There’s a common misperception in Canada that it is impossible to sue your doctor, even if you have a case. That isn’t true, however it is rooted in what is often a very difficult reality for many patients.
All medical doctors in Canada are members of a co-operative called the CMPA, the Canadian Medical Protective Association. This isn’t technically an insurance agency but it does function similarly to one. Doctors pay fees which goes to a fund that is used to defend members against malpractice claims. That fund has a lot of money in it — as much as $5 billion — and the CMPA is often not just working to win cases but to defend its members reputation.
That can mean a long and expensive fight for patients who launch a claim. According to the CMPA’s 2019 report, of the 775 resolved legal actions that year only five patients won at trial compared to 47 physicians. Another 285 cases were settled, and 438 were either dismissed or abandoned.
Most medical malpractice cases involve miscommunications which lead to harm or injury. The quality of care is interrupted when it is handed off to another doctor or care provider, a lab test is missed, a diagnosis delayed. When this happens at a critical juncture in the patient’s care — such as delaying treatment for a dire diagnosis — their health can suffer.
When a patient launches the claim, it is up to them and their legal team to prove three things:
- That they were in fact a patient of the healthcare practitioner or institution they named in the case.
- That the practitioner or institution was negligent or failed to meet the standard of care.
- That the harm the patient suffered was a result of this negligence.
Proving those points requires the insight of medical experts and the careful examination of medical records. These experts are used not just to determine whether the case is defensible, but to quantify the damages the patient may be entitled to.
This can be a lengthy and expensive process. Having an experienced medical malpractice lawyer to guide you through it is invaluable. They can help you navigate the complex system and increase the chances that you’ll get the compensation you’re entitled to.
Contact our expert team of medical malpractice lawyers today for a free consultation to find out how we can help you.