We have written numerous blog articles on Medical Malpractice. Medical malpractice refers to injuries suffered as a result of the negligence of a health care provider where treatment fell below the medical standard of care. Health care providers not only include doctors, but also other types of medical practitioners including dentists, nurses, chiropractors and therapists such as physiotherapists, kinesiologists and massage therapists.
Common examples of medical malpractice claims include:
- Surgical errors
- Post-operative errors
- Treatment errors
- Medication errors
- Lack of informed consent
- Failure to act and negligent omissions
- Breach of fiduciary duty
- Misdiagnosis, failure to diagnose and delayed diagnosis
- Birth trauma
Medical practitioners must follow the standard of care of an “ordinary practitioner in the same circumstances”. Proving that a medical practitioner fell below the standard of care is a complex issue. This is because the courts recognize that there may be several treatment options and they allow a physician to use “clinical judgment” in making decisions. There are also circumstances where the courts do not fault medical practitioners for making “excusable errors” which may result in ”recognized complications” of the procedure.
Causation is also a critical issue in all Medical Malpractice claims. Causation is the connection between the injuries suffered by the patient as a result of negligent medical treatment. If the injury was caused by another reason or it would have resulted in any event absent negligence, then causation will not be established.
The reason why you need a lawyer for a medical malpractice claim is because they are very complex and difficult to prove. Medical malpractice claims are also very expensive because of the expert evidence needed to prove negligence against a doctor and to prove injuries.
Another important reason why you need a lawyer for a medical malpractice claim is because they are vigorously defended. The vast majority of doctors in British Columbia and in Canada are members of the Canadian Medical Protective Association, known as the CMPA. This is a member funded organization that provides defence for physicians who are sued for medical malpractice. While the CMPA acts like an insurance company, it is self-funded and it is not technically an insurance company. Since the CMPA was incorporated in 1913, it has established a significant defence fund in the billions which it uses to fund legal defence costs. As noted by CBC in a recent article, over the years there are fewer successful Medical Malpractice claims as a result of the the obstacles injured claimants face in getting access to the court system and the aggressive defence of these claims by the CMPA.
If you have been injured as a result of a medical practitioner, it is important to seek legal advice as soon as possible. Contact us for a free legal consultation with our experienced personal injury lawyers to learn more about your rights and options.