Do I Have A Medical Malpractice-Wrongful Death Case?

The scope of the medical malpractice problem.

Statistics differ considerably on the variety of medical errors that occur in the United States. Some studies put the number of medical errors in excess of one million each year while other studies position the number as low as a few hundred thousand. It is extensively accepted nevertheless 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 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 restricted his practice to representation of victims hurt by someone else's carelessness, medical or otherwise, I have received countless calls from prospective customers 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 legal representatives in our company are very careful exactly what medical malpractice cases in which we decide to get included. It is not unusual for a lawyer, or law firm to advance litigation expenses in excess of $100,000.00 simply to get a case to trial. These expenditures are the expenses connected with pursuing the litigation that include expert witness fees, deposition expenses, show preparation and court expenses. What follows is look at here of the issues, concerns and factors to consider that the lawyers in our firm consider when discussing with a customer a potential medical malpractice case.

Exactly What is Medical Malpractice?

Medical Malpractice is medical treatment that breaches of the "Requirement of Care" for medical physicians (or nurses, chiropractors, dental experts, podiatrists and so on.) which leads to an injury or death. "Standard of Care" indicates medical treatment that a sensible, sensible medical company in the same community need to provide. The majority of cases involve a dispute over exactly what the applicable standard of care is. The requirement of care is usually supplied through making use of specialist testimony from speaking with physicians that practice or teach medicine in the very 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 offender treated the plaintiff (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 limitations will not even begin to run up until the small ends up being 18 years of ages. Be advised nevertheless acquired claims for parents might run many years previously. If you think you may have a case it is essential you contact an attorney quickly. Irrespective of the statute of constraints, medical professionals relocate, witnesses vanish and memories fade. The earlier counsel is engaged the faster essential proof can be preserved and the better your opportunities are of dominating.

What did the medical professional do or cannot do?

Simply due to the fact that a patient does not have a successful arise from a surgery, medical procedure or medical treatment does not in and of itself indicate the medical professional slipped up. Medical practice is by no suggests a guarantee of good health or a complete recovery. The majority of the time when a patient experiences a not successful result from medical treatment it is not since the medical supplier slipped up. Most of the time when there is a bad medical outcome it is in spite of excellent, quality treatment not because of sub-standard healthcare.

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When going over a potential case with a client it is very important that the client be able to tell us why they believe there was medical negligence. As of us understand people frequently pass away from cancer, heart problem or organ failure even with excellent treatment. However, we also understand that individuals usually must not die from knee surgery, appendix removal, hernia repair work or some other "minor" surgery. When something very unanticipated like that occurs it certainly is worth checking out whether there was a medical error. If in doubt most medical malpractice attorneys will discuss your case with you informally on the telephone. Most attorneys do not charge for a preliminary consultation in negligence 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 should also prove that as a direct result of the medical carelessness some injury or death resulted (damages). This is called "proximate cause." Given that medical malpractice lawsuits is so expensive to pursue the injuries need to be considerable to warrant moving on with the case. All medical mistakes are "malpractice" however just a small portion of mistakes generate 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 doctor doesn't do x-rays regardless of an obvious bend in the kid's forearm and informs the father his kid has "simply a sprain" this most likely is medical malpractice. However, if the child is properly diagnosed within a couple of days and makes a complete recovery it is unlikely the "damages" are severe enough to undertake a suit that likely would cost in excess of $50,000.00. Nevertheless, if because of the delay in being appropriately detected, the boy needs to have his arm re-broken and the growth plate is irreparably harmed due to the delay then the damages likely would warrant additional investigation and a possible lawsuit.

Other crucial factors to consider.

Other problems that are important when identifying whether a customer has a malpractice case include the victim's behavior and medical history. Did the victim do anything to cause or contribute to the bad medical result? A common technique of medical malpractice defense lawyer is to blame the patient. If it is a birth injury case, did the mother have correct prenatal care, did she smoke or use drugs throughout her pregnancy? In other cases, did the patient follow the medical professional's orders, keep his consultations, take his medication as instructed and inform the doctor the truth? These are truths that we need to understand in order to determine whether the doctor will have a legitimate defense to the malpractice suit?

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

If it appears that the client may have been a victim of a medical mistake, the medical mistake caused a substantial injury or death and the client was certified with his physician's orders, then we have to get the client's medical records. Most of the times, obtaining the medical records includes absolutely nothing more mailing a release signed by the customer to the doctor and/or medical facility together with 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 and then the administrator can sign the release requesting the records.

As soon as the records are received we review them to make sure they are complete. It is not uncommon in medical carelessness cases to get incomplete medical charts. When all the appropriate records are gotten they are provided to a certified medical specialist for evaluation and opinion. If the case protests an emergency room doctor we have an emergency room doctor evaluate the case, if it's against a cardiologist we have to get an opinion from a cardiologist, and so on

. Mostly, what we would like to know form the specialist is 1) was the medical care supplied listed below the requirement of care, 2) did the violation of the standard of care lead to the patients injury or death? If the medical professionals opinion is favorable on both counts a suit will be prepared on the customer's behalf and usually filed in the court of typical pleas in the county where the malpractice was committed or in the county where the offender lives. In some limited situations jurisdiction for the malpractice claim could be federal court or some other court.


In sum, a great malpractice lawyer will carefully and completely evaluate any prospective malpractice case before filing a claim. It's unfair to the victim or the physicians to file a suit unless the specialist 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 lose on a "pointless suit."

When talking to a malpractice lawyer it is necessary to accurately offer the attorney as much detail as possible and address the attorney's questions as totally as possible. Prior to speaking to an attorney think about making some notes so you always remember some important truth or situation the lawyer might require.

Last but not least, if you think you may 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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