Obtaining compensation for a doctor’s negligence - Diamond and Diamond Lawyers
  • Tuesday, 04 September 2018

Obtaining compensation for a doctor’s negligence

#AskZevBergman

The relationship between a patient and a doctor is built on trust. You trust the doctor treating you to do so with the utmost skill and to not make a mistake. Mistakes, however, do happen and patients suffer the consequences. It is estimated that 70,000 individuals a year suffer what should otherwise be a preventable injury due to treatment they receive from a medical professional in Canada. When doctors make a mistake, it is up to the injured patient to pursue a claim for compensation. Understanding your rights as a patient and how a claim for medical malpractice works is essential.

Medical malpractice comes in several forms

Medical malpractice may refer to a medical professional’s negligent or careless behaviour resulting in a patient being injured, but a patient can also suffer harm from the failure of a doctor to act. Examples of medical malpractice include the following:

  • Errors in diagnosis or a failure to properly diagnosis a condition
  • Failure to order appropriate tests
  • Prescribing the wrong medication or dosage
  • Failure to prescribe medication
  • Failure to take and give proper regard to a patient’s medical history
  • Surgical errors, including wrong site surgery
  • Prematurely discharging a patient from treatment and care
  • Improperly interpreting diagnostic test and laboratory results

Negligent treatment or care occurs when a health care provider fails to offer care and treatment comparable to what other the average medical professional treating a patient under similar circumstances would provide. Negligent medical care could include mistakes and omissions in treatment or diagnosis.

Another form of medical malpractice occurs when your doctor or health care provider fails to obtain your informed consent to the treatment. For example, a doctor who prescribes a medication or recommends a surgical procedure without disclosing potential risks or side effects could be committing medical malpractice. The fact you consented to treatment does not shield a doctor from liability if you were not informed of the nature of the treatment and known risks associated with it.

The third general form of malpractice is not connected to what a doctor does for or to you. Instead, it is based upon a refusal by a doctor or hospital to provide treatment because of your race, gender or other reason that is discriminatory in nature.

A bad result does not mean your doctor was negligent

The reality of the practice of medicine is that a doctor could do everything correctly and be unable to cure a patient. Likewise, not every mistake exposes a doctor to a malpractice claim. An error must be proven to have caused or contributed to an injury or worsening of the patient’s condition. For instance, a doctor whose misdiagnosis of a patient causes a delay in treatment might have made a mistake, but unless the patient’s condition worsened because of the delay, the mistake did not cause additional injury to the patient.

Damages recoverable in a medical malpractice claim

If you have been injured through the malpractice of a health care provider, you could be entitled to make a claim for compensation, including lost current and future earnings as well as pain and suffering damages. Court decisions placed a cap on the amount of money a victim of medical malpractice can recover for pain and suffering, but the cap does not apply to other damages, including lost wages.

Ontario personal injury lawyers

The personal injury lawyers at Diamond & Diamond have years of experience successfully handling claims for compensation for individuals injured through medical malpractice by doctors, hospitals and other health care providers. If you have been injured, you should speak to one of our lawyers. Call the Diamond & Diamond 24/7 injury hotline at 1-800-567-HURT or visit our website to speak to someone now. We offer free consultations and case evaluations to injury victims throughout Ontario.

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