Toronto Doctor Malpractice Lawyers - Ontario Law
TORONTO LAWYER HELPLINE: ☎ 855 804 7142
A medical malpractice case in Ontario is intended to compensate a person who has been injured as a result of negligent treatment by a health care provider that has caused personal injury, pain and suffering and consequential losses. Medical malpractice is a term used to describe any treatment, lack of treatment, or other departure from accepted standards of medical care, health care or safety on the part of a doctor or other health care professional that causes harm to a patient and can include misdiagnosis, inappropriate treatment, failure or delay in treatment or follow up and prescription errors. Negligence in Ontario is often not obvious and requires consideration, review and analysis by medical malpractice lawyers. In order to succeed, a Toronto doctor malpractice lawyer must show that:-
- the health care provider owed a duty of care to the patient
- the duty of care was breached
- the patient suffered harm
- the patient's injury was caused by the breach of duty
In an Ontario negligence case it is usually not difficult for a Toronto doctor malpractice lawyer to establish that a duty of care exists once a doctor-patient relationship has been formed and takes place when the physician agrees to care for the patient. Even after it is established that a duty of care existed and the health care provider breached that duty of care by failing to meet the requisite standard of care it will not be possible to recover compensation unless the claimant suffered injuries that were as a direct result of the breach of that duty of care. Claims may be pursued against those who provide medical or health care including, physicians, nurses, hospitals, dentists, nursing homes and pharmacists and may be brought against individuals, partnerships, professional associations and corporations.
The first step in pursuing a Toronto medical malpractice case involves obtaining and reviewing medical records and other pertinent information by a lawyer and by a specialist medical expert. If it is determined that there is medical malpractice case worth pursuing then written notice of the claim is given to the individuals or entities that are believed to have been responsible. A documentary review by a medical specialist is conducted to determine whether or not the health care professional failed to meet the appropriate standard of care. The vast majority of cases are settled prior to trial and some cases are settled prior to the filing of a lawsuit.
After obtaining the medical reports necessary to prove the claim and after collating copies of physicians' medical records and the patient's hospital charts, all of the documentation together with a factual statement of the circumstances of the claim and a chronology of events is sent to a consultant physician who is a medical malpractice expert from the relevant clinical discipline for an opinion on liability and causation. It is essential to have a competent specialist review the material at this stage to confirm if there has actually been negligence or a transgression of acceptable standards of clinical or hospital practice. It is also necessary to show that there is a causal relationship between the negligence and the harm suffered by the patient. If any of these essential elements is not present then the reviewer should be able to advise on whether to abandon the medical malpractice case as unsustainable or to advise on progression after obtaining further evidence as a result of which it may be necessary to meet the expert on several occasions.
A person who has suffered from negligence has a limited time period in which they must pursue their medical malpractice case. Time limits under a statute of limitation vary and certain exceptions may exist under the law in certain circumstances. The time period may be extended for certain individuals including those who are minors when the malpractice occurred and in other circumstances including when a medical professional conceals the malpractice. These time limits if breached can totally preclude legal action from being taken to claim compensation and potential claimants should always seek the advice of an attorney without delay.
Arbitration is often advocated as the best solution however the entire procedure is fraught with difficulties. In minor cases arbitration may be appropriate however in a substantial case it is preferable to rely on a medical malpractice lawyer to take the matter to trial. In an arbitration each party usually nominates one arbitrator and a third arbitrator is then selected by the existing arbitrators. Frequently none of them are truly impartial and most cases cannot be decided justly because judicial disclosure of documentation is not usually part of arbitration.
Stringent 'discovery' rules apply in most states to a medical malpractice case. Discovery means that both sides to a case have at some stage to disclose all documentation that has been or is in their possession relating to the claim, subject to the exception of certain classes of documentation which are deemed to be privileged and do not have to be disclosed. It is advisable for the lawyer instructed on the claim to meet personally with the medical malpractice expert rather than have a written report at this stage of the case, as any written report may have to be disclosed to the other side under the discovery rules. After the meeting the experts opinion should be dictated by the Toronto doctor malpractice lawyer into memorandum form which in most cases will be immune from direct discovery by the opponent.
Toronto Doctor Malpractice Lawyer
If you are the innocent victim of a clinical mistake then you may be able to recover compensation. For legal advice at no cost and without obligation from a Toronto doctor malpractice lawyer just call the helpline or complete the contact form or email our Toronto offices and a Toronto doctor malpractice lawyer will telephone you immediately to discuss your compensation claim without further obligation.
TORONTO LAWYER HELPLINE: ☎ 855 804 7142