Medical Malpractice – Things to Know Before You File a Lawsuit
Medical malpractice refers to professional negligence by a health care professional, such as doctors, dentists, chiropractors, optometrists, nurses, and so forth. These cases occur when the health care professional causes an injury or death to a patient through a negligent act or a substandard level of care.
Some common examples can include: failure to make a timely diagnosis, medication errors, surgical mishaps, birth injuries, wrongful death, or more.
If you believe a doctor, nurse, hospital, or anyone in the health care field has provided substandard care and in doing so has caused you harm, you may wish to consult with a lawyer who is experienced in taking on medical negligence cases.There are several things to consider if you want your medical malpractice case to succeed.
First, you must prove that the medical professional owed you a duty of care. This is usually established by showing you were a patient and relied on the care and advice of the health professional. Next, you must prove that the medical professional failed to meet that duty. In negligence cases, this is often done by examining the “reasonable” standard of care or customary practices expected in the medical profession. And lastly, you must prove that you suffered an injury or loss, due to the defendant’s negligent conduct.
Now if you are all set, here are the next action steps that your lawyer is likely to take:
- As a first step, obtain all of the relevant medical records. Patients or their lawyers have the right to request medical records at any time, including information that may have been marked confidential. The doctor or hospital is required to do this in a reasonable time and may not refuse access even if a claim has been filed against them.
- Your lawyer is likely to do a search to find out whether the health professional has a previous record of medical negligence claims. Settlements in previous cases are usually confidential. But if the doctor or nurse was found negligent by a Court, there would be a public record of the case. The lawyer is also likely to search whether the health professional has a history of disciplinary action before his/her regulatory college such as the College ofPhysicians and Surgeons of Ontario, The Ontario College of Nurses, etc.
3.) Collect evidence to build a strong medical negligence case. To prove your case, there must be evidence that the health care professional breached the standard of care and that the breach caused harm to the patient.In order to prove the case, an independent health professional (doctor, nurse, etc.) must provide an opinion, in writing, that the defendant’s medical care fell below standard.
The best way to find out if you have a case is to speak with a reliable medical malpractice lawyer who has the experience and knowledge in taking these cases to court.
If you wish to discuss a negligence claim against a health care professional in Ontario, get in touch with us.At Mackesy Smye, we have the experience and the legal expertise to help you every step of the way.