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When Can You Sue For Medical Malpractice?

March 8, 2022

Sometimes, medical care can go very wrong, and if you or your family member has suffered an unexpected and serious injury because of medical treatment, you may be entitled to compensation. Medical malpractice claims are complex, and not every bad outcome will support a lawsuit.

The Basics of Suing For Medical Malpractice

Doctors, nurses, hospitals, and other health care practitioners have a legal duty to provide medical care that meets a certain standard. Medical malpractice happens when an act or omission of a healthcare practitioner falls below the expected “standard of care,” and causes injury or illness to a patient. The burden is on the patient to prove the substandard conduct that caused harm. Medical records, expert opinions, and other evidence are necessary to prove liability in a medical negligence lawsuit.

Types Of Medical Malpractice Cases

Medical malpractice comes in many forms. Common examples include:

  • Misdiagnosis or delay in diagnosis or treatment
  • Surgical complications (e.g., operating on wrong part of body, performing an unnecessary surgery, mistakes in administering anaesthesia)
  • Birth injuries (including traumatic birth causing brain injury or spinal cord injury)
  • Prescribing the wrong medication or dosage, or failing to warn of significant risks of a medication
  • Failing to obtain informed consent
  • Failing to provide proper follow-up or care after treatment.

Factors That Determine Whether You Can Sue For Medical Malpractice

Here are some of the factors that will determine whether you can proceed with suing for medical malpractice:

Did You Receive Substandard Care?

Hospitals and medical professionals are not liable for every bad outcome or mistake. A medical malpractice lawsuit will not be justified if your physician or surgeon made a reasonable decision that other reasonable physicians or surgeons would have made under similar circumstances, even if it later turns out to have been a wrong decision.

Did You Suffer Serious Injury, Illness, Or Harm?

Medical malpractice lawsuits are costly and take time to resolve. Because of that, a claim should only be started if you or a loved one suffered significant, permanent injury or death.

Was The Harm Caused by Someone Else’s Fault?

Hospitals and health care practitioners are only held responsible for harm that they caused. Complications, unexpected results, and worsening of symptoms happen, even when there has not been negligence in the care you received.

Have You Or Your Loved One Suffered Actual Loss Because Of The Injury Or Harm?

A medical malpractice claim can include compensation for lost earnings, medical and out-of-pocket expenses, and damages for pain, suffering, and loss of enjoyment of life. However, a negligent doctor or hospital will only be responsible to pay for losses and damages that you actually suffered—and can prove.

Are You Within The Time Limit To Sue For Medical Malpractice?

Generally speaking, the limitation period is two years from the date of the loss, damage or injury, but the timeframe may be different for some cases (e.g., claims involving children under the age of 18, or cases where the injury or its cause was not immediately apparent).

Get Advice From Trusted Personal Injury Lawyers

If you think that a doctor, nurse, or other health care professional made a mistake in treating you or that something went wrong while you were in the hospital, it is highly recommended that you get legal advice right away. Reach out to one of our experienced personal injury lawyers to discuss your situation. At Simpson, Thomas & Associates, we can evaluate whether you are eligible to sue for malpractice in BC and provide you with an estimate of damages. Call us at 604-243-5825 or fill out our online form to request a free initial legal consultation.

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