What is the deadline for filing a lawsuit in Québec

Filing a lawsuit for medical malpractice or any bodily injury must be done within three (3) years from the day the injury occurred, or three (3) years from the day the injury becomes evident. It is extremely important to understand that this is a strict legal deadline.  

Example: we successfully sued a doctor who left a sponge in a woman’s abdomen but she only found out about it when a doctor ordered an X-ray for back pain five (5) years after the surgery.

How long will the process take?

A case that goes to trial may take 3 years to come to full completion. However, most of our cases settle out of court within a reasonable delay. 

From the moment we take on your case, it will be pursued vigorously to obtain the best outcome for your needs.

What does filing a lawsuit entail?

Filing a lawsuit is a multi-stage process:

Investigatory stage: First, all relevant medical records must be comprehensively and meticulously reviewed. We then consult the appropriate medical specialists and sub-specialists from the vast team of experts we have assembled over the years to determine whether or not the facts of your case constitute negligence in law.

Litigation stage: If we decide to file a lawsuit you will become the plaintiff in the lawsuit. As your legal representative, we will file into court a written complaint outlining the facts and allegations of fault, to which there will be a reply from the defendant. Shortly thereafter, the parties to the lawsuit will be questioned by the opposing attorneys in the presence of a stenographer.

Trial stage: In the event that the case goes to trial, the judge decides factual as well as legal questions, and makes the final judgment.

From the outset, an important part of the litigation process is building the proof to support a winning case. This includes finding the best experts to provide written reports in support of the fault and description of damages. 

While we are prepared to proceed to trial, our firm is successful in settling the vast majority of our cases out of court.

What do I need to do if I intend to file a lawsuit?

If you are thinking of filing a lawsuit, it is vital that you collect and keep photos, emails, text messages, copies of bills for medical expenses, such as equipment, medication, nursing care, days of work missed and any other information that you think may be relevant to proving your case. 

It is very important that once we decide to work together, you keep us up to date on the progress of your treatment and any changes. Your claim is dependent upon your personal situation and therefore may need to be amended in accordance with new developments. 

Annette Lefebvre Avocats considers our clients an important part of the team and your input and questions are always valued.

How do I access my medical records

In general, medical records are confidential and only accessible to the patient. 

To access a medical record, you must provide a written request signed by the person requesting access, to the archives department of the hospital or clinic.

How do I access the medical record of my relative who is deceased?

Heirs (inheritors) are at times permitted to access the medical records of their deceased relative. 

The process is more complicated and the heirs must provide the following proof to the health care institution:

  1. A reason why they need access to the patient’s medical records to exercise their rights as heirs.  
  2. The last will and testament of the patient.
  3. A will search with both the Barreau du Québec and the Chambre des notaires du Québec.
  4. Death Certificate.
I have been in a Motor Vehicle Accident. Can I still file a lawsuit?

Quebec’s public automobile insurance plan (SAAQ) is a no-fault regime. All injuries including death resulting from an automobile accident, regardless of who is at fault, fall under the jurisdiction of the SAAQ which means that you cannot file a civil lawsuit. 

If you have been in a vehicle accident and believe that your injury is not the result of the car accident, you may be able to file a lawsuit.