Founded in 1901 by a group of Canadian physicians, the Canadian Medical Protective Association (CMPA) protects its members against allegations of negligence and malpractice. The Parliament of Canada enacted legislation to create the CMPA in 1913, and since that time it has served to mutually benefit the doctors who run it and those who are members.
The organization has grown into a vast network of Canadian medical professionals, and in 2003 there were 64,762 active members. The monies collected through annual membership fees create a reserve fund on which the CMPA operates, and because of that fund the CMPA is able to give legal assistance to any member who is the center of a malpractice or negligence claim.
Located in Ottawa, the services that the CMPA provides its members range from difficulties that arise out of legal cases, college, billing issues, hospitals, inquests or criminal charges. The CMPA also exists to advise its members on all of these issues and more.
CMPA as a Defense Organization
There is no deductible for the CMPA's members, nor does the organization issue a medical malpractice policy per se, but there is no coverage limit. In cases of medical malpractice, legal fees can climb into the hundreds of thousands but as a member of CMPA, physicians do not have to pay these fees. The organization pays any legal fees directly to the doctors lawyers, which is also the case for any damages that are awarded to a plaintiff at trial; the CMPA pays those damages, not the physician.
Because of the level of service and care the CMPA operates with, it does not settle a case simply because it is cheaper to do so than take it to court, nor does it indiscriminately accept cases to pursue unless they are advised by their lawyers that the matter is defensible. In these cases, the CMPA will pursue legal action even if it is more expensive to do so than to settle, purely because of the emphasis that it places on its reputation and the reputations of its members.
There are typically two circumstances under which the CMPA will enter into settlement negotiations with a plaintiff, which include:
- An instance in which their own experts deem the case to be indefensible
- There is an expert report from a reputable source which is critical in the physicians defense, provided by the plaintiffs counsel.
Before the CMPA begins settlement negotiations, the plaintiff must assemble a team to prove damages and liability on the part of the CMPA member, which is one reason that litigation involving the CMPA can take between two and five years to completely resolve. The CMPA does take on a great deal of risk when they agree to manage cases with such high legal fees and damages.
To learn more about the Canadian Medical Protective Association, click "here".