Canadian Medical Malpractice Laws
The bulk of medical malpractice claims filed in Canada revolves around healthcare reviewed by medical professionals employed by the Canadian Medical Protective Association (CMPA), which is the Canadian state government health coverage scheme deployed favorably in Canada.
Addressing Instances of Medical Negligence under Canadian Law
However, problems of medical negligence do commonly arise in Canada with ample complaints being made by patients about the length and adversarial nature of resolving patient-doctor and healthcare disputes. Fortunately, the past three decades have opened several routes by which Canadian patients can resolve legitimate medical malpractice complaints against health care providers. Moreover, while the number of claims filed against CMPA and its employed professionals has decreased, the payouts in cases has increased dramatically since legal clarifications made in the 2000s regarding routes to compensation for damages in tort and contract claims jurisdictions.
Reasons for Filing Medical Malpractice Claims in Canada:
Through most commonly contract or tort courts claims, patients in Canada can file negligence claims for violations of Canadian medical malpractice laws for the following:
- Obstetric or pregnancy related failures to properly diagnose and treat resulting childbirth injuries to both mother and child
- Failure to diagnose internal medicinal or other medical ailments per a reasonable standard of care, with the failure to diagnose being deemed a breach of a reasonable standard of care per Canadian medical malpractice laws
- Surgical, prescription drug, or diagnostic mistakes resulting patient’s risking their health and ongoing treatments by way of professional medical failure to prescribe and provide the correct treatment
- Costs and expected future costs associated with poorly performed or substandard prior medical treatment by a CMPA associated medical professional resulting in items such as future medical procedures expected, changes in quality of life, and changes to employability
- Costs associated with managing a chronic condition, disability, or otherwise preventable illness missed or left untreated in a negligent manner per a reasonable standard of care under Canadian healthcare medical malpractice laws
As with medical malpractice claims under US jurisdictions, Canadian medical malpractice claims are subject to Province-specific procedural rules and regulations. However, the essential elements of a viable medical malpractice claims case remain similar in a Canadian context, with a patient and provider relationship established, negligence occurring, and the negligent actions being the proximate cause of actual damages sustained by a patient.
Canadian State Medical Practitioners Also Receive CMPA Funded Legal Defense Protection
Ultimately, the relatively stringent claims process occurring via the CMPA, save for instances involving a solely private practice practitioner, has a relatively dismal statistical success record for first time claimants, with the entity frequently disputing all elements of a given patient’s claims case from the outset, unless documented and presented appropriately alongside legal representation. Moreover, physicians or other medical professionals practicing in Canada named as a liable party or defendant in a medical malpractice case will incur the legal representation of the multi-billion dollar funded CMPA legal defense fund for its medical members, which obviously places the quotidian patient at a gross disadvantage in terms of presenting available, uncontestable medical malpractice claims case in Canada.
Having Legal Counsel Involved with Any Canadian Medical Malpractice Claim Is Essential
More than most state-run healthcare systems, the CMPA is notorious for disputing patient malpractice claims initially and reports an annually high success rate of rejecting complaints. However, a large percentage of cases are won by patients annually, with patients frequently refiling successful claims with the assistance of a medical malpractice lawyer in Canada. Recent research has indicated that the claims approval process under medical malpractice regulations permissible under the CMPA healthcare regime stand somewhere near 2% of claims cases resulting in a favorable verdict, with less than one thousand claims cases for medical negligence being filed annually in Canada with historical verdicts averaging out to verdict awards of less than $118,000 for the past decade. However, a trial, Canadian medical malpractice complainants have found around a twenty (20%) percent success rate in obtaining a favorable verdict decision, if not robust amounts in compensation recovered.
Statutes of Limitations on Filing Viable Claims Cases in Canada Do Apply and Are Province-Specific
Finally, the time-limits or statutes of limitations for filing medical malpractice laws violations claims in Canada is Province-specific, with most Provinces containing laws preventing claims after only two years from the date a patient-doctor relationship was established or when harm definitively began occurring. Having a lawyer determine a patient’s next appropriate steps per Canadian medical malpractice laws and experience in handling cases with the CMPA will be critical.