Do I Have A Medical Malpractice-Wrongful Death Case?

The scope of the medical malpractice issue.

Stats vary significantly on the variety of medical errors that happen in the United States. Some research studies position the variety of medical errors in excess of one million yearly while other studies put the number as low as a few hundred thousand. It is extensively accepted however that iatrogenic illness (illness or injury triggered by a medical error 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 a lawyer who has actually limited his practice to representation of victims hurt by someone else's neglect, medical or otherwise, I have received countless calls from potential clients over the last 20 years asking me if they have a medical malpractice case. Given that medical malpractice lawsuits is very costly and very protracted the legal representatives in our firm are extremely cautious what medical malpractice cases where we decide to get involved. It is not uncommon for an attorney, or law practice to advance lawsuits costs in excess of $100,000.00 just to obtain a case to trial. These costs are the costs associated with pursuing the litigation that include expert witness charges, deposition costs, exhibit preparation and court costs. What follows is a summary of the problems, questions and considerations that the legal representatives in our firm think about when discussing with a customer a potential medical malpractice case.

What is Medical Malpractice?

Medical Malpractice is medical treatment that breaches of the "Requirement of Care" for medical doctors (or nurses, chiropractic doctors, dentists, podiatrists etc.) which results in an injury or death. "Requirement of Care" implies medical treatment that a sensible, prudent medical provider in the exact same neighborhood ought to offer. A lot of cases involve a conflict over exactly what the appropriate requirement of care is. The requirement of care is usually provided through using professional testament from speaking with doctors that practice or teach medication in the exact same specialty as the accused( s).

When did the malpractice happen (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 plaintiff (victim) or the date the plaintiff 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 limitations will not even start to run till the small ends up being 18 years of ages. Be advised however acquired claims for parents might run several years previously. If you think you may have a case it is very important you get in touch with an attorney quickly. Irrespective of the statute of restrictions, physicians transfer, witnesses vanish and memories fade. The faster counsel is engaged the earlier crucial proof can be preserved and the better your possibilities are of prevailing.

What did the doctor do or fail to do?

Simply because a client does not have an effective arise from a surgical treatment, medical treatment or medical treatment does not in and of itself indicate the doctor slipped up. Medical practice is by no indicates an assurance of health or a complete healing. Most of the time when a client experiences an unsuccessful result from medical treatment it is not due to the fact that the medical provider slipped up. The majority of the time when there is a bad medical outcome it is despite good, quality healthcare not because of sub-standard medical care.

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When going over a possible case with a customer it is essential that the customer be able to tell us why they think there was medical negligence. As negligence tort examples know people often die from cancer, heart disease or organ failure even with good treatment. Nevertheless, know that individuals normally should not pass away from knee surgical treatment, appendix elimination, hernia repair or some other "small" surgical treatment. When something really unanticipated like that happens it definitely 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. A lot of legal representatives do not charge for a preliminary consultation in neglect cases.

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

In any carelessness case not only is the burden of proof on the complainant to prove the medical malpractice the plaintiff need to also prove that as a direct result of the medical carelessness some injury or death resulted (damages). This is called "near cause." Since medical malpractice lawsuits is so pricey to pursue the injuries need to be substantial to call for progressing with the case. All medical mistakes are "malpractice" however only a little portion of mistakes generate medical malpractice cases.

By way of example, if a moms and dad takes his kid to the emergency room after a skateboard accident and the ER physician does not do x-rays despite an apparent bend in the kid's lower arm and informs the papa his child has "just a sprain" this likely is medical malpractice. But, if the kid is correctly identified within a few days and makes a complete healing it is not likely the "damages" are severe adequate to undertake a suit that likely would cost in excess of $50,000.00. However, if because of the hold-up in being appropriately detected, the kid has to have his arm re-broken and the growth plate is irreparably damaged due to the delay then the damages likely would warrant more investigation and a possible suit.

Other crucial considerations.

Other concerns that are very important when identifying whether a client has a malpractice case consist of the victim's habits and medical history. Did do anything to trigger or contribute to the bad medical result? A typical technique of medical malpractice defense attorneys 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 throughout her pregnancy? In other cases, did the client follow the medical professional's orders, keep his visits, take his medication as advised and inform the medical professional the fact? are realities that we need to know in order to determine whether the doctor will have a legitimate defense to the malpractice claim?

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

If it appears that the patient may have been a victim of a medical mistake, the medical error triggered a substantial injury or death and the client was certified with his physician's orders, then we need to get the patient's medical records. In most cases, acquiring the medical records includes nothing more mailing a release signed by the client to the doctor and/or healthcare facility 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 local county probate court then the executor can sign the release requesting the records.

Once the records are received we examine them to make sure they are total. It is not uncommon in medical carelessness cases to receive incomplete medical charts. When all the relevant records are acquired they are provided to a competent medical expert for evaluation and opinion. If the case protests an emergency clinic medical professional we have an emergency clinic physician review the case, if it protests a cardiologist we need to get an opinion from a cardiologist, and so on

. Primarily, what we want to know form the specialist is 1) was the treatment provided listed below the standard of care, 2) did the offense of the requirement of care lead to 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 usually submitted in the court of common pleas in the county where the malpractice was committed or in the county where the offender lives. In some minimal scenarios jurisdiction for the malpractice suit could be federal court or some other court.


In sum, a great malpractice legal representative will carefully and thoroughly examine any possible malpractice case before submitting a lawsuit. It's not fair to the victim or the medical professionals to submit a claim unless the expert tells us that he believes there is a strong basis to bring the claim. Due to the expenditure of pursuing a medical carelessness action no good attorney has the time or resources to waste on a "unimportant lawsuit."

When talking to a malpractice attorney it is necessary to precisely offer the lawyer as much information as possible and answer the attorney's questions as entirely as possible. Prior to talking to a legal representative think about making some notes so you do not forget some important fact or scenario the attorney may need.

Finally, if you think you might have a malpractice case contact a great malpractice attorney as soon as possible so there are no statute of restrictions issues in your case.

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