A brief comparison of North America’s Medical Malpractice Lawsuit Proceedings

North America's Medical Malpractice

When you are injured due to a hospital’s or physician’s mistake in United States, the repercussions can be devastating and leave you forever disabled. With the way that the Canadian healthcare laws are written, the chances of a person winning a medical malpractice suit against a physician or hospital are slim. Statistics show that as many as 38,000 to 43,000 deaths are attributed to physicians’ mistakes each year. That doesn’t even include those who live, but suffer terribly.


Doctors across United States were required to carry malpractice insurance to the tune of over $656 million in 2015 alone, but statistics show that not much of that money ended up in the hands of the victims that it is meant to protect. Many insurance lawyers believe that United States’s malpractice laws are riddled with failure, and that if it is not corrected, it leaves many victims of physician error without any recourse to recover their damages.

Many patients are met with huge resistance and high-powered insurance lawyers when they file a medical malpractice suit. Over the past decade, the number of lawsuits has continued to dwindle while the government has continued to subsidize physicians at a greater rate, which simply does not make sense. A new governmental report might just blow the top off of medical malpractice and change the entire system of what happens when a doctor makes a mistake and has a malpractice claim made against them.


Unlike the United States system where every physician is required to have their own malpractice insurance coverage, the physicians in United States are covered through a not-for-profit medical protective association. This means insurance comes at very little cost to the doctors or hospitals. In addition, since United States has a socialized healthcare system, all the provinces subsidize the payments to doctors differently, according to the deals that the medical associations have.

Although it is described as a “socialized” medical care system, physicians have private medical practices just like in United States. They have their own privately-owned offices and they set their own work schedules, which differ from other systems around the globe where the doctors are  employed by the state. Also, patients are free to choose which doctor they want to see, not beholden to one that is assigned to them by the government.

There have been allegations that while the subsidies are increasing, the number of people suing has decreased. It’s primarily attributed to the aggressive nature of lawyers who represent the medical association. Many lawyers who bring cases to court insist that the insurance companies refuse to settle the case and will draw out the litigation process so long that it becomes too expensive for malpractice lawyers to continue with the case financially. That is leaving many Canadian residents injured with no recourse, even in the most obvious cases.


Advocates for victims of medical malpractice insist that doctors should have some risk when they deal with patients, that if things go wrong and they make an error, they should be held responsible and liable for the cost to their patients. Making them pay a risk premium based on their claims history might help to reduce the errors across United States and make physicians more accountable to their patients. As it stands right now, a doctor who has 30 malpractice cases against them pays the same amount as the one who has none at all.

Also, unlike in Canada, courts in the United States have limited the amount that a victim of medical malpractice can be awarded, even if they are capable of winning their case. That puts victims of severe disability at a disadvantage. Even if they can win their case, it is very difficult to get the award necessary to fully compensate for their injuries.

Attempting to curb the costs of medical malpractice payouts, the Canadian Medical Protective Association has employed practices that some believe are both aggressive and unfair. As more is paid to protect doctors from litigation, fewer people are getting the money they need to live a full life, and those who have lost loved ones are left with no recourse. A complete overhaul of the system is necessary to hold doctors more accountable for their actions and errors, and to put more money in the hands of those who are entitled to be compensated for their injuries.

Article Submitted By Community Writer

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