Disclaimer: HCC is a non-statutory, issue-based organisation. We are not legally or medically trained and do not have legal powers to force outcomes. If you are seeking information on legal processes or advice, please review the resources below as they will be the most appropriate pathways for you in this situation.
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Legal information when seeking compensation
If medical providers breach duty of care, there are pathways for medical negligence compensation claims and legal proceedings.
Common issues resulting in claims include misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose, making an existing condition significantly worse through practice, failing to provide appropriate care, treatment, referral, surgery or post-operative care resulting in significant damage or incorrectly reporting test results resulting in significant damage or mismanagement of care. It is important to note that not all claims are valid, as the damage and impact needs to be significant, and needs to be supported with evidence.
Seeking compensation from a hospital or service can be a long and involved process. It is important to get independent legal advice before and during an application for compensation, so you can be sure you are receiving what you are owed, and that everything is being done properly.
If you are wanting to pursue a medical negligence case, please see the document button below for an overview of the process, costs, time constraints and other important factors.
If applying for compensation regarding an experience in a private hospital or clinic, you will need to contact the hospital to find out who their medico-legal provider is, and what their processes are. If it is a single practitioner, they will likely consult with their private medico-legal provider and they will engage with you or your lawyer. If you are unsure at any point, you can contact the services listed below for advice, or you can seek a legal opinion privately.
If you are applying for compensation from a public hospital or service (excluding public services located in private hospitals) you can follow the document below with an application.
Western Australia’s primary public legal support
The Law Society:
The Law Society of Western Australia is the peak professional association for lawyers in Western Australia. The Law Society is a not-for-profit association dedicated to the representation of its members and to the enhancement of the legal profession through being a respected leader and contributor on law reform, access to justice and rule of law.
They have a tool on their website which can help find lawyers who deal in the areas you require representation in: https://www.lawsocietywa.asn.au/find-a-lawyer/
They also have lots of resources around finding a lawyer, costs and complaints: https://www.lawsocietywa.asn.au/for-the-public/
1300 650 579
Legal Aid is a public Western Australian service which aims to promote affordable access to legal services and information for all West Australians. They provide representation in Civil law, Criminal law, Family law and Community legal education. They do this online, on the phone, in person, in court and in the community.
Aboriginal Legal Service of Western Australia:
08 9265 6666
ALSWA is currently the largest community based Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander legal organization in Australia. It provides legal aid services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples throughout Western Australia in accordance with grant conditions imposed by the Commonwealth Department of the Attorney General. The Aboriginal Legal Service of WA Limited (ALSWA) is a not for profit organisation which provides legal representation and support services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples in Western Australia.
ALSWA plays a vital role within WA’s justice system, working in collaboration and partnership with communities and key government and non-government partners to rectify legal policies and practices that impact adversely and disproportionately on the legal and human rights of WA’s First Peoples.
Mental Health Law Centre/RUAH Legal Service:
08 9328 8012 or Freecall 1800 620 285
Ruah and the Mental Health Law Centre are committed to providing much-needed, integrated legal and non-legal support to families and together they’re expanding their support services under the umbrella banner of Ruah Legal Services.
They have a team of qualified lawyers, paralegals and community workers, from across the Ruah network to deliver a seamless multidisciplined approach that ranges from advice, early intervention and advocacy, to representation in court, and referral to other services for ongoing care and support. Their priority is on criminal and mental health act cases.
They offer support in two main areas of legal support:
- Care and Protection – legal and non-legal advocacy and support for the growing number of families facing child protection proceedings for parents experiencing a mental health illness.
- Mental Health– WA’s centre of excellence for legal matters related to mental illness. MHLC specialises in matters related to the Mental Health Act 2014, including involuntary treatment, guardianship and administration, responding to Restraining Orders and Criminal Law matters, including court appearances and sentencing, SAT and fitness hearings.
- They also provide support to clients with legal matters related to housing and homelessness, and family and domestic violence.
Community Legal Services:
https://circlegreen.org.au/ – Circle Green is a community legal centre in Western Australia providing state-wide specialist legal services in employment, residential tenancy law, family and domestic violence, and migration services aimed at assisting people who are otherwise disadvantaged in their access to legal services.
Women’s Legal Service
https://www.wlswa.org.au/ – Women’s Legal Service is a not for profit community legal centre who provide free legal services to WA women. They practice in family law, family violence, protection and care matters and criminal injuries compensation relating to family violence or assault.
Northern Suburbs Community Legal Centre
https://www.nsclegal.org.au/ – Northern Suburbs Community Legal Centre aims to provide clients in WA’s northern corridor with a service that is specific to their needs, within the areas of tenancy, immigration issues, restraining orders, older people’s rights, women’s engagement and financial counselling.
Sussex Street Community Legal Service
http://www.sscls.asn.au/ – Sussex Street Community Legal Service is a ‘non-profit’ non-government community based organisation that provides access to accountable, non-judgemental and effective legal services to low income people in the community in areas of family law, civil law, minor criminal law, welfare rights, disability discrimination, tenancy matters and with a night legal service. They are a geographically bound, so contact them to see if you are in their catchment area.
Fremantle Community Legal Centre
https://www.fremantle.wa.gov.au/fclc – Fremantle Community Legal Centre is a non-profit organisation which provides legal services to low income members of the community. They offer legal advice in limited areas, document drafting, mediation, restraining order matters and have limited court representation including a duty lawyer at the Fremantle Magistrates Court for FVRO and VRO matters.
Youth Legal Service
https://youthlegalserviceinc.com.au/ – Youth Legal Service is a not-for-profit organisation providing free legal services to children and young people across Western Australia. They offer advice over the phone (1800 199 066 or 9202 1688) and offer representation in court for limited matters.
Gosnells Community Legal Centre
https://gosclc.com.au/ – Gosnells Community Legal Centre promote basic human rights, including housing, income, equality, freedom and dignity, by a variety of support services to resolve legal, economic or social issues. They provide support in areas of family law, child support, domestic violence law, financial counselling, tenancy advocacy, mediation and victim compensation, and are linked with Armadale Community Legal Service (https://gosclc.com.au/contact-gclc/).
Law Access is a not-for-profit organisation that coordinates the giving of pro bono (free) legal assistance by the Western Australian legal profession.
The service is targeted at not-for-profits and individuals in genuine need of legal assistance who satisfy a means and merits test. We are the last resort for those who cannot get legal assistance from community legal centres or legal aid.