Do I Have A Medical Malpractice-Wrongful Death Case?

The scope of the medical malpractice problem.

Stats differ drastically on the variety of medical mistakes that happen in the United States. put the number of medical errors in excess of one million each year while other studies put the number as low as a couple of hundred thousand. It is commonly accepted nevertheless that iatrogenic illness (illness or injury brought on 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 restricted his practice to representation of victims injured by another person's carelessness, 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. Considering that medical malpractice litigation is really pricey and really lengthy the attorneys in our company are extremely cautious what medical malpractice cases in which we choose to get included. is not uncommon for an attorney, or law practice to advance litigation expenditures in excess of $100,000.00 simply to get a case to trial. These costs are the costs related to pursuing the litigation that include skilled witness costs, deposition costs, show preparation and court costs. What follows is a summary of the issues, concerns and factors to consider that the attorneys in our firm consider when going over with a customer a potential medical malpractice case.

Exactly What is Medical Malpractice?

Medical Malpractice is medical treatment that breaches of the "Standard of Care" for medical doctors (or nurses, chiropractic doctors, dental experts, podiatrists etc.) which leads to an injury or death. "Requirement of Care" suggests medical treatment that a reasonable, prudent medical supplier in the exact same neighborhood ought to offer. A lot of cases involve a disagreement over exactly what the applicable standard of care is. The standard of care is typically provided through the use of professional testimony from speaking with medical professionals that practice or teach medicine in the exact same specialty as the accused( s).

When did the malpractice take place (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 defendant dealt with the plaintiff (victim) or the date the plaintiff discovered or reasonably must have found the malpractice. Some states have a two year statute of constraints. In Ohio if the victim is a minor the statute of restrictions will not even begin to run until the small ends up being 18 years old. Be encouraged however acquired claims for moms and dads might run several years earlier. If you think you may have a case it is very important you call a lawyer soon. Regardless of the statute of restrictions, medical professionals move, witnesses disappear and memories fade. The quicker counsel is engaged the sooner crucial evidence can be preserved and the much better your opportunities are of dominating.

Exactly what did the medical professional do or fail to do?

Merely since a patient does not have an effective arise from a surgical treatment, medical procedure or medical treatment does not in and of itself suggest the physician made a mistake. Medical practice is by no indicates an assurance of health or a complete recovery. The majority of the time when a patient experiences an unsuccessful result from medical treatment it is not because the medical supplier slipped up. The majority of the time when there is a bad medical result it is in spite of great, quality treatment not because of sub-standard healthcare.

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When going over a prospective case with a customer it is important that the client be able to tell us why they think there was medical neglect. As we all understand people typically pass away from cancer, heart problem or organ failure even with great medical care. However, we also know that people normally should not pass away from knee surgery, appendix elimination, hernia repair or some other "small" surgical treatment. When something very unexpected like that occurs it certainly is worth checking out 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 attorneys do not charge for a preliminary consultation in neglect cases.

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

In any negligence case not just is the burden of proof on the plaintiff to show the medical malpractice the plaintiff must likewise show that as a direct outcome of the medical negligence some injury or death resulted (damages). This is called "near cause." Because medical malpractice litigation is so expensive to pursue the injuries must be substantial to require moving forward with the case. All medical mistakes are "malpractice" nevertheless only a small portion of mistakes trigger medical malpractice cases.

By way of example, if a parent takes his child to the emergency clinic after a skateboard accident and the ER medical professional does not do x-rays despite an obvious bend in the kid's forearm and tells the father his child has "simply a sprain" this most likely is medical malpractice. However, if the kid is properly detected within a few days and makes a complete recovery it is not likely the "damages" are serious sufficient to carry out a suit that likely would cost in excess of $50,000.00. Nevertheless, if because of the hold-up in being effectively diagnosed, the boy has to have his arm re-broken and the growth plate is irreparably harmed due to the hold-up then the damages likely would necessitate additional investigation and a possible claim.

Other important factors to consider. that are essential when figuring out whether a client has a malpractice case consist of the victim's behavior and medical history. Did the victim do anything to cause or add to the bad medical result? A typical tactic of medical malpractice defense attorneys is to blame the patient. If it is a birth trauma case, did the mommy have appropriate prenatal care, did she smoke or utilize drugs throughout her pregnancy? In other cases, did the patient follow the doctor's orders, keep his consultations, take his medication as advised and tell the doctor the truth? These are realities that we have to understand in order to figure out whether the medical professional will have a legitimate defense to the malpractice claim?

Exactly what happens if it appears like there is a case?

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

Once the records are received we review them to make sure they are total. It is not uncommon in medical neglect cases to get incomplete medical charts. When all the relevant records are acquired they are provided to a qualified medical expert for review and viewpoint. If the case is against an emergency room physician we have an emergency room physician review the case, if it protests a cardiologist we need to acquire a viewpoint from a cardiologist, etc

. Mainly, exactly what we need to know form the professional is 1) was the treatment offered below the standard of care, 2) did the infraction of the requirement of care result in the clients injury or death? If the medical professionals opinion agrees with on both counts a suit will be prepared on the client's behalf and generally filed in the court of typical pleas in the county where the malpractice was dedicated or in the county where the accused lives. In some restricted situations jurisdiction for the malpractice claim could be federal court or some other court.


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

When talking to a malpractice lawyer it is very important to precisely provide the lawyer as much detail as possible and answer the lawyer's questions as completely as possible. Prior to talking with consider making some notes so you remember some crucial reality or circumstance the attorney may need.

Finally, if you believe you may have a malpractice case get in touch with a great malpractice legal representative as soon as possible so there are no statute of restrictions issues in your case.

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