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Paine Edmonds LLP - Blog

Get Medical Malpractice Help Sooner Rather Than Later

By John J. Hyde, Partner at Paine Edmonds LLP, Medical Malpractice Lawyer

I frequently deal with medical malpractice or medical negligence claims against doctors and hospitals. Very often people come to me years after they have suffered negligent treatment. I don’t know why people wait so long before seeking legal advice on medical negligence claims, but a delay in seeking a legal opinion can cause serious problems for a malpractice case. In fact, if a person waits too long, it may be too late to begin an action because in B.C. the basic limitation for starting an action is two years. The limitation is the time within which you must start an action if you want to sue the doctor or hospital for an injury arising from medical negligence (also referred to as medical malpractice).

There are factors which may apply to extend that time, such as when you first discover you were negligently treated; but in B.C. at present, the absolute latest you can start a claim against a doctor or hospital for medical malpractice is six years from the date of your injury, at whatever point you found out about it and whether you knew about the negligence or not. This is a special limitation just for malpractice claims against doctors and hospitals and it can give rise to real injustice. Fortunately there is a new Limitation Act for B.C. which eliminates this preferential treatment. It will come into force within the next 12 to 18 months, but that will not help you if you are facing a limitation period before the new limitation period comes into effect.

Because medical malpractice claims are usually complex and often require extensive investigation to determine if you should sue, the sooner you seek legal advice, the better. A delay in seeking help may mean you lose the right to sue. Please call me at 604.683.1211 for a free consultation if you have a medical malpractice claim.