.
Compiling the Medical Documents
Before filing a lawsuit, medical negligence solicitors in Israel will first compile all the relevant medical documentation and records. This is essential in order to assess whether a lawsuit is the best course of action and in order to prove to the courts that the defendant is in fact guilty of medical negligence. Medical institutions are required by law to keep meticulous documentation of the care they provide. Additionally, all patients in Israel have the right to receive all the medical reports about the care they have received. Note, however, that after a set number of years the hospital is no longer required to keep a copy of the medical reports. This is another reason it is important to act without delay when filing a medical malpractice lawsuit in Israel.
Consulting medical experts
Next, your medical malpractice lawyer will seek the opinion of an expert regarding the negligence claim. In Israel, the expert testimony of a medical specialist must be attached to any medical malpractice claim. The expert opinion must substantiate that negligence did in fact occur and was a source of harm to the claimant. It should also quantify the extent of the damage caused by the negligence so that the amount of compensation can be calculated. Your claim for compensation should take into account your physical harm, your pain and suffering, and your financial losses due to loss of earning capacity and redundant medical expenses.
The cost of suing over medical malpractice in Israel
Note that paying for an expert medical opinion is often the most expensive part of filing a negligence claim. The expert’s fees can sometimes amount to thousands of shekels. However, successful claims usually result in far greater compensatory damages, sometimes even millions of shekels, depending on the case. Also, note that your lawyer’s fees are usually a fixed percentage of the compensatory damages. In other words, if your medical malpractice lawyer fails to secure compensation for your losses, you will not owe them any payment.
Additional articles on negligence claims in Israel
We hope you found this article, “Filing a Medical Malpractice Claim – Expert Advice from personal injury lawyers in Israel”, to be informative and useful. If so, you may find other articles of interest on our website concerning negligence and tort law in Israel such as: Filing a Negligence Lawsuit in Israel, Advice from a Civil Tort Attorney, and Advice from a Negligence Lawyer in Israel.
If you have any additional questions or if you require legal help from a medical malpractice lawyer, please contact us. We have law offices both in Jerusalem and in Tel-Aviv and have extensive experience in representing the interests of private citizens vis-a-vis large institutions and government agencies. We would love to help you receive the compensation that is rightfully yours.