Do I Have A Medical Malpractice-Wrongful Death Case?

The scope of the medical malpractice problem.

Stats differ dramatically on the number of medical errors that happen in the United States. Some research studies position the number of medical errors in excess of one million annually while other studies place the number as low as a couple of hundred thousand. It is extensively accepted however that iatrogenic illness (disease or injury caused by a medical error or medical treatment) is the third leading cause of death in the United States after heart disease and cancer. See, 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 someone 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. Considering that medical malpractice litigation is extremely costly and really lengthy the lawyers in our company are extremely cautious exactly what medical malpractice cases where we decide to get involved. It is not at all uncommon for an attorney, or law office to advance litigation expenses in excess of $100,000.00 simply to obtain a case to trial. These expenditures are the costs associated with pursuing the lawsuits that include expert witness costs, deposition costs, display preparation and court costs. What follows is of the problems, questions and considerations that the legal representatives in our company think about when talking about with a client a potential medical malpractice case.

Exactly What is Medical Malpractice?

Medical Malpractice is medical treatment that breaches of the "Standard of Care" for medical physicians (or nurses, chiropractic practitioners, dental professionals, podiatric doctors and so on.) which results in an injury or death. "Standard of Care" means medical treatment that a reasonable, sensible medical service provider in the same community ought to offer. Many cases involve a conflict over exactly what the applicable standard of care is. The requirement of care is generally provided through the use of specialist testimony from seeking advice from doctors that practice or teach medication 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 restrictions is one year from the date of the malpractice, or the last date the accused treated the complainant (victim) or the date the complainant discovered or fairly must have found the malpractice. Some states have a 2 year statute of constraints. In Ohio if the victim is a minor the statute of restrictions will not even start to run until the minor ends up being 18 years old. Be advised nevertheless derivative claims for moms and dads may run several years previously. If you believe you may have a case it is very important you call a lawyer soon. Regardless of the statute of restrictions, medical professionals relocate, witnesses disappear and memories fade. The sooner counsel is engaged the faster essential proof can be protected and the better your opportunities are of dominating.

Exactly what did the doctor do or cannot 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 mean the physician slipped up. Medical practice is by no suggests an assurance of health or a total healing. 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 great, quality treatment not because of sub-standard medical care.

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When going over a potential case with a client it is necessary that the customer have the ability to inform us why they believe there was medical negligence. As all of us know individuals often pass away from cancer, cardiovascular disease or organ failure even with good treatment. Nevertheless, we also understand that people generally should not die from knee surgery, appendix removal, hernia repair or some other "small" surgery. When unanticipated like that occurs it certainly is worth exploring whether there was a medical mistake. If in doubt most medical malpractice attorneys will discuss your case with you informally on the telephone. Most lawyers do not charge for an initial consultation in negligence cases.

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

In any neglect case not just is the burden of proof on the complainant to show the medical malpractice the plaintiff need to likewise show that as a direct result of the medical negligence some injury or death resulted (damages). This is called "proximate cause." Because medical malpractice litigation is so expensive to pursue the injuries need to be considerable to call for progressing with the case. All medical mistakes are "malpractice" nevertheless only a little portion of errors trigger medical malpractice cases.

By way of example, if a moms and dad takes his child to the emergency clinic after a skateboard mishap and the ER medical professional doesn't do x-rays in spite of an apparent bend in the kid's lower arm and tells the father his boy has "simply a sprain" this likely is medical malpractice. But, if the kid is effectively detected within a couple of days and makes a total healing it is unlikely the "damages" are extreme adequate to undertake a lawsuit that likely would cost in excess of $50,000.00. However, if because of the hold-up in being appropriately diagnosed, the young boy needs to have his arm re-broken and the growth plate is irreparably harmed due to the hold-up then the damages likely would require additional investigation and a possible suit.

Other crucial considerations.

Other problems that are important when identifying whether a customer has a malpractice case include the victim's habits and medical history. Did the victim do anything to cause or add to the bad medical outcome? A common strategy of medical malpractice defense lawyer is to blame the client. If it is a birth trauma case, did the mother have correct prenatal care, did she smoke or utilize drugs during her pregnancy? In other cases, did the client follow the doctor's orders, keep his appointments, take his medicine as advised and inform the physician the fact? These are truths that we have to know in order to figure out whether the medical professional will have a valid defense to the malpractice claim?

Exactly what takes place if it appears like there is a case?

If it appears that the client may have been a victim of a medical mistake, the medical error caused a considerable injury or death and the patient was certified with his medical professional's orders, then we need to get the client's medical records. Most of the times, getting the medical records involves absolutely nothing more mailing a release signed by the client to the medical professional and/or health center in addition to a letter requesting the records. When it comes to wrongful death, an executor of the victims estate needs to be appointed in the regional county probate court and then the administrator can sign the release requesting the records.

When the records are received we evaluate them to make sure they are complete. It is not uncommon in medical neglect cases to get incomplete medical charts. Once all the relevant records are gotten they are supplied to a certified medical expert for evaluation and viewpoint. If the case is against an emergency clinic doctor we have an emergency clinic medical professional evaluate the case, if it's against a cardiologist we have to get an opinion from a cardiologist, etc

. Mainly, what we would like to know form the specialist is 1) was the medical care supplied below the requirement of care, 2) did the offense of the requirement of care lead to the patients injury or death? If the medical professionals opinion agrees with on both counts a claim will be prepared on the customer's behalf and usually submitted in the court of common pleas in the county where the malpractice was dedicated or in the county where the defendant lives. In some minimal scenarios jurisdiction for the malpractice claim could be federal court or some other court.


In sum, a great malpractice attorney will carefully and completely examine any possible malpractice case prior to submitting a suit. It's not fair to the victim or the physicians to file a claim unless the professional tells us that he thinks there is a strong basis to bring the lawsuit. Due to the expense of pursuing a medical negligence action no good lawyer has the time or resources to lose on a "pointless suit."

When talking to a malpractice attorney it's important to properly give the lawyer as much information as possible and respond to the attorney's questions as completely as possible. Prior to speaking to a lawyer consider making some notes so you remember some important truth or scenario the attorney might require.

Last but not least, if you believe you might have a malpractice case get in touch with a great malpractice lawyer as soon as possible so there are no statute of limitations problems in your case.

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