Often referred to as an "adverse event," medical malpractice is generally defined as a type of negligent action performed by a surgeon or medical caregiver, where the level of treatment provided to a patient is below what is considered an acceptable standard of practice in the medical community. Medical malpractice can often leave victims with serious, life-altering injuries that require ongoing medical care or result in death.
Have you or someone that you love become the victim of medical malpractice?
If so, you need an experienced lawyer who is prepared to fight on your behalf. At the law offices of Greg Monforton & Partners, our highly-trained Windsor medical malpractice lawyers have a proven track record of success and are ready to discuss the merits of your claim today. We have helped many injury victims throughout Windsor and the surrounding areas obtain the justice and compensation they deserve. Our main office is located within minutes from two major hospitals: Windsor Regional Hospital - Ouellette Campus and Hôtel-Dieu Grace Healthcare.
Schedule your free, no obligation consultation with us so we can review your case and determine if you have a valid medical malpractice claim. We can guide you every step of the way by conducting a thorough investigation of your case, determining the party or parties liable for your injuries, calculating the value of your damages, and communicating with the insurance company to pursue maximum compensation. Our firm works on contingency, so there are no upfront costs unless you win.
Common Types of Medical Malpractice
While Canadian health care is widely thought of as a "socialized" system - where doctors, medical institutions and all healthcare costs are controlled by the government - the system is actually quite different than most state-run programs. In fact, most practices are privately run and Canadian citizens are not assigned specific doctors by the government or by their insurance plan.
Keeping this is mind, due to the variety of injuries that most medical facilities provide treatment for, there can be many different types of medical malpractice.
Some of the most common are:
When a doctor misdiagnoses a condition or fails to diagnose the correct illness, this can be very harmful to the patient. A doctor may also incorrectly say that a patient does not have an apparent illness or diagnose a patient with a particular medical condition he or she does not have. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the most common diagnostic errors involved patients suffering from pneumonia, congestive heart failure, acute renal failure, cancer and urinary tract infection.
Hospital-acquired infections when treated quickly and appropriately may not be all that dangerous to a patient. However, when a patient acquires an infection that goes unnoticed or untreated for a long period of time, this can lead to sepsis and septic shock. Sepsis is a thief-threatening complication from a bacterial infection that can cause damage to the internal organs and even death. It may also be considered an act of medical negligence if a doctor fails to diagnose and treat a patient for Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus or MRSA, a bacterial staph infection resistant to most antibiotics.
A medication error is one of the most common types of medical negligence, which can result in serious health complications. A doctor may prescribe the wrong medication, fail to warn the patient of the medication’s associated risks, administer the wrong dosage to a patient, fail to notice a potentially harmful drug interaction or fail to give the correct medication altogether.
A surgical error in the operating room can significantly impact a patient’s quality of life. Medical negligence can occur when a surgeon fails to perform the correct procedure, performs an unnecessary surgery and removes healthy organs, leaves surgical equipment inside the body, fails to sterilize surgical instruments, administers the wrong dosage of anesthesia or fails to provide adequate care after surgery.
Incorrect Anesthetic Dosages
Even the slightest anesthesia error can have devastating consequences resulting in permanent injury, significant brain damage or death. An anesthesiologist may fail to look over a patient’s medical history for any allergies or complications that may negatively affect the surgery, fail to properly inform the patient of preoperative requirements such as fasting, fail to monitor a patient’s vital signs for any distress or irregularity, or provide too much or little anesthesia during surgery.
A delayed diagnosis can prevent a patient from receiving the treatment he or she needs. The longer a patient goes without an accurate diagnosis, the more a patient’s condition can progress or worsen. A doctor may fail to intubate a patient with a blocked airway in a timely manner to avoid brain damage or fail to run the necessary exams to diagnose the early stages of cancer in a patient. Delayed treatment can lead to additional injury or prolonged treatment and suffering that could have been avoided.
Birth injuries are among the most devastating types of medical malpractice. A birth injury can cause severe complications, including permanent injury or death for both the child and mother. A health care provider may fail to identify a birth defect or ectopic pregnancy, mishandle a delivery or delay a C-section when needed, fail to diagnose a mother’s medical condition, use improper tools for delivery, or fail to monitor for signs of fetal distress.
Psychiatric Evaluation Errors
Similar to doctors, physiatrists have a duty to perform their professional duties with a reasonable standard of care. However, medical malpractice can still happen in particular situations. A psychiatrist often deals with patients prone to suicidal tendencies that routinely require suicide assessments. When a psychiatrist fails to perform these screenings, he or she may be held liable for a patient’s suicide attempt. Psychiatrists may also fail to diagnose other mental health conditions (bipolar disorder and schizophrenia) and provide the necessary treatment, leaving a patient’s condition to worsen.
Medical malpractice can also happen to patients not under the direct supervision of a doctor. Other individuals who work at a hospital or medical facility, such as a nurse, radiologist or lab technician can fail to uphold their duties by not following sanitary procedures, contaminating or mixing up test samples, or failing to read or interpret the test results correctly. Inaccurate or false positive results can be damaging to patients. It can result in disfigurement and the need for unnecessary medical procedures.
... among many others.
It's important to note that proving medical negligence can be a difficult task, which often benefits from the assistance of an experienced lawyer. Here at Greg Monforton and Partners, we can help assemble a robust argument for your claim and will fight for a fair and just settlement.
Complete a Free Case Evaluation form today.
Who Can Be Responsible
Under Ontario law, a legal claim for medical malpractice arises when a patient is injured by medical care that is not within the accepted standards of medical practice in the same or similar communities.
While there can be many contributing factors to the causes of medical malpractice, these claims generally arise from negligence on the part of medical industry staff.
Some of these include (but are not limited to):
- Home health care personnel
- Respiratory therapists
.... and others.
Malpractice claims can also arise from negligence of managed care organizations (nursing homes, retirement homes) and their employees.
At Greg Monforton and Partners, we feel that we owe it to our clients and the medical community to have potential claims reviewed by experts who are both impartial and highly qualified. We ask the best experts from Ontario and throughout North America to tell us whether or not a tragic outcome was related to medical negligence.
Elements of a Medical Malpractice Case
To have a valid medical malpractice case, certain factors must be present in order to hold a doctor or health care provider liable for negligence. You must be able to show the following elements to prove that medical malpractice occurred in order to obtain the compensation you are entitled:
- Doctor-patient relationship – You must first prove that a doctor-patient relationship existed. The doctor must have agreed to treat and diagnose you. Once that working relationship is established, the doctor owes you a certain duty of care that fits within the acceptable medical standards. This means acting in a reasonable manner as any competent doctor with a similar background would do under the same circumstances.
- Breach of duty – The next step is to prove that the doctor failed to uphold his or her duty of care that was owed to you. In other words, the doctor did not take the necessary steps that other medical professionals with similar training and experience would have taken in a similar situation. This includes cases where a doctor failed to act when he or she should have.
- Causation – You must then prove that your doctor’s actions or inactions caused your injuries, resulted in additional injuries, or worsened your condition. This means showing that your injury was the direct result of negligence and not caused by a pre-existing condition or external issue. For instance, had the doctor not misdiagnosed the small lump in your throat as benign when it was in fact malignant, you would have been able to treat your throat cancer sooner.
- Damages – The last step is to prove that you suffered damages caused by your doctor’s negligence. Damages can include incurred and future medical costs, lost wages from missed time at work or being unable to work at all, and physical pain and suffering.
Medical malpractice cases can be difficult to prove without extensive experience and knowledge of the law. Our Windsor medical malpractice lawyers can review the circumstances behind your claim and determine if it meets the standards of medical negligence.
Contact Greg Monforton & Partners today by calling (866) 320-4770.
Filing a Medical Malpractice Claim
The statute of limitations limits the amount of time you have to file a lawsuit. It is a strict deadline that must be followed in order for you to have a chance at recovering compensation for your injury. If you miss the deadline, you will lose your opportunity to file a lawsuit.
According to the Ontario Limitations Act, most personal injury lawsuits, including medical malpractice claims, must be filed within two years from the date of the incident. If you were not immediately aware of your injury or that an act or omission caused or contributed to your injury, then you have two years from the date you discovered your injury or should have reasonably discovered it.
There are also exceptions to the general two-year time limit. For example, if you were a minor at the time of your injury caused by medical negligence, then the clock does not start running until you turn 18 years of age.
Medical malpractice claims can take a significant amount of time. Each case presents its own unique set of challenges for gathering evidence, attending hearings and meeting deadlines. This is why it is in your best interest to contact a licensed personal injury lawyer in Windsor as soon as possible after medical malpractice has occurred.
At our firm, we can evaluate when the statute of limitations started and when it ends based on your specific situation. This will help to ensure that we can help you file your claim before the deadline passes so you have the opportunity to pursue the compensation you need.
Fill out our Free Case Evaluation form now.
Medical Malpractice Damages
There are several types of damages that you may be able to recover in a medical malpractice case. Damages are designed to compensate you for your injuries and help you return to the position you were originally in prior to the incident. There are two types of damages available in Ontario - special and general damages.
Special damages are monetary awards given if you can prove specific economic losses and can be easily calculated by counting the precise amount of past, current and future expenses while recovering from your injuries. General damages on the other hand are monetary awards given for non-monetary losses and are difficult to accurately calculate as the losses are generally subjective.
Serious injuries caused by medical malpractice can require additional treatment to help repair the damage caused by negligence. If your case is successful, you may obtain compensation for your medical expenses. This could include:
- Hospital stays
- Emergency services
- Prescription drugs
- Imaging and diagnostic exams
- Cost of travel to and from doctor appointments
Aside from medical bills, another expense due to medical negligence is rehabilitation services or physical therapy. This can be especially costly if the incident left you with permanent disabilities. Compensation for rehabilitation costs could include medical equipment needed to aid in your mobility such as a wheelchair, walker or prosthetic.
Depending on the severity of your injury, you may not be able to perform your normal house duties, such as cooking, cleaning, doing laundry and getting groceries. You could be awarded compensation to hire someone to maintain your home and provide other essential services on your behalf.
Loss of Income
If you were in the hospital for several days, weeks or months, damages for loss of income are meant to compensate you for any time you had to miss at work. You may be able to obtain past and future lost wages while you are in recovery.
Loss of Earning Capacity
Similar to lost wages, loss of earning capacity can make up a large portion of your medical malpractice claim. If your income will substantially decrease because of your injuries, your loss of earning capacity could be significant. However, it is more difficult to calculate. It may require estimating how long your injuries will affect you and the type of job duties that you may no longer be able to perform.
Pain and Suffering
The most personal element you can experience is the amount of physical pain and suffering you endured after your injury. Everyone’s tolerance for pain is different, which makes this type of damage hard to quantify. You could have a significant impairment or permanent disfigurement that can prevent you from doing the things you once enjoyed.
While mental anguish and emotional distress are often categorized with pain and suffering, it is distinct in that it refers to the mental or psychological responses to the trauma you experienced after the incident. Mental aguish could include shock, terror, apprehension, humiliation, confusion and sorrow. You could also have emotional issues such as depression, anxiety and fear as well as loss of appetite.
Loss of Consortium
Loss of consortium refers to the inability to engage in the activities related to companionship with your spouse or your loved one at the same level you once enjoyed. This means you could be compensated for the suffering your spouse or loved one has experienced because you are no longer able to provide companionship, love or affection as you once did prior to the incident and your injury.
Cap on General Damages
In Ontario, there is a cap or limit on the amount of general damages you can receive such as pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life. The cap was established in 1978 and was $100,000, but it has increased due to inflation. The cap is currently set at approximately $370,000.
A medical malpractice lawyer in Windsor can carefully evaluate your case to accurately calculate all of the damages and losses you have suffered in order to increase the value of your claim. He or she can explain how you can effectively document these damages so that you obtain maximum compensation.
Our team is here for you. Call (866) 320-4770 so we can review your claim.
Our Medical Malpractice Lawyers Can Help You
Since 1981, members of our firm have worked to develop a bank of highly qualified experts who are willing to review potential medical malpractice claims and provide impartial opinions.
We pride ourselves on obtaining excellent experts and respecting their opinions. It is in no one's best interest to file a claim for medical malpractice simply because there has been an unfortunate outcome in a medical setting.
With our office located in Windsor, Ontario, we proudly provide contingency-based legal counsel to medical malpractice victims throughout the entire province, including:
.... and almost all of the towns and suburbs that surround these areas.
If you believe you or a loved one has been harmed by a medical mistake, please contact our team today at (866) 320-4770. The law in Canada limits the amount of time an injured person may file a lawsuit for medical malpractice and we can help to determine if you have grounds to file a lawsuit for compensation.
We believe that doctors should be held accountable for the additional harm they cause to their patients when they fail to uphold the standard and expected duty of care. Let us review your case and determine your legal options through a free, no obligation consultation. There are no upfront costs or fees to worry about unless we help you recover adequate compensation for your case.
Alternatively, for free answers to your questions about medical malpractice, just complete our online contact form located at the top of this page - it's 100% FREE to send.
Medical malpractice questions? Contact us today by calling (866) 320-4770.