No-fault medical malpractice insurance? Quebec doctors like the idea
The Quebec College of Physicians is calling for no-fault insurance for patients, claiming it would guarantee compensation to victims of malpractice.
The system the College is proposing is similar to the no-fault automobile insurance offered through the province's vehicle insurance agency, the SAAQ.
Instead of patients being required to sue their doctors after a medical accident, they would instead submit a claim to the insurance board. They would then automatically receive compensation based on their level of injury.
It's a proposal that patients' rights advocates and malpractice attorneys agree with in principle – but say there are still questions, including who would be responsible to pay out and how much compensation victims could be eligible for.
Lawyer Jean-Pierre Menard said there are many variables to consider for what should be included in the coverage.
"The future loss, the moral damage – there are a lot of things where there is a balance that has to be done and we have to wonder who is going to pay for that," he said.
Any no-fault system, however, would be better than the process victims of malpractice need to go through now, said patients' rights advocate Paul Brunet.
The legal system is stacked against the average person who cannot afford to pay lawyers and experts, he said.
"In Quebec, it's even more ironic because through our taxes, we pay the insurance premium for doctors. So they have the best lawyers, paid by us and then we wonder why we don't have the means to sue them," he said.
Brunet said the vast majority of malpractice lawsuits are either dismissed or settled out of court.
In 2018, 900 lawsuits were filed. Of them, only 61 made it to trial and of those, only eight were won by the patients.
Premier Francois Legault said the government would take a look at no-fault insurance as a solution, but at this stage, the answer is neither yes nor no.
Health Minister Danielle McCann added that the government's priority is to prevent accidents from happening in the first place.