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Personal Injury Lawyer – Inadequate medical advice but no causation

In a recent NSW case, the Plaintiff claimed personal injury damages against the Mental Health Unit of a public hospital for failing to provide adequate advice.

The Plaintiff suffered brain damage following a suicide attempt whilst on weekend leave from the hospital. Two prior suicide attempts had arisen in the context of the Plaintiff consuming alcohol and having contact with his former fiance. The Plaintiff had then been transferred involuntarily to the Mental Health Unit.

Through his tutor, the Plaintiff claimed his parents were not warned about the significance of particular stressors to be avoided whilst on leave from the hospital; in particular, that the Plaintiff should avoid alcohol and association with the former fiance. He also claimed that his parents were not provided advice about what to do if they became concerned about his condition.

The Court found that the advice given to the Plaintiff’s parents and a social worker was inadequate and a breach of the duty of care.

However the Court also found that this failure to advise did not cause the Plaintiff’s attempt to take his own life. The Plaintiff’s consumption of alcohol and text message exchange with the former fiance’s friend occurred 4 hours prior to the suicide attempt. During that 4 hours, the Plaintiff had returned home appearing relaxed and happy, dining with his parents and going to bed.

The Court found there was no immediate connection between the suicide attempt and the text message exchange. Further, the mother’s evidence that had she been warned, she would have prevented the Plaintiff going out that day, was rejected for what the Court considered to be hindsight bias.

If you believe you have a medical injury claim, an expert personal injury lawyer can advise you in relation to this complex area of law.

You should contact a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible so that if do you have a claim, medical evidence can to be obtained prior to commencing proceedings within the 3 year period.

Our Personal Injury Lawyers can provide practical solutions and exceptional results in relation to your compensation claim on a No Win, No Fee basis. Call 1300 773 529 or email a personal injury lawyer at info@matthewsfolbigg.com.au. We can then arrange an initial telephone conference to discuss.

Matthews Folbigg has over 50 years’ experience protecting personal injury and compensation rights of people living in Parramatta and the Hills.