Compensation for Medical Malpractice Claims
It is important to know that if you decide to pursue a malpractice claim, and you are unsuccessful, you may be ordered to pay the costs of the Defendant(s) (i.e. the person(s) against whom you are filing the claim), which could be high. It is for this reason that it is essential to weigh the potential damages you can be awarded if you are successful versus the potential costs you may have to pay if you are unsuccessful with your claim.
At Cuming & Gillespie we know that if you or a loved one has suffered serious or catastrophic injuries, your life is forever changed, and you will need guidance from experienced professionals to try to get back on your feet. Our exceptional medical malpractice lawyers have more than 20 years of experience representing patients who have been injured by medical error or negligence. We can help you weigh the pros and cons of filing a claim and we do not charge you any fees unless we are successful.
Types of Compensation/Damages
When you sue someone, you can ask the court for specific types of damages, all with different purposes. While you may not be awarded all the damages you request, it is important to consider asking for as many different types of damages as are applicable to your claim. In medical malpractice claims, people typically seek the following types of damages:
Also known as non-pecuniary damages, general damages are awarded for pain, suffering, and the loss of amenities of life due to the negligence. In Canada, there is a cap on how much one can get for general damages. After inflation, the maximum general damages award is approximately $360,000.00. This differs from the United States, where extremely large amounts of money are awarded, sometimes hundreds of millions of dollars. This type of award is only awarded in cases of the most catastrophic, life-altering damages.
These are also known as out-of-pocket expenses. Such expenses must originate from the injury caused by the negligence. For example: if a fractured leg does not heal properly due to a surgeon’s negligence, and the injured party is left with restricted mobility and chronic pain, they could claim their expenses related to the pain and mobility issues (such as pain medications, a cane, physiotherapy, etc.).
Income Loss or Loss of Earning Potential
If someone has been left injured or with a disability due to the negligence of a medical professional, their earning potential may be changed permanently. Depending on the type of employment they have, they might not be able to work at all, or will have modified duties. If the person is left permanently disabled, this part of the claim could be extremely significant and necessary. They can seek any income lost to date, any expected future loss of income or loss of earning potential.
Loss of Housekeeping Capacity
An individual’s housekeeping or home maintenance capacity may be limited by an injury, and therefore injured individuals may have to incur costs for the upkeep and maintenance of their home. There is no consensus in the case law from Alberta on whether this type of damages deserves its own category or whether it is part of the general damages category. However, it is our position at Cuming & Gillespie that if you have suffered an injury that has seriously limited your abilities around your home, then compensation for that specific loss is warranted and should be sought.
Cost of Future Care
In addition to loss of income, cost of future care is often the most significant portion of the claim. The majority of the cases that we handle at Cuming & Gillespie deal with the most serious, catastrophic and permanent injuries, where an individual will need life-long medical care and support. Some of this care may be covered by the healthcare system, however, a significant portion of treatments and various support systems that will be required must be privately funded. This can result in a huge financial burden on the injured party and their family. The types of ongoing care an individual may need include:
- Medical equipment and supplies;
- Home modifications;
- Home support;
- Housekeeping assistance; and
A claim for damages must include a claim for expected costs such as these. There are other damages that can be requested in medical malpractice claims, however, they are only available in specific cases. Working with lawyer knowledgeable in this area of law is crucially important, particularly when it comes to pursuing maximum compensation. At Cuming & Gillespie, we will tell you which damages are applicable to your specific claim.
Knowing What You Can Claim
Many of the above damages are not available when a family or the estate of someone who has passed away due to a medical error or medical negligence brings a claim. There are other remedies available for the families of those have lost loved ones due to medical malpractice, under the Fatal Accidents Act of Alberta, and similar legislation in other provinces. These pieces of legislation allow the families to seek damages for:
- Loss of support;
- Funeral expenses, etc.
Cuming & Gillespie: Helping you On a Contingency Basis
At Cuming & Gillespie, we understand that determining whether a claim is worth pursuing can be stressful and daunting. Many clients are often concerned about even talking to a lawyer to figure out whether they should file a claim out of fear for having to pay huge fees up front.
We want to take this stress away. All of our cases are taken on a contingency basis, meaning we do not charge you any fees unless we are successful. We know that for a lot of people, it is not necessarily financially possible to pay a lawyer up front for their services.
When you consult with us for free, we will offer you an honest and pragmatic review of your case and will help you decide whether you should file a medical malpractice claim, taking into account your specific circumstances and the potential risks.
If we determine that your case should be pursued, we will take on all upfront costs, including the costs of reviewing your injuries, ordering and reviewing your medical charts, locating the best medical experts, and building a strong case from beginning to end.
Experienced Lawyers Will Help You Make the Right Decision
Commencing a medical malpractice claim is something that requires careful consideration, especially in determining potential costs and other financial risks. and awards. These claims are not to be taken lightly, and we strongly recommend that anyone who is thinking of moving forward with a medical malpractice claim obtain legal advice from a lawyer with ample experience in this very focused area of law. At Cuming & Gillespie, our medical malpractice lawyers have over 20 years of experience representing clients in medical malpractice claims and have deep knowledge about the nuances of filing such lawsuits. Contact us at 403-571-0555 or contact us online for realistic and honest advice regarding your claim. Your first consultation is free.