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Statute of Limitation - Medical Malpractice Law


Doctors usually provide a high standard of excellence for their patients however there are occasions when things do go wrong. Our Toronto medical malpractice lawyers offer professional legal representation throughout Ontario. Our personal injury lawyers deal with claims on a contingency basis which means they don’t get paid unless they succeed. If you would like free telephone advice from an expert Toronto medical malpractice lawyer just call the helpline or complete the contact form or email our Toronto offices.

Statute of Limitation

All provinces in Canada have legislation known as a ‘statute of limitations’ which is a law referable to the time limits within which legal action must be pursued. The regulation takes effect by preventing the pursuance of proceedings which have been filed in a Canadian court after a certain time period has passed. Provided that the court papers have been filed and served on the defendant prior to the expiry of the relevant period then the matter can thereafter be pursued often at a leisurely pace notwithstanding that the period has expired. The limiting factor for a statute of limitations is usually a requirement to ensure that the court has sealed/stamped/signed the documents alleging negligence and that those papers have been properly delivered to the defendant or his representatives prior to the expiry of the time limit or limitation period.

Exceptions to the General Rules

The basic time limits within a statute of limitations may vary considerably. There are also often exceptions to the general rules contained within a statute of limitations for those who are classified as infants or for those who are mentally disturbed. Other exceptions may apply to ensure that time does not start to run until the negligent act is actually discovered or ought to have been discovered with reasonable diligence. The whole arena of law involved in statute of limitations is an exceptionally dangerous place for an inexperienced lawyer.

Medical Negligence Liability

To succeed in a claim for compensation it is necessary for medical malpractice lawyers to show that it is more likely than not that their client has suffered injury which they would not otherwise have suffered but for negligent treatment by a health care professional. Treatment is negligent if a healthcare provider has fallen below the minimum standard of skill or care that the medical profession regards as reasonable in that particular area of the country. This includes not only doctors but also hospitals, clinics, dentists, nurses and technicians and any other party or body that undertakes to provide services to take care of patients sufficient to establish a duty of care. A doctor/patient relationship is usually sufficient to establish the existence of a duty of care. Even if negligence has been proved there are a number of hurdles that potential claimants must surmount in order to obtain compensation for injury. It is also necessary to show that the harm suffered by the patient was directly attributable to the healthcare providers negligent actions.

Time Limits Vary

The statute of limitations is intended to bring closure to litigation by placing a time limit on when legal action can be taken in the courts if a claim does not settle with the consent of both parties. These time limits, which vary for different types of legal actions, are necessary because memories fade, witnesses die or relocate and documentation or computer records can be lost or corrupted. These evidential difficulties can result in the outcome of a trial being unfair. Limitation law is in a constant state of flux and reliance should never be placed on the written word for fear of it being outdated. The only source of accurate information is likely to be an experienced lawyer who is familiar with the laws, recent developments and case law.