Medical Malpractice in Thailand

Despite Thailand’s commendable healthcare system that offers low-cost treatments and state-of-the-art facilities, the country is not immune to medical malpractice claims. Medical malpractice covers unskilled, inadequate, and neglectful treatment as well as failure to provide for possible and known health risks.

Whether it is a hospital negligence claim or dental malpractice, the compensation awarded typically depends on several factors. The legal system in Thailand gravitates toward limiting general damages to quantifiable losses.

What is Medical Malpractice?

As Thailand becomes a major destination for medical tourism, a growing number of patients are dissatisfied with their procedures. Unfortunately, their complaints are rarely publicized, and obtaining compensation is often difficult. It is often necessary to hire a lawyer with experience in malpractice cases in Thailand and to be able to document that the doctor or hospital actually committed medical negligence.

Malpractice refers to the act or omission of a medical practitioner that results in Personal injury or death to a patient. It can include anything from improper diagnosis to inadequate treatment. It can also include negligent or unethical conduct such as performing unnecessary procedures on a patient.

Medical Malpractice claims can be brought in civil and criminal courts. The civil law states that a claim must be filed within one year from the date that the wrongdoing became known or ten years from the day it was committed. However, some claims may be joined to a criminal case, extending the statute of limitations.

What is the Statute of Limitations?

Although medical malpractice lawsuits have increased with the rise in the number of tourists traveling to Thailand for affordable yet high-quality treatment, the country’s doctors are still unafraid to perform risky surgical procedures. Many patients from the West are eager to have experimental surgeries that can improve their quality of life, and Thai doctors are willing to take on the risks.

When a doctor commits professional negligence, victims should consult with a Thailand medical malpractice lawyer to file a claim and get compensated for their losses. Generally, medical malpractice claims must be made within one year from the date of injury or death. However, there are exceptions such as when a case falls under the sphere of criminal law which has a longer statute of limitations.

It is important for victims to have evidence that proves the doctor failed to meet the established levels of standard medical practice, resulting in injuries or death. The court system also gravitates toward limiting general damages to quantifiable losses, and the award may not include compensation for pain and suffering.

Can Victims of Medical Malpractice Seek Compensations Without Legal Action?

As Thailand’s medical industry grows to become a major hub for overseas patients, it is not uncommon that some medical tourists will experience dissatisfaction with their treatment. As a result, the number of Medical Malpractice cases have risen, as has the need for Thailand negligence lawyers.

Generally, medical malpractice claims in Thailand are considered as civil proceedings under the law of liability for wrongful acts. Under this, such claims should be instituted within 1 year from the date that the injury was discovered to the injured party. Nonetheless, some medical malpractice cases might fall under criminal laws and thus have different prescriptive time limits.

In general, courts in Thailand tend to limit general damages in malpractice claims to quantifiable losses which typically comprise of expenses and loss of income, both present and future. It is rare that a court will award compensation for “intangible” losses such as pain and suffering and emotional shock. This is one reason why it is important to work with a Thailand malpractice lawyer.

What Can I Do if I Have Been the Victim of Medical Malpractice?

Despite the medical tourist boom, most people have no idea that Thailand has relatively weak legal mechanisms to protect injured patients. What many hospital and medical tour companies gloss over in their slickly produced websites is that it is very difficult for foreign patients to seek redress or compensation for injuries from their surgeries in the courts, regardless of how bad the results are.

Generally, when compensating victims of medical malpractice in Thailand, courts will award damages based on quantifiable financial harm such as the cost of hospitalisation, rehabilitation and loss of income. Intangible losses such as pain and suffering are not awarded.

Unlike Western countries, where doctors are required to carry high liability insurance rates, Thai doctors pay very little for their malpractice policies. This helps to keep healthcare costs in the country low, but also has consequences for foreign patients. When a doctor commits professional misconduct, the court will take into account the severity of the offense, the doctor’s mitigation submission and documents, and past records in determining an appropriate sanction.

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