Do I Have A Medical Malpractice-Wrongful Death Case?

The scope of the medical malpractice problem.

Data vary drastically on the number of medical mistakes that happen in the United States. Some research studies place the variety of medical errors in excess of one million annually while other research studies put the number as low as a couple of hundred thousand. It is widely accepted however that iatrogenic disease (disease or injury caused by a medical mistake or medical treatment) is the third leading cause of death in the United States after cardiovascular disease and cancer. See, The JOURNAL of the AMERICAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION (JAMA) Vol 284, No 4, July 26th 2000.

As an attorney who has actually limited his practice to representation of victims hurt by someone else's neglect, medical or otherwise, I have actually received thousands of calls from prospective clients over the last 20 years asking me if they have a medical malpractice case. Because medical malpractice litigation is really expensive and very drawn-out the attorneys in our company are really careful exactly what medical malpractice cases where we opt to get included. It is not at all unusual for a lawyer, or law office to advance litigation costs in excess of $100,000.00 just to obtain a case to trial. are the expenses related to pursuing the litigation that include skilled witness costs, deposition expenses, show preparation and court costs. What follows is a summary of the problems, questions and factors to consider that the attorneys in our firm think about when going over with a customer a prospective medical malpractice case.

Exactly What is Medical Malpractice?

Medical Malpractice is medical treatment that breaches of the "Requirement of Care" for medical doctors (or nurses, chiropractic doctors, dentists, podiatric doctors etc.) which results in an injury or death. "Standard of Care" implies medical treatment that an affordable, prudent medical supplier in the very same neighborhood ought to offer. Most cases involve a disagreement over what the appropriate requirement of care is. The requirement of care is usually provided through making use of expert statement from seeking advice from doctors that practice or teach medicine in the exact same specialty as the accused( s).

When did the malpractice occur (Statute of Limitations)?

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In Ohio the medical malpractice statute of constraints is one year from the date of the malpractice, or the last date the offender dealt with the complainant (victim) or the date the plaintiff discovered or reasonably should have found the malpractice. Some states have a 2 year statute of constraints. In Ohio if the victim is a minor the statute of limitations will not even start to run until the small becomes 18 years of ages. Be encouraged nevertheless derivative claims for parents may run several years previously. If you think you might have a case it is important you contact an attorney quickly. Irrespective of the statute of restrictions, medical professionals transfer, witnesses vanish and memories fade. The sooner counsel is engaged the faster essential evidence can be maintained and the much better your chances are of dominating.

What did the doctor do or fail to do?

Just since a patient does not have a successful arise from a surgery, medical treatment or medical treatment does not in and of itself mean the physician slipped up. Medical practice is by no suggests a guarantee of good health or a complete recovery. Most of the time when a patient experiences an unsuccessful result from medical treatment it is not due to the fact that the medical provider made a mistake. The majority of the time when there is a bad medical outcome it is despite excellent, quality treatment not because of sub-standard healthcare.

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When going over a potential case with a client it is essential that the customer be able to tell us why they think there was medical carelessness. As we all understand people typically pass away from cancer, heart disease or organ failure even with great treatment. However, we likewise know that people normally need to not die from knee surgery, appendix elimination, hernia repair or some other "small" surgical treatment. When something extremely unanticipated like that happens it definitely is worth exploring whether there was a medical mistake. If in doubt most medical malpractice legal representatives will discuss your case with you informally on the telephone. Many lawyers do not charge for a preliminary consultation in neglect cases.

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

In any negligence case not just is the burden of proof on the plaintiff to show the medical malpractice the plaintiff must also prove that as a direct outcome of the medical neglect some injury or death resulted (damages). This is called "near cause." Since medical malpractice lawsuits is so costly to pursue the injuries should be substantial to require progressing with the case. All medical mistakes are "malpractice" however just a small percentage of errors give rise to medical malpractice cases.

By way of example, if a parent takes his child to the emergency clinic after a skateboard mishap and the ER physician does not do x-rays despite an obvious bend in the child's lower arm and tells the daddy his son has "just a sprain" this likely is medical malpractice. But, if is correctly identified within a few days and makes a complete healing it is not likely the "damages" are severe sufficient to undertake a claim that likely would cost in excess of $50,000.00. Nevertheless, if because of the delay in being effectively diagnosed, the young boy needs to have his arm re-broken and the growth plate is irreparably harmed due to the delay then the damages likely would warrant more examination and a possible suit.

Other essential factors to consider. that are very important when figuring out whether a client has a malpractice case consist of the victim's behavior and case history. Did the victim do anything to trigger or contribute to the bad medical result? A common tactic of medical malpractice defense lawyer is to blame the client. 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 appointments, take his medication as instructed and inform the medical professional the fact? These are truths that we need to know in order to identify whether the doctor will have a valid defense to the malpractice claim?

Exactly what occurs if appears 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 significant injury or death and the patient was compliant with his doctor's orders, then we need to get the client's medical records. Most of the times, getting the medical records includes absolutely nothing more mailing a release signed by the customer to the medical professional and/or hospital in addition to a letter asking for the records. In the case of wrongful death, an administrator of the victims estate has to be appointed in the local county court of probate and then the executor can sign the release asking for the records.

When the records are received we evaluate them to make sure they are complete. It is not unusual in medical carelessness cases to get insufficient medical charts. When all the pertinent records are gotten they are supplied to a certified medical specialist for review and viewpoint. If the case is against an emergency room doctor we have an emergency clinic physician examine the case, if it's against a cardiologist we have to obtain a viewpoint from a cardiologist, etc

. Mainly, what we wish to know form the specialist is 1) was the medical care provided below the requirement of care, 2) did the violation of the standard of care result in the clients injury or death? If the physicians opinion is favorable on both counts a suit will be prepared on the customer's behalf and normally filed in the court of common pleas in the county where the malpractice was committed or in the county where the accused lives. In some minimal situations jurisdiction for the malpractice lawsuit could be federal court or some other court.


In sum, a great malpractice lawyer will carefully and thoroughly examine any prospective malpractice case prior to submitting a suit. It's not fair to the victim or the medical professionals to submit a lawsuit unless the professional informs us that he thinks there is a strong basis to bring the suit. Due to the expenditure of pursuing a medical negligence action no good lawyer has the time or resources to waste on a "unimportant suit."

When seeking advice from a malpractice attorney it is very important to properly offer the lawyer as much information as possible and respond to the lawyer's questions as totally as possible. Prior to talking with a legal representative consider making some notes so you do not forget some crucial reality or circumstance the lawyer may need.

Lastly, if you think you may have a malpractice case contact an excellent malpractice lawyer as soon as possible so there are no statute of constraints problems in your case.

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