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Medical negligence standard left unchanged

On Behalf of | Dec 16, 2021 | Medical Malpractice

New Jersey residents may have heard that the Supreme Court of Canada shocked the public by leaving the standard of care in medical negligence completely untouched. Here are some things that you should keep in mind about what’s changed and, more importantly, what hasn’t.

Case history

It’s not often that the Supreme Court of Canada sees cases related to medical negligence. The topic hasn’t been prominent since 1995 in a case that dealt with the methodology around the testing standard of care when medical negligence is involved or suspected.

On Jan. 18, 2021, the Supreme Court of Canada made its ruling in a case around how to appropriately define a surgeon’s standard of care as well as the best way for the elements of negligence to be ordered. The ruling from the Supreme Court was unanimous: An appeal was allowed, and the reasons provided by Justice van Rensburg were adopted.

Justice preaches the importance of justice over results

Under Justice van Rensburg’s reasons for dissenting at the Court of Appeal, the law of negligence still maintains its status quo. Her reasons reinforced the burden of proof, which lies squarely on the plaintiff.

The justice also put an added emphasis on the dangers of courts basing their rulings on results rather than the law, stating that causation shouldn’t be a consideration before the standard of care is. At the same time, Justice van Rensburg addressed the fact that there are times in which it’s necessary to examine an injury and look for any circumstantial evidence of malpractice or any other breach in the standard of care. One can only hope that the Supreme Court of Canada’s rulings in the future will be more supportive of the victims in these situations.

When a medical professional has impacted your life through malpractice, it’s often hard to know what your next steps should be. If you wish to bring a lawsuit against the medical professional, you must provide ample evidence of their negligence.