Medical malpractice lawsuits are among the most complex types of personal injury claims, and they can be complex and lengthy to process. When the doctor you trust with your health fails to diagnose you and cause harm instead, your next steps should be to contact a medical malpractice lawyer and seek compensation.
Unfortunately, not all victims of medical malpractice who suffer significant injury pursue legal action. Without a legal background, it’s hard to know what to expect, what you can do to protect yourself and what potential issues may arise.
In addition, physicians are part of the Canadian Medical Protection Association (CMPA), an organization created to protect doctors from such legal situations. This adds another layer of difficulty for victims.
At Sommers Roth & Elmaleh, we believe that if you experienced harm or injury as a result of medical malpractice, you deserve to get justice and compensation for the damages. Our experienced lawyers can help you with your malpractice lawsuit and advise you on how to move forward.
Nonetheless, you need to know eight things that can help you during a medical malpractice lawsuit.
1. Proving negligence
Proving a medical malpractice case can be difficult because a patient can receive the best care available yet still suffer from injury or illness. Just because there was a bad result does not mean that your practitioner committed malpractice. Negligence only occurs when a physician fails to perform to the standards that are expected and causes injury or harm to a patient.
Examples of medical negligence include:
- Failure to properly treat a patient
- Making mistakes in diagnosis
- Providing substandard care
- Or errors in prescribing or administering medications
If medical errors occur in a hospital, the facility could also be held liable for harm to its patients caused by their physicians.
2. Healthcare providers are protected by the CMPA
As we mentioned above, physicians are a part of the Canadian Medical Protection Association (CMPA). This organization works to help doctors and is a highly respected entity that is skilled in defending its members. They will not settle unless you can concretely prove negligence. They also provide financial assistance to doctors by covering all legal fees while also providing an abundance of other resources. So as you can see, the odds will be stacked against you. When you bring a medical malpractice lawsuit against a doctor, you will need the best, most highly experienced attorney to assist you.
3. Filing the lawsuit
Before you file the lawsuit, you will want to speak to a medical malpractice lawyer. Your legal representative can help you gather all the necessary paperwork and documents, file them correctly and on time. If you fail to meet the statute of limitations, you might forfeit your right to pursue compensation.
4. Limit on damages
Many victims unwittingly assume that they will receive millions in compensation because they are suing the medical industry. This is not the case. The Supreme Court of Canada has placed limitations on the amount that can be paid out. General damages, including compensation for pain and suffering, are capped at $350,000.
On the bright side, this limit does not apply to damages such as loss of income or additional medical costs. It only includes damages that pertain to your quality of life, like emotional, mental or physical trauma. This means you can sue a doctor for all the costs incurred and receive additional compensation for the struggle, pain and suffering you experienced due to negligence.
5. Slim chance of winning a medical malpractice claim
Despite over 40,000 deaths in Canada associated with medical malpractice, the chances of a patient winning a malpractice lawsuit are rare. The statistics show that there is only a 2% chance that the victim wins a medical malpractice claim. However, this does not mean that you are not entitled to compensation, and this is why you should always consult with a medical malpractice attorney to find the best solution for your claim.
Many cases end in settlement simply because the negligent party does not want to go to trial. Most practices will want to keep their malpractice out of the public spotlight as it can negatively impact their reputation. In these instances, you will be offered a settlement amount instead of going to trial. You can speak with your lawyer to determine if this is sufficient and if you may be entitled to seek more.
7. Medical malpractice claims are lengthy
Suppose you decide to go through with a medical malpractice lawsuit. In that case, you should expect the process to take a while because these are usually very complex cases with intimidating processes. Furthermore, the CMPA will try to extend the process as much as possible to defend their physicians.
8. Who can you sue?
People usually wonder if it’s possible to sue a hospital without suing a doctor or the nurses. While each case is unique with differing factors, several doctors and nurses are responsible for providing medical care in most situations. It will be difficult to determine who should be held responsible for the error.
In any case, nurses are usually not part of the CMPA and are only members of the hospital’s health authority. Courts have stated that nurses are not usually responsible for the wrong actions of the doctors. This means that it might be possible to sue the hospital and the doctor. It will vary from case to case.
To learn more about what to expect during a medical malpractice lawsuit, call Sommers Roth & Elmaleh at 416-961-1211 or contact us here.
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