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Medical Malpractice FAQ

What is medical malpractice?

Medical malpractice is a form of professional negligence related to healthcare providers failing to meet the standards of care expected of them when treating patients. This negligence can manifest in a variety of ways, ranging from incorrect diagnosis and treatment to misdiagnosis and inadequate care. In these cases, the healthcare provider may be held liable for any damages incurred by the patient due to the negligence.

What happens when your doctor makes a mistake?

Even though medical professionals are highly skilled and trained, mistakes can still occur. Not every medical error a healthcare provider makes will result in legal liability. When determining whether a doctor is liable for a mistake, the court will consider whether their actions meet the standards of other reasonable doctors in the same field. For example, the standard of care for a specialist is higher than that of a general physician. If you believe that a doctor or medical professional has made a mistake in your care, you must reach out to a medical malpractice lawyer. A medical malpractice lawyer will review the facts and advise whether you have a valid medical malpractice claim. Legal action against a doctor is a long and complex process; a medical malpractice lawyer can help make the process simpler and more manageable.

Can I sue for unexpected surgery complications?

It is not always the case that surgery or treatment going differently than expected constitutes medical malpractice. Sometimes, the body unexpectedly reacts to treatment that even a qualified doctor could not have predicted. A lawyer will investigate and research the matter to determine whether the doctor should have foreseen the risk and warned the patient. Once this is complete, the lawyer will advise their client on their chances of successfully filing a lawsuit against the doctor.

Can the copies of medical records be used in court?

You have the right to obtain copies of your medical records as a patient. Your lawyer may act on your behalf to retrieve these records from any healthcare providers.

Is there a time limit on medical negligence claims?

According to the Limitations of Actions Act, a patient has up to two years from the date of discovering the malpractice to start a civil lawsuit against the medical practitioner. This two-year period begins when minors reach 19 years of age (18 in Prince Edward Island), although a parent or guardian may initiate the lawsuit beforehand. Similarly, if the patient is of unsound mind, the two-year period begins when they become mentally competent. In the event of a death, the family has only one year to bring a claim. It is important to note that if you file a lawsuit within the applicable time frame, you may retain your right to sue. It is best to contact a lawyer as soon as you suspect medical malpractice.

Is it possible to sue in Nova Scotia Court if the medical treatment was received?

Our medical malpractice and birth injuries lawyers work across Atlantic Canada. In most circumstances, patients sue medical professionals where they received the medical services. However, in some unique cases, the Court may allow a patient to file a claim in their home province for benefits received elsewhere. You can discuss this with your medical malpractice lawyers to determine the most appropriate Court for your matter.

What do I need to prove for my claim to be successful?

In order to successfully bring a medical malpractice claim, the Plaintiff must be able to prove three essential elements of negligence: 1. That the medical professional's level of care fell below the accepted standard of a reasonable medical professional in similar circumstances. 2. That this substandard care was the cause of the injury sustained. 3. That the injury resulted in serious and substantial legal damages. To prove these elements, medical malpractice claims typically require the testimony of medical experts. These matters are complex and lengthy, so it is strongly recommended that those considering filing a claim seek experienced legal representation from professional medical malpractice lawyers.

What are the effects if my claim is successful?

In the event that a patient's medical malpractice claim is successful, courts may award monetary damages. Nurses, hospitals, and other medical professionals typically have insurance that covers such circumstances. On the other hand, doctors are insured by the Canadian Medical Protective Association, which acts like an insurer. Suppose a medical professional is sued for medical malpractice. In that case, their insurance will provide them with legal representation and cover any damages awarded to the patient if the claim is successful. The medical professional does not risk losing their license or having to pay out of pocket for any damages. Their insurance provides them with coverage in the event that they make a mistake and injure a patient.

What if I think a medical professional should lose their license?

Courts do not have the power to revoke a medical professional's license. However, you can file a complaint with the relevant medical licensing body, such as the College of Physicians or the College of Nurses. These organizations have the authority to issue licenses, order educational courses, impose fines, and even revoke licenses if necessary. In addition, they will investigate any complaint lodged against a medical professional to determine the appropriate course of action. Although it is possible to do this without a lawyer, it is generally a good idea to consult with your lawyer first if you are also considering taking legal action in Court.

What areas of medical malpractice does Bimma practice?

At Bimma, we have a wealth of experience dealing with various medical malpractice claims, from birth trauma to spinal cord and brain injuries. Our experienced attorneys are well-versed in the medical complexities involved in these types of cases and are ready to provide the expertise and support you need.

Birth Injuries FAQ

What is birth trauma?

If your child has been the victim of birth trauma, they may be entitled to compensation. Birth trauma occurs when a baby is injured during labor and delivery and can include hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), cerebral palsy (CP), and brachial plexus injuries (BPI). These claims are complex and costly, requiring an intimate understanding of the medical complexities involved. Fortunately, the medical malpractice team at Bimma is well-versed in navigating these complicated matters. In addition, our experienced attorneys can provide the expertise and support necessary to pursue these types of claims.