Should I Let My Family Lawyer Handle My Medical Malpractice Claim?

by John McKiggan

Many people know a lawyer who handles the routine legal matters that most families have to deal with from time to time; buying and selling a house, preparing a will, dealing with speeding tickets, maybe even routine personal injury claims.

So when you or a family member has been injured by a doctor or a hospital your family lawyer is probably the first person you think of to turn to for advice.

But is your family lawyer the right person for the job? Maybe, maybe not. Medical malpractice is a very specialized area of the law.

What to Look For

While it is not necessary for a medical malpractice lawyer to have a medical degree, it is helpful for your medical malpractice lawyer to have a familiarity with various medical specialties and knowledge of human anatomy.

You want your medical lawyer to be familiar with the defence lawyers that are going to be involved in defending your malpractice claim. You also want your lawyer to have experience in handling complicated medical malpractice cases.

Ask your family lawyer if he or she handles medical malpractice cases on a regular basis. Dealing with personal injury cases, or car accident claims does not necessarily provide the kind of experience you will require in order to successfully prosecute a medical malpractice claim.

Frequently I am contacted by medical malpractice victims or their family members who want to settle out of court. Sometimes the lawyers file medical malpractice claims in the hopes that the doctor’s lawyers will settle quickly in order to avoid the time and expense of a trial. That type of strategy will fail miserably in a medical malpractice case. Why? Simply because most doctors in Canada are defended by the Canadian Medical Protective Association (CMPA). The CMPA is a non-profit defence fund whose sole purpose is to “vigorously defend” any and all malpractice claims brought against doctors in Canada.

Medical malpractice claims rarely settle and when they do it is usually just shortly before trial and after the plaintiff has spent tens of thousands of dollars for experts.

Just remember, your family lawyer may be a great lawyer but you should think long and hard about whether or not you want to him or her to handle your medical malpractice case. Ask a lot of questions so you can make an informed decision.

If you or a loved one have suffered injuries that you think may be due to medical malpractice you can contact me through this blog or by calling toll free in Atlantic Canada 1-888-647-7201 for a free copy of my book: The Consumer’s Guide to Medical Malpractice Claims in Canada: Why 98% of Canadian Medical Malpractice Victims Never Receive a Penny in Compensation.

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