Do I Have A Medical Malpractice-Wrongful Death Case?

The scope of the medical malpractice problem.

Statistics vary dramatically on the number of medical mistakes that happen in the United States. Some research studies position the number of medical mistakes in excess of one million each year while other studies place the number as low as a couple of hundred thousand. It is extensively accepted nevertheless that iatrogenic illness (disease or injury triggered by a medical error or medical treatment) is the third leading cause of death in the United States after heart disease and cancer. See, The JOURNAL of the AMERICAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION (JAMA) Vol 284, No 4, July 26th 2000.

As a lawyer who has limited his practice to representation of victims injured by somebody else's negligence, medical or otherwise, I have gotten thousands of calls from potential clients over the last Twenty Years asking me if they have a medical malpractice case. Considering that medical malpractice litigation is really costly and very lengthy the attorneys in our company are very careful what medical malpractice cases where we choose to get involved. It is not at all uncommon for an attorney, or law office to advance lawsuits expenditures in excess of $100,000.00 simply to obtain a case to trial. These costs are the expenses associated with pursuing the litigation which include professional witness costs, deposition expenses, display preparation and court costs. What follows is an outline of the problems, questions and factors to consider that the attorneys in our firm think about when talking about with a customer a potential medical malpractice case.

What is Medical Malpractice?

Medical Malpractice is medical treatment that breaches of the "Standard of Care" for medical doctors (or nurses, chiropractic practitioners, dental professionals, podiatric doctors etc.) which leads to an injury or death. "Requirement of Care" implies medical treatment that an affordable, prudent medical supplier in the same neighborhood ought to provide. A lot of cases involve a disagreement over exactly what the relevant requirement of care is. The standard of care is usually supplied through using professional statement from consulting physicians that practice or teach medicine in the exact same specialty as the defendant( s).

When did the malpractice occur (Statute of Limitations)?

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In Ohio the medical malpractice statute of restrictions is one year from the date of the malpractice, or the last date the accused dealt with the plaintiff (victim) or the date the complainant discovered or reasonably should have discovered the malpractice. Some states have a two year statute of restrictions. In Ohio if the victim is a small the statute of limitations will not even start to run till the minor ends up being 18 years old. Be advised however derivative claims for parents may run several years previously. If you think you may have a case it is essential you call an attorney soon. Irrespective of the statute of limitations, physicians move, witnesses disappear and memories fade. The faster counsel is engaged the faster crucial evidence can be preserved and the better your opportunities are of prevailing.

What did the medical professional do or fail to do?

Simply due to the fact that a patient does not have a successful arise from a surgical treatment, medical treatment or medical treatment does not in and of itself mean the doctor made a mistake. Medical practice is by no implies an assurance of good health or a complete healing. The majority of the time when a patient experiences a not successful result from medical treatment it is not since the medical supplier made a mistake. Most of the time when there is a bad medical result it is in spite of great, quality healthcare not because of sub-standard healthcare.

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When talking about a possible case with a client it is necessary that the client be able to inform us why they believe there was medical neglect. As all of us understand people typically pass away from cancer, cardiovascular disease or organ failure even with great medical care. However, we likewise understand that people normally need to not pass away from knee surgical treatment, appendix elimination, hernia repair or some other "minor" surgery. When something very unexpected like that occurs it definitely deserves checking out whether there was a medical error. If in doubt most medical malpractice legal representatives will discuss your case with you informally on the telephone. Many attorneys do not charge for an initial consultation in neglect cases.

So what if there was a medical mistake (proximate cause)?

In any negligence case not only is the burden of proof on the plaintiff to prove the medical malpractice the plaintiff should likewise prove that as a direct outcome of the medical neglect some injury or death resulted (damages). This is called "near cause." Considering that medical malpractice litigation is so pricey to pursue the injuries need to be significant to necessitate moving forward with the case. All medical mistakes are "malpractice" however just a little portion of mistakes trigger medical malpractice cases.

By way of example, if a moms and dad takes his kid to the emergency room after a skateboard accident and the ER physician doesn't do x-rays in spite of an obvious bend in the child's forearm and tells the papa his child has "simply a sprain" this most likely is medical malpractice. But, if the child is properly identified within a couple of days and makes a complete healing it is unlikely the "damages" are extreme enough to carry out a claim that likely would cost in excess of $50,000.00. Nevertheless, if because of the delay in being effectively identified, the kid has to have his arm re-broken and the growth plate is irreparably damaged due to the delay then the damages likely would necessitate further examination and a possible suit.

Other crucial factors to consider.

Other problems that are important when figuring out whether a customer has a malpractice case include the victim's habits and case history. Did the victim do anything to cause or add to the bad medical outcome? A typical tactic of medical malpractice defense attorneys is to blame the patient. If it is a birth injury case, did the mom have appropriate prenatal care, did she smoke or use drugs throughout her pregnancy? In other cases, did the client follow the medical professional's orders, keep his visits, take his medicine as advised and tell the medical professional the reality? These are truths that we need to understand in order to identify whether the physician will have a legitimate defense to the malpractice lawsuit?

Exactly what occurs if it looks like there is a case?

If it appears that the client might have been a victim of a medical error, the medical mistake caused a significant injury or death and the patient was compliant with his doctor's orders, then we need to get the client's medical records. of the times, getting the medical records includes absolutely nothing more mailing a release signed by the customer to the physician and/or medical facility together with a letter asking for the records. When it comes to wrongful death, an administrator of the victims estate needs to be selected in the local county probate court then the executor can sign the release requesting the records.

As soon as the records are received we examine them to make sure they are total. It is not unusual in medical negligence cases to get insufficient medical charts. As soon as all the relevant records are gotten they are supplied to a certified medical professional for review and opinion. If the case protests an emergency room doctor we have an emergency clinic doctor evaluate the case, if it protests a cardiologist we have to get an opinion from a cardiologist, etc

. Mostly, exactly what we need to know form the expert is 1) was the healthcare supplied listed below the requirement of care, 2) did the offense of the requirement of care result in the clients injury or death? If the doctors opinion is favorable on both counts a lawsuit will be prepared on the customer's behalf and generally filed in the court of common pleas in the county where the malpractice was committed or in the county where the offender lives. In some minimal scenarios jurisdiction for the malpractice claim could be federal court or some other court.


In sum, an excellent malpractice attorney will thoroughly and completely examine any possible malpractice case before submitting a claim. It's unfair to the victim or the medical professionals to submit a suit unless the expert informs us that he believes there is a strong basis to bring the claim. Due to the cost of pursuing a medical neglect action no good legal representative has the time or resources to lose on a "pointless suit."

When talking to a malpractice attorney it is very important to accurately offer the lawyer as much information as possible and respond to the attorney's concerns as completely as possible. Prior to talking to a legal representative think about making some notes so you do not forget some essential truth or scenario the lawyer might require.

Lastly, if think you may have a malpractice case call a great malpractice attorney as soon as possible so there are no statute of constraints problems in your case.

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