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A Calgary Personal Injury Lawyer Explains Medical Malpractice: Part 2

Posted in: Blog // Written on behalf of Cuming & Gillespie
September 19, 2017

The second half of a Calgary personal injury lawyer’s information regarding medical malpractice cases.

In Part 1 of this article we looked at one of the basic elements that exists for any medical malpractice case—and indeed, any personal injury case: negligence. A malpractice case is only viable if it can be demonstrated that a medical professional and/or medical facility/organization acted in a way that violates established guidelines and standards and disregards patient safety. In other words, there has to be negligence for a malpractice case to proceed. A simple mistake isn’t enough.

This doesn’t mean that every instance of negligence is necessarily grounds for a medical malpractice case, however. Even if the negligence is extreme and obvious, this is only one of the elements necessary in order for a medical malpractice case to proceed through the Calgary courts. After establishing negligence there are two more important questions your personal injury lawyer must determine the answers to.

Did the Negligence in Your Malpractice Situation Cause You Harm?

Even in a case of extreme recklessness—if a surgeon operated without sterilizing any tools or equipment, for example—if there are no negative consequences then under Calgary law there are no grounds for a malpractice case. Now, in such an extreme (and imaginary) example, the surgeon and their team should certainly be disciplined, and the hospital would be thanking its lucky stars that there was no infection or other harm caused by the flagrant disregard for proper surgical procedure, but if the patient suffers no harm then the patient isn’t entitled to any compensation.

Financial compensation, in medical malpractice and all personal injury cases, is meant to “make you whole.” It is meant to pay you back for additional expenses you incurred, earnings you’ve lost, and to make up for any pain and suffering you’ve experienced. If you haven’t suffered any of these consequences, no judge would award you anything and no reputable and experienced personal injury lawyer, in coordination with their medical experts, would advise you that you have a reasonable case.

So remember: Alberta’s medical malpractice laws and the settlements they lead to are not intended on “punishing” medical professionals and institutions, but are focussed on compensating the victim only with what has been lost. There are other mechanisms within the medical profession and the legal system that serve punitive and preventive purposes; your medical malpractice suit is about making you whole, not getting vindication or scoring a “pay day” just because someone made a mistake.

Get Answers to ALL of Your Medical Malpractice Questions by Calling a Calgary Lawyer

Want to know the final question your personal injury lawyer will need to answer before they can tell you if you have a viable medical malpractice case? You’ll have to stay tuned for Part 3 of this article. In the meantime, for answers to all of your questions regarding your unique medical malpractice situation, you can always reach out to the experienced lawyers at Cuming & Gillespie. Contact us today for a free initial consultation, and get the help you deserve!

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