Do I Have A Medical Malpractice-Wrongful Death Case?

The scope of the medical malpractice problem. vary dramatically on the variety of medical errors that take place in the United States. Some research studies place the number of medical mistakes in excess of one million each year while other studies place the number as low as a few hundred thousand. It is widely accepted nevertheless that iatrogenic disease (illness or injury triggered 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 actually limited his practice to representation of victims injured by somebody else's negligence, medical or otherwise, I have gotten thousands of calls from prospective clients over the last Twenty Years asking me if they have a medical malpractice case. Since medical malpractice lawsuits is really expensive and extremely protracted the attorneys in our firm are extremely mindful exactly what medical malpractice cases in which we decide to get included. It is not uncommon for an attorney, or law practice to advance litigation expenditures in excess of $100,000.00 just to get a case to trial. These expenditures are the costs related to pursuing the lawsuits which include expert witness fees, deposition expenses, exhibit preparation and court expenses. What follows is an outline of the concerns, concerns and factors to consider that the lawyers in our firm consider when going over with a customer a prospective 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 etc.) which results in an injury or death. "Standard of Care" indicates medical treatment that a sensible, prudent medical service provider in the exact same neighborhood need to supply. The majority of cases include a conflict over what the appropriate standard of care is. The standard of care is typically offered through the use of expert testimony from seeking advice from medical professionals that practice or teach medicine in the very same specialized as the defendant( s).

When did the malpractice happen (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 dealt with the complainant (victim) or the date the complainant discovered or fairly must have discovered 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 start to run until the small becomes 18 years old. Be advised however derivative claims for moms and dads might run many years previously. If you think you may have a case it is very important you get in touch with an attorney soon. Irrespective of the statute of limitations, doctors move, witnesses vanish and memories fade. The sooner counsel is engaged the faster important evidence can be maintained and the much better your possibilities are of prevailing.

What did the physician do or cannot do?

Merely since a client does not have a successful arise from a surgical treatment, medical procedure or medical treatment does not in and of itself indicate the medical professional made a mistake. Medical practice is by no means an assurance of health or a total healing. Most of the time when a patient experiences a not successful arise from medical treatment it is not because the medical company slipped up. tanker truck crash of the time when there is a bad medical result it is despite great, quality treatment not because of sub-standard medical care.

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When talking about a prospective case with a client it is important that the client be able to inform us why they believe there was medical carelessness. As we all understand people often pass away from cancer, cardiovascular disease or organ failure even with good healthcare. Nevertheless, we also understand that people generally should not pass away from knee surgery, appendix elimination, hernia repair or some other "small" surgery. When something extremely unanticipated like that occurs it certainly is worth exploring whether there was a medical error. If in doubt most medical malpractice attorneys will discuss your case with you informally on the telephone. Many legal representatives do not charge for a preliminary assessment in neglect cases.

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

In any neglect case not just is the burden of proof on the complainant to show the medical malpractice the plaintiff must likewise show that as a direct outcome of the medical neglect some injury or death resulted (damages). This is called "near cause." Since medical malpractice litigation is so pricey to pursue the injuries need to be substantial to require progressing with the case. All medical mistakes are "malpractice" however just a small portion 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 mishap and the ER doctor doesn't do x-rays despite an apparent bend in the child's forearm and informs the dad his child has "simply a sprain" this likely is medical malpractice. But, if the kid is correctly detected within a few days and makes a total healing it is unlikely the "damages" are serious enough to undertake a suit that likely would cost in excess of $50,000.00. However, if because of the delay in being correctly identified, the boy needs to have his arm re-broken and the growth plate is irreparably damaged due to the hold-up then the damages likely would necessitate further investigation and a possible claim.

Other important considerations.

Other concerns that are necessary when figuring out whether a client 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 tactic of medical malpractice defense lawyer is to blame the client. If it is a birth injury 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 physician's orders, keep his visits, take his medication as advised and tell the medical professional the fact? These are truths that we need to understand in order to determine whether the medical professional will have a valid defense to the malpractice suit?

What happens if it looks like there is a case?

If it appears that the client may have been a victim of a medical error, the medical error caused a significant injury or death and the patient was certified with his medical professional's orders, then we need to get the patient's medical records. Most of the times, obtaining the medical records involves nothing more mailing a release signed by the client to the physician and/or hospital in addition to a letter asking for the records. In the case of wrongful death, an administrator of the victims estate needs to be selected in the regional county court of probate and then the administrator can sign the release asking for the records.

When the records are gotten we examine them to make sure they are complete. It is not unusual in medical negligence cases to get insufficient medical charts. As soon as all the pertinent records are obtained they are provided to a certified medical specialist for evaluation and viewpoint. If the case is against an emergency room medical professional we have an emergency room doctor review the case, if it's against a cardiologist we have to get a viewpoint from a cardiologist, etc

. Primarily, what we would like to know form the expert is 1) was the medical care provided listed below the standard of care, 2) did the violation of the requirement of care result in the clients injury or death? If the medical professionals viewpoint is favorable on both counts a suit will be prepared on the customer's behalf and normally filed in the court of typical pleas in the county where the malpractice was committed or in the county where the defendant lives. In some limited circumstances jurisdiction for the malpractice suit could be federal court or some other court.


In sum, a great malpractice lawyer will thoroughly and completely examine any prospective malpractice case before filing a claim. It's unfair to the victim or the medical professionals to file a claim unless the professional tells us that he thinks there is a strong basis to bring the suit. Due to the cost of pursuing a medical negligence action no good lawyer has the time or resources to waste on a "unimportant lawsuit."

When seeking advice from a malpractice lawyer it is necessary to accurately give the lawyer as much information as possible and respond to the attorney's questions as entirely as possible. Prior to talking to a lawyer consider making some notes so you remember some crucial reality or situation the attorney may require.

Lastly, if you think you might have a malpractice case get in touch with a good malpractice legal representative as soon as possible so there are no statute of restrictions problems in your case.

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