Do you have a case?
Before beginning proceedings for compensation, it is important to understand the elements of a personal injury or medical malpractice case. Here are some pointers to help you evaluate if you have a case.
The concept of personal injury
In Quebec, you are entitled to compensation if someone has caused you harm by committing a fault.
A person will be considered at fault and will compensate you for the damages that you have suffered if you are able to prove that he/she did not act as a normally prudent and diligent person, placed in the same conditions.
There are many examples from everyday life. The field of personal injury contains case law of several thousand decisions. Our team is experienced in these areas of law and is able to help you win.
How to identify medical liability
Although Canada has one of the best health care systems in the world, there are occasions when doctors or other medical professionals make errors that have important consequences to the quality of life of their patients. It is possible to obtain compensation for damages caused by a health professional who was at fault.
Our team of lawyers specializes in this field and has accumulated a number of years of experience. Our lawyers know the drill on this very particular type of claim. Although they have pleaded numerous cases before the courts, they have above all succeeded in negotiating many more advantageous out-of-court settlements by building compelling and convincing claims.
The field of medical liability is an exceptionally specialized field. It demands a strong mastery of very particular elements of law and medicine. An individual who seeks to take action must choose professionals who know this area of law very well.
Example of cases
- RV accident (ATV, snowmobile, etc.)
- Bicycle accident
- Motorboat and other water sports accident
- Drowning and Near-Drowning with catastrophic damages
- Slip-and-fall on ice or other dangerous surfaces
- Dog bites and injuries by other animals
- Bodily Injury and Property Damage caused by a Defective Product
- Obstetric negligence causing severe disability to the child (catastrophic birth)
- Injuries to the newborn
- Failure to diagnose or treat cancer and other serious diseases in a timely manner
- Diagnostic errors causing damage or death
- Medication errors, dosing in the medication
- Fault in the triage at the emergency
- Surgical mistakes (laser, laparoscopic, iatrogenic gesture)
- Fault in the postoperative follow-up (such as compartmental syndrome or septic shock)
- Injuries to the spine and spinal cord (cauda equina syndrome, paralysis)
- Foreign objects left behind following surgery
- Wrong surgery performed
- Failure to obtain informed consent in the case of elective surgeries and cosmetic surgeries
- Deficient and wrongful care and treatment
- Misuse of restraints
The basic elements of a case
There are certain obvious cases: the surgeon who leaves an instrument in the chest of a patient or removes the wrong organ. In reality, however, there are far more cases where an error is less obvious.
In these cases, it is necessary to have recourse to experts who can compare what a health professional has done with what the health professional should have done.
It is sometimes difficult and costly to find an expert physician to testify against a colleague. However, without this tool, it is almost impossible to win a case.
Our team is in contact with excellent experts to help you quickly determine the winning elements of your cause.
In Quebec, the courts compensate for all losses suffered by a victim connected directly to an error by a physician. This may involve awards for loss of salary, costs of treatment, medication expenses, costs of prothesis, etc.
A victim is sometimes compensated for the loss of a limb or an organ. In some circumstances, certain sums may be granted for psychological difficulties. Finally, moral damages are also often awarded for the troubles and inconveniences suffered by the victim or the victim’s family.
It should be noted, however, that Quebec is not the United States and American television broadcasts often carry reports that make mention of judgments against physicians in the millions of dollars. These judgments contain a punitive element that is not part of our law (exception made of a few rare situations). In Quebec, major injuries can, however, result in awards of hundreds of thousands of dollars, even millions of dollars.
To win a case against a health professional, it is necessary to prove not only error and damages but also causality: a link between the fault and the damages.
For example, the cardiologist who commits a fault when operating on a patient with a serious cardiac condition can only be held responsible for the aggravation of the damages.
If, after a faulty operation a patient is found to be 40% incapacitated and, without the physician’s fault, the disability would have been 25%, the professional will be held responsible for the difference, i.e. 15% of the disability.
These calculations are made by our team, accompanied by the competent experts that we retain.
Delays and costs
Lawsuits against health professionals must be well supported in order to succeed. We often require the assistance of several experts, physicians, actuaries, and others whose reports are costly. Fortunately, a good portion of these costs may be reimbursed by the defendant if the victim wins the case.
As far as attorneys’ fees are concerned, certain arrangements can be negotiated. Our services are usually billed at an hourly rate, however it is possible to negotiate an agreement based on a percentage of the amount of the judgment or settlement.
Note that the amount of the judgment bears interest throughout the period of the proceedings.
YOU ARE THE VICTIM OF A FAULT
FILING THE CLAIM
PROCEEDINGS AND EXAMINATIONS
INSCRIPTION FOR HEARING
The majority of our cases do not go to the judgment stage. Often after the filing of our proceedings and expert reports, the opposing party will want to discuss a settlement.