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Medical Malpractice – Preparing to win your case

In Toronto, we entrust our doctors to provide a reasonable level of care. This means that we expect our doctors to be up-to-date on the latest technologies and education on a wide variety of health related topics.

Unfortunately, there is no absolute standard – resulting in sub-standard care in some cases. Many times, a patient may not even be aware that they are being provided with a lower level of care, and in some cases crossing the line into negligence.

Eighty percent (80%) of medical malpractice cases fall into these major categories:

  • Birth and Pregnancy – labor, delivery, and/or cesarean related injuries.
  • Surgery – mistakes related to surgical procedures.
  • Misdiagnosis – failure to recognize and diagnose conditions in time.
  • Meciation – including over-medication, adverse drug reactions, or incorrect medication.

To win a medical malpractice lawsuit case, a plaintiff or claimant must prove any of the following:

  1. A reasonable standard of care was provided. In Toronto, doctors have a duty to conduct practices that a prudent and diligent doctor would provide in similar circumstances . A claimant must prove that their health care provider – including doctors, nurses, or other health care provider failed to provide care and treatment that meets a reasonable standard of care.
  2. Health care standards violation: Obvious omissions and misdiagnosis can be proved from the testimony of other healthcare providers who have all the information related to the patient.
  3. An injury resulting from health care. In some cases, “the cure is worse than the disease” – this can result from improper care, misdiagnosis, or improper use of equipment.
  4. Damages have been sustained due to improper care. In a case where substandard treatment has been provided, plaintiffs must also show that there has been a loss of earnings or wages, there will be future medical costs, emotional distress, lower quality of life, or perhaps some other damages related to finances.

Medical malpractice lawsuits can be lengthy and expensive, but if improper or substandard care has been provided to a patient, the long term implications can be very costly – emotionally and financially. In some cases, a medical malpractice lawsuit may be a patient’s only recourse, and helps to keep our hospitals, doctors, nurses and other healthcare providers accountable for the trust we instill in these important professions.

5 Tips When Choosing a Personal Injury Lawyer

When you have been injured, it is important to hire a good lawyer. Victims often have difficulty separating their emotions from the law. A good lawyer not only addresses the law, but pays attention to your state of mind so that the claims process or lawsuits can be as smooth as possible for both victims and lawyers.

When selecting a lawyer, consider the firms specialties. This may have an impact on the outcome of your case. For example, numerous lawyers in Toronto specialize in automobile accidents, but they may also have great knowledge of cases dealing with pedestrian accidents, motorcycle accidents or even public transportation accidents. Others may specialize in personal injuries and have expert staff on hand such as medical malpractice lawyers, disability lawyers, dental malpractice lawyers, or even brain and spinal cord injury attorneys.

Some items to consider before you make your selection:

  1. Make sure the lawyer is licensed to practice in Ontario – Basic, but is very important. Attorneys are licensed to practice law in a given province by the Ontario Bar Association. An attorney who is not licensed to practice in Ontario in which the lawsuit arises cannot represent you.
  2. Check the law firm’s specialty – Depending on the type of claim, check with the law firm to make sure they have a lawyer that specializes in your type of case. If you have a personal injury such as a slip and fall, you may want to ask how many cases your lawyer has dealt with in this area. You may want to look for a firm that specializes in this field.
  3. Take notice of your lawyer’s personality – Many people simply accept their lawyer’s personality – whether it is compatible with theirs or not. This is usually because the lawyer is deemed as the expert. But a claim may last a long time, sometimes spanning years. As a victim, you may want to be informed on a regular basis. Make sure there is a clear understanding from the lawyer about how often you need updates, whether or now you need follow up calls or meetings to avoid client and lawyer frustration.
  4. Does your lawyer have a good bar standing – Check with the provincial bar association to ensure that your lawyer is in good standing with no disciplinary proceedings against them.
  5. Fee agreements – BEFORE engaging the lawyer for representation, make sure you have a clear understanding of how the lawyer collects his/her fees. Lawyers have very different ways of charging clients from retainers to contingency agreements so check with your lawyer to see how he/she charges and whether their method is acceptable to you.

Think you have a personal injury claim? Here’s what to do.

Have you suffered a personal injury?

Personal injury is one of the important areas of Civil Law and encompasses parties ranging from the large corporate to insurance companies. Personal Injury can be defined as claims that are related to individual harm. These cases are generally solved on the basis of monetary compensation.

Usually personal injury claims are brought against insurance companies and to file this claim, an individual should to hire a professional personal injury lawyer. Now the major question is what to do in case of such personal injury?

Here are a few key tips to keep in mind:

1. Do not panic

The first and foremost thing that one needs to keep in mind is avoiding panic. Keeping cool is half the battle one. When one panics, many of careless mistakes are committed hence it is better to stop, think, and then act.

2. Get immediate medical attention

Since you have been injured, get medical attention fast. Go to a hospital and get checked out by a medical physician. In case major injuries like brain, neck or limbs, immediate medical care would be required. If you have been in a car crash, the injuries may necessitate intensive care. Tests may need to be carried out to identify internal injuries, if any.

3. Collect Facts

Another step in the right direction is to collect relevant facts concerning injury as this is going to have a bearing on your case. Jot down all the details relevant to the matter lest you forget some important detail later on. Take pictures if possible.

4. Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer

Every time a personal injury occurs, it does not mean that it calls for a claim and compensation. In case an injury does not hamper the ability of an individual to work, it does not call for a claim for compensation. In case of a car accident, one needs to hire a personal injury lawyer with experience handling car accident claims. After a physician diagnoses the problem, it is important to get in touch with an experienced personal injury lawyer without any further delay. The lawyers will advise you about the steps that need to be taken. The negligent party needs to be identified, due to the negligence of which one has been injured.

5. Working with Lawyers

Most personal injury lawyers work on a contingency basis, meaning that unless the case is settled and jury decides to give the injured a settlement, the lawyer does not get paid. In cases where the judgment is not in the favour of the complainant, the lawyer does not get paid. In certain circumstances though, a personal injury lawyer may charge fees irrespective of the decision of the case. In some cases there are certain costs involved in the case such as investigation, advice from medical experts, etc, it is discussed during the initial phases of case consultations.

6. Hire Carefully

Last but not least, before hiring a lawyer, check his or her credentials and years of experience before assigning your case to him or her.

Never let go of personal injury lightly. You may be eligible for a sizable compensation for the injuries incurred. Follow the above tips carefully before deciding to hire a lawyer.