Can You Sue a Doctor for Compensation in Canada?

You can sue a doctor for compensation in Canada if you have been injured due to a substandard level of medical care. However, the Canadian Medical Protective Association (CMPA) rigorously defends medical malpractice claims, so you must have a very strong basis for legal action.

Medical malpractice claims in Canada

Some countries – such as New Zealand – do not allow medical malpractice claims. Instead, injured patients seek compensation through a no-fault compensation scheme. Other countries – like the UK – allow patients or their bereaved families to bring a civil lawsuit against doctors and medical organizations where negligence has occurred.

So, what is Canada’s position?

Canada follows the likes of the UK and the USA, in that people who have suffered harm because of substandard medical care are legally entitled to bring legal action. This type of lawsuit is known as a medical malpractice claim or a medical negligence claim. It falls under the banner of personal injury law.

The Canadian Medical Protective Association

However, the reality is that most doctors in Canada are members of the Canadian Medical Protective Association (CMPA). The CMPA has significant resources to fight medical malpractice claims that are brought against its members. It uses these funds to rigorously defend any allegations of wrongdoing.

Because of this, medical malpractice lawyers in Canada can be very selective about what cases they take on. This can be very frustrating for the injured patients and their families. It is also frustrating for us as medical malpractice lawyers. We want to hold negligent doctors to account, and help injured patients get the justice they deserve.

Medical malpractice claims can succeed

Having said that, medical malpractice claims can and do succeed in Canada. Data from the CMPA’s 2019 Annual Report shows that in that year alone, 285 cases settled and five patients won at trial. A case ‘settles’ when the CMPA and the injured party reach an agreement out of court.

Therefore, if you suspect that you have suffered as a result of substandard medical care, please still consider speaking to our Vancouver medical malpractice lawyers. If you have strong grounds for a claim, we can help you get the compensation you are entitled to. It is always worth contacting us for advice – that way, you know where you stand.

Who can bring a medical malpractice claim?

In theory, anyone can bring a medical malpractice claim in Canada if:

1. They have been injured by medical errors, or their loved one died because of medical errors; and

2. These medical errors amount to a substandard level of care

In British Columbia, there is also a two-year limitation date. This means that no more than two years must have passed since the medical errors occurred or were discovered. The exception is where children are harmed but survive. In these cases, the two-year time limit starts when the child turns 18.

If a child or other family member has died because of medical mistakes, a medical malpractice claim can be brought by the bereaved parents or relatives.

Find out more: What is Medical Malpractice and Can I Make a Claim?

Get early legal advice

If you think you have suffered because of poor medical care, or your loved one has, we urge you to get early legal advice. Most people only have two years to bring a lawsuit. If you are out of time, then there is nothing we can do to help you. But if you speak to us sooner, rather than later, we can discuss the options with you.

To speak to our Vancouver personal injury lawyers, either fill in the free online enquiry form or call us on 604 684 0040.

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