Understanding the Basics of Medical Malpractice in Canada

What is medical malpractice? How do you know if you have a claim for medical malpractice? When do you need to consult a medical malpractice lawyer? If you or a family member has been injured while receiving medical treatment, or while under the care of a healthcare professional, chances are that you should consult a medical malpractice lawyer.

While not all birth injuries are caused by medical malpractice, many of them are. If your child suffers from a severe or life-long injury due to the actions of a medical professional, you should consult an expert right away to preserve your legal rights and those of your child.

In Canada, there are two main ways in which a doctor, nurse or other medical professional may be liable for medical malpractice:

• If the professional acts negligently in treating a patient, and the patient is injured as a result of the negligent treatment

• If the professional fails to obtain the patient’s informed consent prior to treating the patient. Informed consent includes advising the patient of the risks involved with the treatment.

To prove a case of medical malpractice involving negligence, your lawyer will have to convince the court of the following:

• The standard of care that a reasonably competent doctor would have provided in similar circumstances

• Your doctor failed to provide you with that standard of care

• The doctor’s failure to provide the expected standard of care caused your injury or illness or endangered your health in some way.

Not every injury occurring in a hospital will qualify as malpractice. Even if an injury was caused by the mistake of a doctor or nurse, it may not qualify as malpractice if the mistake could have been made by a reasonably competent professional facing similar facts.

Medical malpractice cases often involve complicated medical evidence and require the testimony of experts (other doctors or medical specialists). For this reason, in many circumstances it will be impossible for you to determine if you have a legal claim for medical malpractice without consulting an expert.

Medical malpractice, including malpractice causing birth injuries to infants, can cause devastating and long-lasting damage. The costs of coping with these injuries throughout your life can have catastrophic effects on your whole family.

If you are concerned that you or your child was injured due to medical malpractice, consult a medical malpractice lawyer as soon as possible. Only an expert in the area of medical malpractice will be able to give you the advice you need to make informed choices about your future and your family’s future.

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