Statute of Limitations - Canada Medical Malpractice Compensation Claims

LEGAL HELPLINE: ☎ 855 804 7125

Medical negligence cases are usually complex, difficult and time consuming legal claims. The 'Canadian Medical Protective Association' (CMPA) which provides insurance for the majority of doctors in Canada to cover them in case of a negligence claim are prepared to spend large sums to defend small claims in attempts to protect their policyholders. Without doubt, the first thing that the CMPA will consider when instructing a lawyer to defend a compensation claim is the statute of limitation in Canada to establish whether or not the potential litigation can be nipped in the bud at an early stage.

The firms that represent the insurers are carefully selected for their skill, experience and proven ability in the defense of clinical negligence actions. Claims are never settled on a 'nuisance' basis and a claimant will be expected to prove his entitlement to damages every step of the way.

Time Limits

There is no formal, all encompassing 'Statute of Limitation' in Canada however the purpose of limitation periods is to bring finality and certainty to court action by setting a time limit on when action can be taken in the courts if the claim has not settled by consent prior to that date. A time limit is necessary due to a number of matters relating principally to the quality of the evidence available in an old claim. Memories fade, witnesses die or cannot be traced and documentation or computer records may be lost or corrupted resulting in the risk of an unfair outcome to a trial.

One of the first considerations given to any legal claim by both sides lawyers is whether or not it is still within time as after a certain period claims become stale. Once this time limit has expired the potential claimant loses the right to claim and is precluded from obtaining damages.

The time period within which the claim should either be settled or proceedings issued if the claimant is to retain the right to compensation is known as the 'limitation period' which differs dependent on the province or territory. In some regions the statute of limitations may be deferred until a child claimant reaches a certain age or a person suffering from mental or psychological problems has recovered. Qualified legal advice should always be sought as soon as possible after the event which gives rise to a potential claim

Discovery of Injury

The clinical malpractice limitation period usually begins with the date of the action that caused the injury, however, if an injury is not discovered for months or years after it occurs then the limitation period usually starts to run when the injury is discovered or when the injury should, with reasonable diligence have been discovered. The only source of accurate information is likely to be an experienced and up to date local lawyer who is familiar with the laws, recent developments and cases of that particular state.

Medical Malpractice Lawyers

Our medical malpractice lawyers can help you to exercise your legal rights to obtain the compensation you deserve. Our lawyers will deal with your case using a contingency fee arrangement which means if you don't succeed in receiving compensation then your lawyers won't get paid. If you are the innocent victim of a medical mistake then you may be able to recover compensation. For free advice without obligation just use the helpline or complete the contact form and a qualified lawyer will telephone you immediately to discuss your compensation claim without further obligation.

Medical Malpractice Law

A medical malpractice legal case is usually complex, time consuming and vigorously defended by indemnity insurers who are inevitably represented by law firms known for their skill, experience and vigilant defence of clinical negligence claims. There are a number of factors that a medical malpractice lawyer must consider before agreeing to act on behalf of a client in a medical malpractice case which include:


A medical malpractice lawsuit arises as a result of negligence by professional healthcare providers including doctors, nurses, dentists, technicians, hospitals and clinics whose behavior deviates from the standard practice of those with similar training and experience which results in harm being caused to a patient. A physician or other healthcare provider is negligent if they have fallen below the minimum standard of skill or care which their profession regards as reasonable however the prescribed standard of care may vary from one location to another.

In order to claim a compensation in a medical malpractice lawsuit it is necessary to establish the following :-

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The author of the substantive medical writing on this website is Dr. Christine Traxler MD whose biography can be read here