Legal Action After a Medical Mistake

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When doctors don't carry out their duties and make medical mistakes that cause harm, who can take legal action?

People Who Can Take Legal Action

If the Patient Survives

Patients can take legal action because they are the immediate victims of the medical mistake.

People who suffer direct damage because of the mistake, whether or not they are related to the patient, can also take legal action against the doctor.

If the Patient Dies

If the patient dies, heirs of the patientwho have accepted their inheritances can take legal action in the name of the deceased patient.   

In addition, anyone who suffers direct damage can take legal action to get compensation for the harm resulting from the loss of a loved one.

Types of Damage

People taking legal action can ask for compensation ONLY for personal damage that is a direct result of the fault. For example, the damage could be a loss of salary or extra expenses incurred. They can also get compensation for the pain and suffering the mistake causes.

If the patient dies, loved ones can claim funeral expenses. If the person who died was supporting family members, these family members can also ask for an amount equal to the loss of future financial support resulting from the patient's death. 

The heirs can claim compensation, on behalf of the deceased patient, for the patient's suffering between the time the doctor made the mistake and the patient's death.   

Time Limit for Taking Legal Action

The time limit for taking this type of legal action is usually three years after the medical mistake. 

However, if the damage appears gradually, the three-year period starts when the damage began to show up for the first time.


Important !
This article explains in a general way the law that applies in Quebec. This article is not a legal opinion or legal advice. To find out the specific rules for your situation, consult a lawyer or notary.