Do I Have A Medical Malpractice-Wrongful Death Case?

The scope of the medical malpractice issue.

Data vary drastically on the variety of medical errors that happen in the United States. Some studies put the number of medical errors in excess of one million each year while other studies put the number as low as a couple of hundred thousand. It is extensively accepted nevertheless that iatrogenic illness (illness or injury brought on by a medical mistake or medical treatment) is the third 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.

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As an attorney who has restricted his practice to representation of victims hurt by somebody else's neglect, medical or otherwise, I have actually received countless calls from prospective clients over the last 20 years asking me if they have a medical malpractice case. Given that medical malpractice litigation is very pricey and really protracted the legal representatives in our company are extremely cautious what medical malpractice cases in which we choose to get included. It is not unusual for an attorney, or law firm to advance litigation costs in excess of $100,000.00 simply to obtain a case to trial. These expenses are the expenses connected with pursuing the lawsuits that include expert witness costs, deposition expenses, display preparation and court costs. What follows is an overview of the issues, questions and considerations that the legal representatives in our firm think about 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 physicians (or nurses, chiropractors, dentists, podiatric doctors and so on.) which leads to an injury or death. "Standard of Care" implies medical treatment that a sensible, sensible medical service provider in the same community should provide. Many cases involve a disagreement over what the applicable standard of care is. The requirement of care is usually provided through the use of professional testimony from speaking with physicians that practice or teach medication in the exact same specialized as the offender( s).

When did the malpractice occur (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 complainant (victim) or the date the complainant discovered or fairly need to have discovered the malpractice. Some states have a two year statute of limitations. In Ohio if the victim is a small the statute of restrictions will not even start to run till the minor becomes 18 years of ages. Be advised nevertheless derivative claims for moms and dads may run many years previously. If you think you might have a case it is important you contact a legal representative soon. Irrespective of the statute of constraints, doctors move, witnesses vanish and memories fade. The earlier counsel is engaged the earlier essential proof can be maintained and the much better your opportunities are of prevailing.

Exactly what did the physician do or fail to do?

Just since a client does not have an effective arise from a surgical treatment, medical treatment or medical treatment does not in and of itself suggest the physician slipped up. Medical practice is by no suggests a guarantee of health or a total recovery. The majority of the time when a patient experiences a not successful result from medical treatment it is not since the medical provider slipped up. Most of the time when there is a bad medical outcome it is in spite of good, quality medical care not because of sub-standard medical care.

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When going over a possible case with a client it is necessary that the customer be able to inform us why they think there was medical neglect. As all of us understand individuals frequently pass away from cancer, heart problem or organ failure even with good healthcare. However, we also understand that people typically need to not pass away from knee surgery, appendix elimination, hernia repair work or some other "small" surgery. When something extremely unexpected like that occurs it definitely is worth exploring whether there was a medical error. If in doubt most medical malpractice lawyers will discuss your case with you informally on the telephone. Many attorneys do not charge for an initial assessment in neglect cases.

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

In any neglect case not only is the burden of proof on the complainant to prove the medical malpractice the plaintiff must also show that as a direct outcome of the medical carelessness some injury or death resulted (damages). This is called "near cause." Since medical malpractice lawsuits is so costly to pursue the injuries should be considerable to call for progressing 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 clinic after a skateboard accident and the ER medical professional doesn't do x-rays despite an obvious bend in the kid's lower arm and tells the papa his kid has "just a sprain" this most likely is medical malpractice. But, if the kid is appropriately identified within a couple of days and makes a total recovery it is unlikely the "damages" are extreme enough to undertake a suit 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 development plate is irreparably damaged due to the delay then the damages likely would warrant additional investigation and a possible claim.

Other important factors to consider.

Other issues that are essential when determining whether a customer has a malpractice case consist of the victim's behavior and medical history. Did the victim do anything to trigger or contribute to the bad medical result? A typical tactic of medical malpractice defense lawyer is to blame the patient. If it is a birth trauma case, did the mother have proper 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 instructed and tell the doctor the truth? These are realities that we need to understand in order to identify whether the medical professional will have a valid defense to the malpractice suit?

What occurs 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 caused a significant injury or death and the client was compliant with his doctor's orders, then we need to get the patient's medical records. For the most parts, getting the medical records includes nothing more mailing a release signed by the customer to the physician and/or healthcare facility together with a letter asking for the records. When it comes to wrongful death, an administrator of the victims estate has to be selected in the local county court of probate then the executor can sign the release asking for the records.

When the records are received we evaluate 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 gotten they are supplied to a competent medical professional for evaluation and opinion. If the case is against an emergency clinic doctor we have an emergency room physician examine the case, if it protests a cardiologist we need to get an opinion from a cardiologist, and so on

. Mostly, exactly what we wish to know form the professional is 1) was the healthcare provided below the requirement of care, 2) did the violation of the standard of care result in the patients injury or death? If the medical professionals viewpoint agrees with on both counts a suit will be prepared on the client's behalf and generally filed in the court of common pleas in the county where the malpractice was devoted or in the county where the accused lives. In some limited scenarios jurisdiction for the malpractice claim could be federal court or some other court.


In sum, a great malpractice legal representative will thoroughly and completely evaluate any prospective malpractice case before submitting a claim. It's not fair to the victim or the medical professionals to submit a suit unless the specialist tells us that he believes there is a strong basis to bring the claim. to the cost of pursuing a medical carelessness action no good legal representative has the time or resources to waste on a "pointless suit."

When speaking with a malpractice lawyer it's important to properly provide the legal representative as much information as possible and respond to the attorney's questions as totally as possible. Prior to talking with a lawyer think about making some notes so you do not forget some crucial fact or circumstance the attorney might require.

Finally, if you believe you may have a malpractice case get in touch with an excellent malpractice legal representative as soon as possible so there are no statute of limitations problems in your case.

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