Medical Malpractice in Canada

Medical Malpractice in Canada

Medical Malpractice is a term familiar to many of us, but many do not know how it works, who pays for the mistakes doctors may make, or how it affects taxpayers in Canada. We all realize that doctors have important, often stressful roles in society, and that their duty of care expectation is higher than most professionals. Doctors are human, and all humans make mistakes on the job, but what happens when doctors make mistakes?

Professional Liability Insurance: The Difference Between Errors & Omissions And Medical Malpractice

Professional liability insurance is usually referred to in one of two ways; errors & omissions or medical malpractice. Errors & omissions is a form of professional liability that would pay claims in the event a professional were to cause a financial loss to a third party, and was sued. If an accountant were to make a mistake and was sued by his/her client for a financial loss, perhaps a tax error, this would usually be covered under an errors & omissions policy. While there may be a financial loss caused to a patient through medical malpractice, the botched cosmetic surgery of an aspiring actor, for example, the main purpose of medical malpractice insurance is to provide coverage for negligence causing bodily injury or death by medical professionals on their patients.

The Canadian Medical Protective Association

Headquartered in Ottawa, the Canadian Medical Protective Association (CMPA) provides legal defence, liability protection, and risk management education for physicians in Canada, as well as providing compensation to patients and their families proven to have been harmed by negligent healthcare. It refers to itself as a not-for-profit defence organization, and the CMPA is a type of insurance company, as it provides professional liability protection for Canadian doctors. The College of Physician and Surgeons of Ontario (CPSO) mandates medical liability protection as a condition of licensing doctors.

Medical Malpractice

When a doctor is brought before the Canadian justice system, the doctor’s legal defense is funded by the CMPA. The CMPA may defend a doctor sued in civil court for medical negligence causing injury, and may also defend a doctor charged in criminal court for offences ranging from financial fraud (such as over-billing), to malpractice, sexual accusations, and felony crimes. Some people may be surprised to learn that doctors do not pay a deductible on claims, premiums or membership fees do not increase after one or multiple claims, there are no limits on the coverage, and taxpayers pay for most of the doctor’s premiums. At last tally, the CMPA has over $2.5 billion in reserves to pay future claims.

According to the book After the Error: Speaking Out About Patient Safety to Save Lives, microbiologist Susan McIver and retired nurse Robin Wyndham collected data from 2005 – 2010 in regards to lawsuits against doctors and in that time: 4,524 lawsuits were filed, 521 cases went to trial, and 116 led to a favourable judgement for the patient (2.5%).

How To Get Medical Malpractice Insurance

KTX Insurance Brokers can provide insurance coverage for most health professionals, including radiologists, dieticians, medical clinics, counselling services and medical laboratories. Please contact our office for a medical malpractice insurance quote, or for any medical-related offices whose professionals already have medical malpractice coverage, but need insurance for office contents, lab equipment and general liability.


James Mior

James Mior

COMMERCIAL LINES MANAGER - James has managed the Commercial Lines department at KTX Insurance Brokers since February 2014, including Commercial Property/Liability, Commercial Auto/Fleet, and Commercial Customer Service. James obtained his RIBO licence in 2002, and has spent his entire career in Commercial Lines. Along with managing the commercial team, he also writes new business with standard Canadian insurers, as well as managing agents and Lloyd’s of London. He developed and still manages a successful I.T. insurance program, and has successfully placed coverage for thousands of clients in retail, general contracting, real estate, professional services, and errors & omissions for consultants. Unlike traditional brick-and-mortar brokerages, James leverages the technology of Kanetix to provide instant online insurance quotes for many business owners.

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