Medical malpractice claims are difficult to litigate in Canada. Often-cited research suggests that tens of thousands of patients are injured or killed in Canadian hospitals each year, but for a variety of reasons the vast majority are unable to access compensation. Even with the help an experienced medical malpractice lawyer, many injured Canadians must suffer without the benefit of financial aid.

According to a recent article from Canadian Lawyer magazine, accident victims in Ontario are more likely to be awarded damages than victims in other jurisdictions.

“When it comes to medical malpractice in Canada,” writes contributor Jennifer Brown, “personal injury lawyers say that, with the exception of Ontario and in some instances B.C., a conservative culture exists when it comes to courts awarding appropriate damages awards.”

This may come as a surprise to medical malpractice clients in Ontario and the injury lawyers that represent them. After all, successful medical malpractice cases are hardly abundant in Canada’s most populous province.

But the challenges elsewhere are even greater. One lawyer told Brown that in six provinces and three territories, not one single no verdict was found in favour of medical malpractice plaintiffs. The situation has gotten so bad that some personal injury law firms outside Ontario have stopped accepting medical malpractice cases.

Neinstein Personal Injury Lawyers’ own Sonia Nijjar was quoted in the Canadian Lawyer article. Of late, Neinstein has started taking medical malpractice cases outside of Ontario, including in Alberta, British Columbia, and Nova Scotia. We have found obvious differences in the way compensation is calculated and awarded in Ontario compared to the rest of the country.

For example, over the past decade in Alberta, the largest award for future care costs associated with a severe brain injury was just $1.74-million; in Ontario, the largest award was $10.9-million.

“We are of the view that there is no real principled reason for such a large discrepancy other than a difference in how damages cases are being advanced by lawyers in the different provinces, which is in turn impacting different judicial attitudes and perceptions about what is reasonable and what is not,” Nijjar told Canadian Lawyer. “Given that the Supreme Court of Canada has ruled on these issues in a way that ought to be consistently applied across the country, it gives rise to an interesting discussion.”

If you or a member of your family has suffered an injury as a result of a medical error, contact Neinstein Personal Injury Lawyers today to speak with an experienced and knowledgeable medical malpractice lawyer.


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Greg Neinstein