Unfortunately, on occasions it will be necessary for us to be on the receiving end of some type of medical intervention, whether this be for health purposes or cosmetic purposes.
The fact is that we put ourselves in hands of professionals, or so we would believe. When the intervention is carried out in hospital and is for health purposes and usually unavoidable, we trust that those who are caring for us are registered professionals. In private medical centres however, above all when they deal with cosmetic surgery and treatments, you should ensure that the person treating you is, in fact, registered to carry out the treatment you have having.
But, what do we do if we think that we have been victim of medical mal practice (as opposed to a human error, the difference is complicated in establishing). In Spain, as with anywhere else in the world, information is power. You must keep all the medical reports made available to you. If they are not all provided, then you can actually request your medical history. I did this once, and there were a lot of internal documents that I was of course never supplied with, and I discovered a fair few things that I had no previous knowledge of. So, keep ALL your documents.
You can initially start with making a claim to the hospital. I would recommend that you use a lawyer to assist in drafting the claim. It is always best to seek legal advice in these cases, as I have stated before these cases are complicated, particularly if you are suing a private practice. Here, I advise that you look for a lawyer who specialises in dealing with medical negligence. They will be able to first advise you as to whether you truly have a case and, if this is so, then guide you through the process.
In all medical negligence cases a second opinion is required. There are specialised forensic doctors who are empowered to carry out this task. This consists in meeting with the claimant, carrying out an examination and reviewing the medical documents. A report is then issued for use in court.
Usually, after an intervention, the aftercare treatment is ongoing and could take several months, years, or in the worst cases, the consequences of the medical negligence will have no possible treatment or remedy. It is important that you maintain your lawyer and the forensic doctor up to date on your progress.
In terms of costs, if you win, then you will be awarded your legal costs. If you lose, then you are facing approximately 10% of the amount of the claim in costs. Therefore, in a claim of 100.000€, you would be liable for roughly 10.000€.
Should the initial court rule against you, you can always appeal and take the case to a higher court.