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Legal liability


When harm from healthcare delivery occurs

Professional civil liability in Québec


Woman holding scales of justice with map of Québec in background Most medical-legal actions in Québec are based on a claim of civil liability. In Québec, the plaintiff must prove the 3 basic elements of civil liability for a claim to be successful:
  1. Fault. This concept is at the heart of civil liability. Every person has a duty to abide by certain rules or standards of conduct, and if a person does not, they have committed a fault. The plaintiff must demonstrate the physician committed a fault, that is, did not act as a reasonably prudent physician of similar training and experience would have under the circumstances.
  2. Damages. The plaintiff must have suffered a prejudice (bodily, moral, or material) as a result of the fault committed.
  3. Causation. The plaintiff must establish the physician's fault caused the damages.

Patients who have suffered harm may seek compensation. Under Québec law, in order to receive compensation a patient (plaintiff) must prove the 3 elements noted above. The defendant may be one or more individuals — physicians, nurses, and others — or institutions, such as clinics and hospitals. Residents and (rarely) medical students can be, and have been, sued.