Do I Have A Medical Malpractice-Wrongful Death Case?

The scope of the medical malpractice issue.

Data differ dramatically on the variety of medical errors that occur in the United States. Some studies put the variety of medical mistakes in excess of one million each year while other research studies put the number as low as a few hundred thousand. It is widely accepted however that iatrogenic illness (disease or injury caused by a medical error or medical treatment) is the 3rd 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 an attorney who has actually restricted his practice to representation of victims hurt by someone else's carelessness, medical or otherwise, I have actually gotten countless calls from prospective clients over the last 20 years asking me if they have a medical malpractice case. Given that medical malpractice lawsuits is very expensive and very lengthy the lawyers in our company are extremely cautious what medical malpractice cases in which we opt to get included. is not unusual for a lawyer, or law firm to advance litigation expenses in excess of $100,000.00 simply to obtain a case to trial. These costs are the costs associated with pursuing the litigation that include professional witness charges, deposition expenses, exhibit preparation and court expenses. What follows is of the concerns, concerns and factors to consider that the attorneys in our company consider when going over 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 experts, podiatrists etc.) which results in an injury or death. "Standard of Care" means medical treatment that a sensible, sensible medical supplier in the same neighborhood should supply. Most cases include a disagreement over exactly what the appropriate standard of care is. The requirement of care is typically supplied through the use of specialist statement from speaking with doctors that practice or teach medicine in the exact same specialized as the defendant( 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 accused treated the plaintiff (victim) or the date the plaintiff discovered or fairly must have discovered the malpractice. Some states have a 2 year statute of restrictions. In Ohio if the victim is a minor the statute of constraints will not even begin to run till the minor becomes 18 years of ages. Be encouraged nevertheless derivative claims for parents may run many years earlier. If you believe you may have a case it is important you contact a legal representative soon. Regardless of the statute of constraints, physicians relocate, witnesses disappear and memories fade. The faster counsel is engaged the earlier important evidence can be protected and the better your opportunities are of prevailing.

What did the doctor do or fail to do?

Just since a client does not have a successful result from a surgical treatment, medical procedure or medical treatment does not in and of itself suggest the doctor made a mistake. Medical practice is by no implies a guarantee of health or a total healing. The majority of the time when a client experiences an unsuccessful result from medical treatment it is not since the medical service provider slipped up. The majority of the time when there is a bad medical outcome it is in spite of excellent, quality treatment not because of sub-standard medical care.

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When discussing a possible case with a customer it is important that the customer have the ability to inform us why they think there was medical neglect. As all of us know individuals frequently pass away from cancer, heart problem or organ failure even with good treatment. However, we likewise understand that people usually need to not die from knee surgery, appendix removal, hernia repair work or some other "minor" surgical treatment. When something really unforeseen like that happens it certainly is worth exploring whether there was a medical error. If in will discuss your case with you informally on the telephone. Many attorneys do not charge for a preliminary assessment in neglect cases.

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

In any neglect case not just is the burden of proof on the complainant to show the medical malpractice the plaintiff must also show that as a direct outcome of the medical negligence some injury or death resulted (damages). This is called "near cause." Given that medical malpractice lawsuits is so expensive to pursue the injuries should be significant to call for moving on with the case. All medical errors are "malpractice" however just a little portion of mistakes trigger medical malpractice cases.

By way of example, if a parent takes his son to the emergency room after a skateboard accident and the ER doctor does not do x-rays in spite of an apparent bend in the kid's forearm and tells the father his kid has "simply a sprain" this likely is medical malpractice. However, if the kid is properly diagnosed within a couple of days and makes a complete recovery it is unlikely the "damages" are serious adequate to carry out a suit that likely would cost in excess of $50,000.00. Nevertheless, if because of the delay in being properly detected, the young boy has to have his arm re-broken and the development plate is irreparably damaged due to the delay then the damages likely would warrant more examination and a possible lawsuit.

Other essential considerations.

Other concerns that are essential when identifying whether a customer has a malpractice case include the victim's habits and medical history. Did the victim do anything to trigger or add to the bad medical result? A typical method of medical malpractice defense lawyer is to blame the patient. If it is a birth trauma case, did the mommy have appropriate prenatal care, did she smoke or use drugs throughout her pregnancy? In other cases, did the client follow the physician's orders, keep his appointments, take his medication as advised and tell the physician the reality? These are facts that we need to know in order to identify whether the physician will have a valid defense to the malpractice suit?

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

If it appears that the client might have been a victim of a medical error, the medical error caused a considerable injury or death and the client was certified with his physician's orders, then we need to get the client's medical records. For the most parts, acquiring the medical records involves absolutely nothing more mailing a release signed by the customer to the doctor and/or healthcare facility in addition to a letter asking for the records. When it comes to wrongful death, an executor of the victims estate needs to be appointed in the local county court of probate and then the administrator can sign the release requesting the records.

As soon as the records are gotten we evaluate 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 appropriate records are obtained they are offered to a competent medical specialist for evaluation and opinion. If the case protests an emergency room medical professional we have an emergency clinic doctor evaluate the case, if it protests a cardiologist we have to obtain a viewpoint from a cardiologist, etc

. Primarily, what we would like to know form the professional is 1) was the treatment offered listed below the requirement of care, 2) did the infraction of the standard of care result in the clients injury or death? If the medical professionals opinion agrees with on both counts a lawsuit will be prepared on the client's behalf and generally submitted in the court of typical pleas in the county where the malpractice was devoted or in the county where the offender lives. In some restricted circumstances jurisdiction for the malpractice lawsuit could be federal court or some other court.


In sum, a great malpractice lawyer will thoroughly and thoroughly evaluate any possible malpractice case prior to submitting a claim. It's unfair to the victim or the medical professionals to submit a suit unless the professional informs us that he believes there is a strong basis to bring the lawsuit. Due to the expenditure of pursuing a medical negligence action no good attorney has the time or resources to squander on a "pointless suit."

When consulting with a malpractice lawyer it's important to precisely offer the attorney as much information as possible and address the lawyer's questions as completely as possible. Prior to talking to a lawyer consider making some notes so you remember some essential reality or situation the attorney might need.

Finally, if you believe you may have a malpractice case contact an excellent malpractice attorney as soon as possible so there are no statute of limitations issues in your case.

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