We receive a lot of calls about potential malpractice cases. It is not because people are sue happy. Primarily, it is because the practice of medicine is no different than many other professions.
Some doctors are excellent, some are rushed and occasionally make mistakes, some have poor bedside manners, and some are not competent for whatever reason. And sometimes, patients simply fall through the cracks due to poor communication of test results, and other mistakes.
Even if you or a loved one are the victim of a medical mistake (known as medical negligence or medical malpractice), it does not automatically mean that you have a case worth pursuing through a lawsuit.
Firstly, medical malpractice cases are extremely expensive to investigate and pursue. With very few exceptions, experts must be consulted to review records and determine if malpractice even occurred, and it can cost thousands of dollars just to determine if a preventable medical mistake occurred. It can cost tens of thousands in expert witness and other disbursements to bring a case to settlement, and more again to complete a trial. Generally, serious permanent injuries are required in order to attract the significant money damages required to justify this kind of effort and expense.
Secondly, doctors win close to 85% of all malpractice lawsuits that go to trial. This indicates that these cases are always risky.
We must consider all these realities in deciding to accept or reject any case. But that does not mean you are without rights if we decline your case. If you are not satisfied with a physician’s or hospital’s care, you should be aware that you can report what happened to the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Newfoundland and Labrador and if a hospital was involved, to the hospital authority.