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What is Negligence?

Victor Lewin - Friday, October 24, 2014

As some Nova Scotia residents may know, proving negligence in a medical malpractice case can be a huge challenge due to Canada's Supreme Court rulings that established certain liability limits and restrictions on such cases. Therefore, it may be important for a plaintiff's case to understand how negligence is defined according to the law.

For a plaintiff to win a medical malpractice claim in a Canadian court, there must exist strong evidence to substantiate his or her allegations of negligence. The injured party must convince the courts that the defendant's breach of duty of care was the proximate cause of the plaintiff's injuries, the plaintiff's injuries were reasonably foreseeable, the defendant did not deliver the standard of care owed and the defendant owed the injured party a duty of care.

It is of great importance that the medical malpractice lawsuit be based on certain types of negligent conduct. Some of those types include a failure to communicate with other physicians, failures involved in both diagnosis and re-diagnosis, substandard treatment and a failure to warn or protect third parties. Moreover, a hospital may be deemed liable under the doctrines of direct liability or vicarious liability because of the actions of its medical personnel. However, the courts may not consider a breach of judgment on the part of a physician or a health care professional as an act of negligence even if the act resulted in an injury.

Whenever a Nova Scotia resident suffers a serious injury due to the negligent actions of a health care professional, a local lawyer who is knowledgeable in medical malpractice claims may be able to assist the victim to pursue compensation for his or her accident-related expenses. By thoroughly analyzing the case, the lawyer may be able to determine and identify the type of negligent action that resulted in the particular medical error the client experienced.

Source: Library of Congress, "Medical Malpractice Liability: Canada", October 20, 2014

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