What should the citizen know before starting a lawsuit on breached healthcare rights?
Court cases can be conducted in three areas: Administrative, Criminal, Civil.
Administrative cases are conducted when an administrative authority refuses to fulfill its obligations as set out in a law or by-laws. The administrative court may challenge individual administrative acts, general administrative acts, secondary legislation or the administrative authority's refusal to issue such administrative acts.
Such cases shall be brought before the appropriate administrative court against which an appeal is lodged against an act or omission by an administrative authority. The time limit for filing such a complaint is 14 days after the date of learning of the disputed action. The complaint may be filed through the administrative body or directly in the administrative court. The court fee for such cases is BGN 10 for individuals and BGN 50 for legal entities. The decision of the Administrative Court may be appealed before the Supreme Administrative Court. The proceedings are two-sided and the SAC's decision is final. If the case is lost, the applicant may be ordered to pay the costs of the administrative authority. In complex cases, the court may appoint an expertise to be paid separately.
A specific example of such cases are those that lead patients against the Ministry of Health for lack of or delayed delivery of medicines for the treatment of diseases under Ordinance 34. They are conducted in accordance with the Administrative Procedures Code on the basis of the State Responsibility Act for damages.
Criminal cases are brought when there are reasonable suspicions of a crime. Such doubts may arise, for example, when a patient is not properly treated and as a result has died or there have been permanent irreversible changes in his or her physical or mental state. In such cases, a complaint is lodged with the relevant district prosecutor's office. The prosecutor may refuse to initiate or initiate such proceedings. The refusal can be appealed to the District Prosecutor's Office. Upon completion of the preliminary proceedings, the Prosecutor charges the accused and brings the case to court. The applicant may be involved in the case as a private prosecutor by making a separate claim for damages for material and non-material damages. No State fee is payable in these proceedings. Claims for damages may also be brought after the criminal proceedings have been completed in a separate civil process. In this case, a state fee is due.
Civil cases are governed by the Civil Procedure Code, based on the Obligations and Contracts Act. Compensation for non-pecuniary and / or pecuniary damage is claimed. The petition is filed by the injured person, who may be the victim himself or his relatives and heirs if he has died. These are cases in which the patient has been injured during treatment, but there are insufficient grounds for seeking criminal responsibility. The doctor (the medical institution) has the obligation under the law not to harm. They are required to take care of the patient's treatment, in accordance with the current, generally accepted achievements of medical science and practice. Any deviation from these obligations, resulting in adverse consequences for the patient, may be claimed damages for damages. Prerequisites for the successful outcome of such a case are the following: 1. Unlawful behavior of the physician (the medical establishment), which may be inactivity, misdiagnosis, improper treatment, etc. 2. Damage to the patient - non-treatment, worsening of the condition, development of additional disease, etc. 3. Causal link between the two - the damage is a consequence of the unlawful act.
Cases can be brought against a separate doctor or against the medical establishment. In the latter case, it is not necessary to prove the specific fault of the individual doctor. In all cases of civil cases, a state fee is payable, which is 4% of the amount of the claim for damages. Additional costs should be foreseen for forensic expertise as is required in most cases. The costs of a lawyer are negotiable and may not be lower than the minimum rate set by an ordinance. Where the claimant is a low-income person, he may ask the court to be exempt from fees and expenses, and in this case a Declaration of Form shall be filed. The court judges on a case-by-case basis. In such cases, the claimant may ask the court to appoint him an official attorney whose costs are paid by the Legal Aid Bureau.