Why 98% Of Canadian Medical Malpractice Victims Never Receive A Penny In Compensation
A famous study by Harvard Medical School determined that over half of all injuries caused by medical management (in other words, not caused by the patient’s initial injury or disease) were preventable, and another quarter of those incidents were caused by negligence.
A report published in the May 25, 2004 edition of the Canadian Medical Association Journal entitled: “The Canadian negative Events Study: the incidence of negative events in hospital patients in Canada” confirmed the findings of similar studies in the United States, Australia, the United Kingdom, Denmark and New Zealand.
The Canadian study concluded:
o As many as 24,000 patients die each year due to “negative events” (doctors code words for a medical mistake).
o 87,500 patients admitted yearly to Canadian acute care hospitals experience an negative event.
o 1 in 13 adult patients admitted to a Canadian hospital encounter an negative event.
o 1 in 19 adults will potentially be given the wrong medication or wrong medication dosage.
o 37% of negative events are “highly” preventable.
o 24% of preventable negative events are related to medication error.
A report by the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) indicated that nearly one quarter of Canadian adults (5.2 million people) reported that they, or a member of their family, had experienced a “preventable negative event” (medical error).
Are Canadian Medical Malpractice Claims Different Than in the U. S.?
In a information; yes.
Lot’s of people have read about large jury awards for personal injury claims in the United States. Sometimes the American jury awards seem to be out of proportion to the injury.
In Canada, court awards are much lower than awards for similar injuries from courts in the United States. situations that might be successful in the U.S. are simply not economically possible to pursue in Canada.
For example, the province of Nova Scotia also has some of the most conservative (lowest) awards in Canada for compensation for personal injury claims.
Role of the C.M.P.A.:
In Canada, most doctors are defended by a single organization, the Canadian Medical Protection Association (the C.M.P.A.).
According to a recent annual report, the C.M.P.A. has two point nine (2.9) BILLION DOLLARS in assets (money in the bank). The C.M.P.A. is able to use this money to hire the best experts and lawyers money can buy.
Many victims of serious medical errors cannot work, or have huge expenses for current rehabilitation or medical care.
Against such overwhelming financial odds, Canadian victims of medical malpractice confront an almost insurmountable challenge to acquire justice and fair compensation for their injuries.
Remember the Canadian Medical Association Journal study that determined that over 87,000 patients in Canada suffer an negative event and as many as 24,000 people die each year due to medical errors? That’s more than 100,000 possible malpractice claims in Canada every year!
But between 2002 and 2006 the C.M.P.A. reports only 5246 lawsuits were filed against doctors in Canada: only about a 1000 claims per year.
In other words, out of 100,000 possible claims 99% of possible medical malpractice victims never already filed a claim!
The C.M.P.A. reports it’s success rate in defending claims brought against doctors. More than 3800 of the 5000 claims were dismissed or abandoned because the victim or his or her family quit or ran out of money, or died before trial.
Some Frightening Statistics:
o The C.M.P.A. settled only 229 claims out of court (usually after several years of litigation and just before trial).
o Of the 577 situations that went to trial only 121 resulted in a verdict for the Plaintiff victim. In other words, only twenty percent (20%) of medical malpractice plaintiffs truly won their trial.
o For the few victims who won at trial, the median damage award was only $95,500.00.
o In 2006 the C.M.P.A. spent 72 million dollars on legal fees to defend doctors across Canada.
o Of more than 5000 lawsuits filed against doctors, only two percent (2%) resulted in trial verdicts for the victim.
In other words, 98% of Canadian medical malpractice victims never receive a penny in compensation!
The odds against medical malpractice victims are almost overwhelming. If you think you or a family member has suffered an injury or loss as a consequence of medical malpractice it is basic to get proper advice. An experienced medical malpractice lawyer can tell you if you have a possible claim and can advise you what you need to prove to have the best chance of winning your case.