Do I Have A Medical Malpractice-Wrongful Death Case?

The scope of the medical malpractice problem.

Stats vary significantly on the number of medical mistakes that take place in the United States. Some studies put the variety of medical mistakes in excess of one million yearly while other research studies position the number as low as a few hundred thousand. It is widely accepted however that iatrogenic illness (illness or injury caused by a medical error or medical treatment) is the 3rd leading cause of death in the United States after heart problem 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 another person's carelessness, medical or otherwise, I have actually received countless calls from prospective customers over the last Twenty Years asking me if they have a medical malpractice case. Because medical malpractice litigation is really expensive and really protracted the lawyers in our company are very careful what medical malpractice cases in which we decide to get involved. It is not uncommon for a lawyer, or law office to advance lawsuits expenses in excess of $100,000.00 simply to obtain a case to trial. These expenses are the expenses associated with pursuing the lawsuits which include expert witness costs, deposition costs, exhibit preparation and court expenses. What follows is a summary of the issues, questions and factors to consider that the lawyers in our firm think about when talking about with a client 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 practitioners, podiatric doctors and so on.) which leads to an injury or death. "Requirement of Care" suggests medical treatment that a sensible, prudent medical company in the very same community must supply. The majority of cases involve a disagreement over exactly what the relevant standard of care is. The requirement of care is generally supplied through making use of specialist testimony from seeking advice from medical professionals that practice or teach medication in the same specialized as the accused( s).

When did the malpractice occur (Statute of Limitations)?

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In Ohio the medical malpractice statute of limitations is one year from the date of the malpractice, or the last date the offender dealt with the plaintiff (victim) or the date the complainant discovered or fairly ought to have found the malpractice. Some states have a 2 year statute of constraints. In Ohio if the victim is a minor the statute of constraints will not even start to run until the minor becomes 18 years of ages. Be advised however derivative claims for parents might run several years earlier. If you think you may have a case it is important you call a legal representative quickly. Irrespective of the statute of constraints, doctors move, witnesses disappear and memories fade. The earlier counsel is engaged the earlier essential evidence can be preserved and the much better your chances are of dominating.

What did the physician do or cannot do?

Just since a client does not have a successful arise from a surgery, medical procedure or medical treatment does not in and of itself suggest the medical professional slipped up. Medical practice is by no implies a guarantee of good health or a complete recovery. The majority of the time when a client experiences a not successful arise from medical treatment it is not since the medical service provider made a mistake. Most of the time when there is a bad medical outcome it is regardless of great, quality treatment not because of sub-standard medical care.

12 million Americans misdiagnosed each year - CBS News

12 million Americans misdiagnosed each year - CBS News Each year in the U.S., approximately 12 million adults who seek outpatient medical care are misdiagnosed, according to a new study published in the journal BMJ Quality & Safety. This figure amounts to 1 out of 20 adult patients, and researchers say in half of those cases, the misdiagnosis has the potential to result in severe harm.

When going over a prospective case with a customer it is essential that the customer be able to inform us why they believe there was medical negligence. As all of us know individuals frequently die from cancer, cardiovascular disease or organ failure even with excellent healthcare. Nevertheless, we also know that people usually must not pass away from knee surgical treatment, appendix elimination, hernia repair work or some other "minor" surgical treatment. When something really unforeseen like that happens it definitely deserves exploring whether there was a medical mistake. If in doubt most medical malpractice lawyers will discuss your case with you informally on the telephone. Many legal representatives do not charge for an initial consultation in carelessness cases.

So what if there was a medical error (near cause)?

In any negligence case not only is the burden of proof on the complainant to show the medical malpractice the complainant need to likewise prove that as a direct result of the medical negligence some injury or death resulted (damages). This is called "near cause." Since medical malpractice lawsuits is so pricey to pursue the injuries should be substantial to necessitate progressing with the case. All medical mistakes are "malpractice" nevertheless just a small percentage of mistakes give rise to medical malpractice cases.

By way of example, if a parent takes his child to the emergency clinic after a skateboard accident and the ER physician doesn't do x-rays despite an obvious bend in the child's lower arm and tells the daddy his kid has "simply a sprain" this most likely is medical malpractice. However, if the kid is properly diagnosed within a few days and makes a total recovery it is not likely the "damages" are severe adequate to undertake a lawsuit that likely would cost in excess of $50,000.00. Nevertheless, if because of the delay in being properly detected, the boy has to have his arm re-broken and the development plate is irreparably damaged due to the hold-up then the damages likely would warrant additional investigation and a possible lawsuit.

Other crucial considerations.

Other issues that are important when identifying whether a customer has a malpractice case include the victim's behavior and case history. Did the victim do anything to cause or contribute to the bad medical result? A typical strategy of medical malpractice defense lawyer is to blame the patient. If it is a birth injury case, did the mother have proper prenatal care, did she smoke or utilize drugs during her pregnancy? In other cases, did the client follow the medical professional's orders, keep his visits, take his medication as instructed and inform the physician the truth? are facts that we need to know in order to determine whether the physician will have a legitimate defense to the malpractice lawsuit?

What occurs if looks like there is a case?

If it appears that the client might have been a victim of a medical mistake, the medical error caused a considerable injury or death and the patient was compliant with his doctor's orders, then we need to get the client's medical records. In many cases, getting the medical records involves nothing more mailing a release signed by the client to the physician and/or health center along with a letter asking for the records. When it comes to wrongful death, an administrator of the victims estate has to be appointed in the local county probate court and then the executor can sign the release requesting the records.

Once the records are gotten we evaluate them to make sure they are total. It is not uncommon in medical negligence cases to get incomplete medical charts. When all the pertinent records are acquired they are supplied to a certified medical expert for review and viewpoint. If the case protests an emergency room doctor we have an emergency clinic medical professional examine the case, if it protests a cardiologist we have to obtain a viewpoint from a cardiologist, etc

. Mainly, exactly what we need to know form the expert is 1) was the healthcare offered below the standard of care, 2) did the violation of the requirement of care result in the patients injury or death? If the medical professionals opinion is favorable on both counts a lawsuit will be prepared on the client's behalf and generally submitted in the court of common pleas in the county where the malpractice was committed or in the county where the offender lives. In some limited circumstances jurisdiction for the malpractice claim could be federal court or some other court.


In sum, an excellent malpractice lawyer will carefully and completely evaluate any prospective malpractice case prior to filing a claim. It's not fair to the victim or the physicians to file a lawsuit unless the professional tells us that he believes there is a strong basis to bring the suit. Due to the cost of pursuing a medical neglect action no good lawyer has the time or resources to lose on a "unimportant suit."

When talking to a malpractice attorney it's important to properly give the legal representative as much detail as possible and respond to the legal representative's concerns as entirely as possible. Prior to speaking with a lawyer consider making some notes so you do not forget some crucial truth or scenario the lawyer might need. but not least, if you believe you might have a malpractice case get in touch with a great malpractice attorney as soon as possible so there are no statute of limitations issues in your case.

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