Do I Have A Medical Malpractice-Wrongful Death Case?

The scope of the medical malpractice issue.

Statistics vary drastically on the number of medical errors that occur in the United States. Some studies position the variety of medical mistakes in excess of one million every year while other studies place the number as low as a couple of hundred thousand. It is extensively accepted however that iatrogenic disease (disease or injury brought on by a medical error or medical treatment) is the 3rd 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.

As a lawyer who has restricted his practice to representation of victims hurt by somebody else's carelessness, medical or otherwise, I have received thousands of calls from prospective clients over the last Twenty Years asking me if they have a medical malpractice case. Considering is really costly and really lengthy the lawyers in our company are extremely mindful exactly what medical malpractice cases where we opt to get involved. It is not at all unusual for an attorney, or law practice to advance litigation expenses in excess of $100,000.00 just to obtain a case to trial. These expenditures are the expenses related to pursuing the lawsuits which include professional witness costs, deposition costs, display preparation and court expenses. What follows is an overview of the problems, questions and considerations that the legal representatives in our firm consider when discussing 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, chiropractic doctors, dentists, podiatric doctors etc.) which results in an injury or death. "Standard of Care" means medical treatment that an affordable, prudent medical supplier in the very same community must provide. Many cases involve a disagreement over what the appropriate requirement of care is. The requirement of care is usually offered through using expert statement from consulting doctors that practice or teach medication in the same specialized 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 plaintiff (victim) or the date the plaintiff discovered or reasonably ought to 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 till the minor becomes 18 years old. Be encouraged however derivative claims for moms and dads might run several years earlier. If you believe you might have a case it is very important you call a legal representative soon. Regardless of the statute of constraints, physicians transfer, witnesses vanish and memories fade. The earlier counsel is engaged the sooner crucial proof can be maintained and the better your opportunities are of dominating.

What did the medical professional do or cannot 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 implies a warranty of good health or a complete recovery. The majority of the time when a patient experiences an unsuccessful result from medical treatment it is not due to the fact that the medical supplier slipped up. Most of the time when there is a bad medical result it is regardless of great, quality healthcare not because of sub-standard healthcare.

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When should I hire a personal injury attorney is a question many people ask. After you have been injured in an accident, such as car crash, bike or motorcycle wreck, slip and fall, or any other type or mishap, you may wonder if or when you should consider hiring a personal injury attorney. Your decision should be informed by the answers to several questions. After you have thought through each of them, you’ll have a better idea about whether or not you should retain counsel. When Should I Hire A Personal Injury Attorney? - The National Law Review

When going over a potential case with a customer it is essential that the customer be able to tell us why they think there was medical negligence. As all of us know people frequently pass away from cancer, heart disease or organ failure even with great medical care. Nevertheless, we also know that individuals generally should not die from knee surgical treatment, appendix removal, hernia repair work or some other "minor" surgical treatment. When something really unanticipated like that happens it definitely deserves 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. Most attorneys do not charge for a preliminary consultation in carelessness cases.

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

In any carelessness case not only is the burden of proof on the plaintiff to prove the medical malpractice the plaintiff should likewise show that as a direct result of the medical negligence some injury or death resulted (damages). This is called "near cause." Given that medical malpractice lawsuits is so expensive to pursue the injuries should be substantial to necessitate moving on with the case. All medical mistakes are "malpractice" however only a little percentage of mistakes give rise to medical malpractice cases.

By way of example, if a moms and dad takes his son to the emergency room after a skateboard accident and the ER medical professional does not do x-rays regardless of an apparent bend in the child's forearm and informs the dad his boy has "simply a sprain" this likely is medical malpractice. But, if the child is effectively diagnosed within a couple of days and makes a total recovery it is not likely the "damages" are severe sufficient to carry out a suit that likely would cost in excess of $50,000.00. Nevertheless, if because of the hold-up in being correctly detected, the boy has to have his arm re-broken and the development plate is irreparably damaged due to the delay then the damages likely would warrant additional examination and a possible claim.

Other crucial factors to consider.

Other issues that are important when figuring out whether a client has a malpractice case include the victim's behavior and medical history. Did the victim do anything to cause or add to the bad medical outcome? A typical method of medical malpractice defense attorneys is to blame the patient. If it is a birth injury case, did the mother have correct 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 medicine as advised and inform the doctor the fact? These are facts that we have to understand in order to identify whether the physician will have a legitimate defense to the malpractice claim?

What occurs if it appears like there is a case?

If it appears that the patient may have been a victim of a medical error, the medical error triggered a substantial injury or death and the client was certified with his doctor's orders, then we have to get the patient's medical records. In many cases, getting the medical records includes nothing more mailing a release signed by the client to the physician and/or medical facility along with a letter asking for the records. In the case of wrongful death, an administrator of the victims estate has to be designated in the local county probate court and then the executor can sign the release requesting the records.

Once the records are gotten we review them to make sure they are total. It is not uncommon in medical neglect cases to get incomplete medical charts. When all the pertinent records are gotten they are provided to a certified medical specialist for review and opinion. If the case is against an emergency clinic physician we have an emergency clinic medical professional examine the case, if it protests a cardiologist we have to get a viewpoint from a cardiologist, etc

. Mainly, what we wish to know form the expert is 1) was the treatment provided listed below the standard of care, 2) did the violation of the standard of care result in the patients injury or death? If discover this agrees with on both counts a lawsuit will be prepared on the client's behalf and usually filed in the court of common pleas in the county where the malpractice was dedicated or in the county where the offender lives. In limited situations jurisdiction for the malpractice suit could be federal court or some other court.


In sum, a good malpractice legal representative will thoroughly and completely review any possible malpractice case prior to submitting a suit. It's not fair to the victim or the physicians to file a lawsuit unless the expert tells us that he thinks there is a strong basis to bring the suit. 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 consulting with a malpractice attorney it's important to accurately offer the lawyer as much information as possible and address the attorney's questions as entirely as possible. Prior to speaking with a lawyer consider making some notes so you don't forget some important fact or scenario the legal representative 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 constraints problems in your case.

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