Any time a healthcare professional causes you injury in the course of medical diagnosis or treatment, you may have a medical malpractice claim for which damages can be recovered. A successful medical malpractice lawsuit usually results in several hundred thousands of dollars in compensation. But, just because your doctor makes a mistake in your treatment doesn’t necessarily guarantee that you will win your Ottawa medical malpractice lawsuit.
Medical Malpractice Lawsuits Fall under the Category of Personal Injury Law
In all personal injury lawsuits (a medical malpractice lawsuit is considered a personal injury), a defendant may be liable if he or she failed to act as a prudent, reasonable person would and as a result injured someone. In the case of a doctor or other healthcare provider, the standard that is applicable in the proving of a medical malpractice is raised. In essence, healthcare professionals are liable for injuries if they fail to act as carefully as other medical professionals in their area of specialty would have acted, taking into consideration training, education and licencing standards of their particular specialty. However, don’t think that just because a medical professional makes a bad decision that he or she is guilty of medical malpractice as there are specific factors that determine whether or not medical malpractice has occurred, according to Canadian law.
First, a medical error is not enough to guarantee a win in a medical malpractice case. If you have suffered no harm, you have no medical malpractice case. Damages must be proven to have occurred as the result of the mistake. Damages can consist of expenses such as present and future medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. And, in general, financial amounts awarded for pain and suffering far exceed amounts awarded for medical expenses.
To initiate a medical malpractice suit in Ottawa against a healthcare provider, you must file a complaint with a court, typically in the province where the medical malpractice took place. You’ll be required to notify the defendant of your issue and demand that he or she show up in court to defend their actions. You may need to sue more than one party in your medical malpractice suit, say a doctor, nurse, medical technician, or the hospital itself. An experienced Ottawa medical malpractice lawyer will be able to assist you in the determination of who you may sue and what types of claims to include in any complaint you might want to file.
Most medical malpractice cases are settled outside court with an insurance company. Ottawa courts strongly encourage parties to settle as courts are busy and most medical malpractice suits are pretty straightforward. Reaching a settlement any time before a final verdict is declared in your case is a possibility. Your Ottawa medical malpractice lawyer is your best resource for determining what a good settlement is in your medical malpractice case. Never sign a settlement with an insurance company before having it reviewed by a qualified Ottawa medical malpractice lawyer.
To Navigate the Complicated Process of Medical Malpractice Law, Contact an Experienced Medical Malpractice Lawyer
Canadian law surrounding medical malpractice lawsuits is complicated as each case is unique. If you think you or a loved one has been injured as the result of the negligence of a medical practitioner, contact an experienced medical malpractice lawyer to determine if your case is a viable one.
One-Third of Canadian Medical Mistakes Result In Death
An estimated 70,000 medical mistakes are made in Canada annually. Approximately one-third of those mistakes result in death, according to The Canadian Adverse Events Study. Throughout Ottawa the Patient Safety and Quality Council is attempting to help prevent some of these mistakes by educating patients about what they can do to minimize the chances of being injured as a result of medical errors in hospitals, long term care facilities, pharmacies and medical clinics.
One particular Canadian health policy journal, Longwood, recently published a medical errors avoidance tip sheet to assist advocates of patients and patients in taking precautions when seeking medical care.
Precautions to Take to Avoid Medical Errors
1) Inform all healthcare providers about all medications you are taking, including vitamins, herbs, over-the-counter medicines, dietary supplements, and prescriptions.
2) At your first appointment with any healthcare provider, bring along all medications and supplements you use so you and your doctor can discuss them. This also provides your doctor with an up-to-date record of any medicines you are taking and interactions that might result from further use of medications during any treatment.
3) Tell your healthcare provider of any known allergies you have or adverse reactions to certain medications.
4) Make sure that you can read any prescription your doctor provides you with. Odds are, if you cannot read it, a pharmacist may not be able to either.
5) Ask about medications your healthcare provider wants to prescribe for you and make sure you know: a) what the medication is for; b) how you should take it and for how long; c) what the side effects are and what to do if they occur; d) the safety of taking the prescribed medication with others you already take; and 3) whether or not your should avoid certain activities while taking the medication.
6) When you pick up a prescription, check to make sure it is the correct prescription.
7) Ask the pharmacists any questions you might have about your medication.
8) If you are hospitalized, make sure care givers who touch you have washed their hands.
9) At time of discharge from a hospital stay, make sure you understand your treatment plan, including medication requirements, follow-up appointments, and pursuit of regular activities.
10) If you go in for a surgery, make sure you know exactly what is to be done.
11) Find out if the hospital you are planning to have any surgery in is one experienced in your particular surgical procedure.
12) Always speak up about any concerns or questions you have about your care or anyone involved in your health care.
13) Take a relative or family friend along on appointments to clarify instructions and hear what your doctor has to say.
14) Only allow doctors to perform tests that are necessary as opposed to a battery of tests that aren’t relevant to your condition.
15) Always call back for the results of any tests you have; don’t assume that no news is positive news.
16) Educate yourself about your condition and any treatments involved in taking care of it by doing some research or asking your doctor.
Contact An Ottawa Medical Malpractice Lawyer If You Are Injured By A Medical Error
Even though you may be careful and follow the above suggestions, accidents do happen in diagnosis and treatments of health conditions. If you think you have been injured as the result of an error by your doctor or other healthcare provider, contact an experienced medical malpractice lawyer to determine if your situation rises to the level of a medical malpractice suit.