8 Things To Avoid When Suing a Doctor for Medical Malpractice in Canada

April 12, 2023

Thinking of suing a doctor? – think twice! Here are eight things not to do when you strongly believe you are the victim of substandard medical care in Canada.

1. Retain a lawyer who does very little medical practice work. There are not many lawyers who do this work very well. However, they are not hard to find.

2. Encourage your lawyer to start and proceed with the case without a thorough investigation of the medical and legal issues. Don’t let the lack of a solid medical opinion stand in your way.

3. Expect that the case will be quick and cheap. Although experienced lawyers will take on viable cases on a “contingency basis”, you will likely be expected to front the costs of initial medical opinion(s) and record gathering. Be prepared for no less than $5,000 and as much as $15,000 to get started. If the investigation is favourable, most lawyers will pay the freight from this point to the end of the case.

4. Bet the farm that your doctors’ lawyers will get gun shy and cave in when they see how good your lawyer and your case are. And don’t think that substandard medical care, that is obvious and screams for compensation, will seem obvious to the doctor’s legal advisors and the publicly funded insurance company that pays them and protects them.

5. Expect that every aspect of your personal and medical information won’t be examined by the microscopic eye of those hired to protect doctors, nurses and hospitals. Once you place your medical issues in the public forum of a lawsuit, the gloves are off and privacy is no longer protected.

6. Think that your treating medical health professionals will keep treating you when you sue them or those they work with. Make sure that you are checked out of the hospital before the bailiff serves your ward nurse with your lawsuit papers.

7. Let your lawyer forget about the file and bring it to court when he/she has some free time. The lawyers that do these cases will keep them moving, recognizing that there will be many delays and a lot of work to do. The defense often counts on the passage of time to kill the motivation behind your case.

8. Believe that the case is about retribution and punishment to the doctor and not about the cold calculation of money compensation for your losses. The College of Physicians and Surgeons is the watch dog over the conduct and medical standard of care of doctors in Ontario. Their process is ponderous but does not cost you anything. They get there sooner or later.

If you wish to discuss a negligence claim against a medical professional in Ontario, please contact us. The consultation meeting or telephone discussion will not cost you anything. A bit of free advice – any claim you intend to pursue must commence sooner than the two year anniversary of the treatment that you received from your medical health professional. There are exceptions. Don’t rely upon them.

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