Do I Have A Medical Malpractice-Wrongful Death Case?

The scope of the medical malpractice issue.

Data differ significantly on the variety of medical errors that take place in the United States. Some studies put the variety of medical errors in excess of one million annually while other studies position the number as low as a few hundred thousand. It is commonly accepted however that iatrogenic disease (illness or injury caused by a medical error or medical treatment) is the 3rd leading cause of death in the United States after heart problem and cancer. See, The JOURNAL of the AMERICAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION (JAMA) Vol 284, No 4, July 26th 2000.

As an attorney who has actually limited his practice to representation of victims hurt by someone else's carelessness, medical or otherwise, I have gotten countless calls from prospective clients over the last Twenty Years asking me if they have a medical malpractice case. Considering Highly recommended Reading is extremely expensive and extremely drawn-out the lawyers in our company are very mindful exactly what medical malpractice cases where we choose to get involved. It is not at all unusual for a lawyer, or law practice to advance lawsuits expenses in excess of $100,000.00 simply to obtain a case to trial. are the expenses connected with pursuing the litigation which include skilled witness charges, deposition expenses, exhibit preparation and court costs. What follows is an overview of the issues, questions and considerations that the attorneys in our company consider when going over with a customer a prospective 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, dentists, podiatric doctors etc.) which leads to an injury or death. "Standard of Care" means medical treatment that a reasonable, prudent medical provider in the same community should supply. A lot of cases involve a conflict over exactly what the suitable standard of care is. The standard of care is generally offered through using expert statement from consulting doctors that practice or teach medicine 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 limitations is one year from the date of the malpractice, or the last date the offender dealt with the complainant (victim) or the date the plaintiff found or fairly ought to have found the malpractice. Some states have a two year statute of limitations. In Ohio if the victim is a small the statute of constraints will not even begin to run up until the minor becomes 18 years old. Be recommended however acquired claims for parents may run several years earlier. If you believe you might have a case it is important you get in touch with a legal representative quickly. Irrespective of the statute of constraints, physicians relocate, witnesses vanish and memories fade. The quicker counsel is engaged the faster crucial proof can be protected and the much better your chances are of prevailing.

What did the physician do or cannot do?

Just since a patient does not have a successful result from a surgical treatment, medical treatment or medical treatment does not in and of itself indicate the physician made a mistake. Medical practice is by no means a guarantee of health or a total recovery. Most of the time when a client experiences an unsuccessful arise from medical treatment it is not since the medical supplier made a mistake. Most of the time when there is a bad medical result it is regardless of great, quality medical care not because of sub-standard treatment.

What Makes Lawyers Happy? It's Not What You Think

Happy lawyer - sounds like an oxymoron, right? Having practiced law for seven years, I can't think of many of my colleagues who I would classify as happy, or even mildly enthusiastic. More troubling, when I ask my lawyer audiences how many would pick this profession if they had to do it all over again, very few hands go up. The law is a well-regarded profession (despite all of the lawyer jokes you hear) that affords most in it a very comfortable income, prestige and respect - something is missing. What Makes Lawyers Happy? It's Not What You Think

When discussing a prospective case with a customer it is very important that the client have the ability to tell us why they believe there was medical carelessness. As all of us know individuals typically die from cancer, cardiovascular disease or organ failure even with excellent healthcare. However, 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 very unexpected like that happens it certainly deserves exploring whether there was a medical mistake. If in doubt most medical malpractice lawyers will discuss your case with you informally on the telephone. Most attorneys do not charge for an initial 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 show the medical malpractice the plaintiff must likewise prove that as a direct result of the medical neglect some injury or death resulted (damages). This is called "proximate cause." Since medical malpractice litigation is so pricey to pursue the injuries must be significant to call for moving forward with the case. All medical mistakes are "malpractice" nevertheless only a little percentage of mistakes generate medical malpractice cases.

By way of example, if a moms and dad takes his son to the emergency clinic after a skateboard accident and the ER doctor does not do x-rays despite an apparent bend in the kid's lower arm and informs the father his boy has "simply a sprain" this most likely is medical malpractice. But, if the child is appropriately identified within a couple of days and makes a complete healing it is unlikely the "damages" are serious adequate 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 identified, the young boy needs to have his arm re-broken and the growth plate is irreparably damaged due to the hold-up then the damages likely would require additional investigation and a possible claim.

Other important factors to consider.

Other issues that are very important when identifying whether a client has a malpractice case consist of the victim's habits and case history. Did the victim do anything to cause or contribute to the bad medical result? 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 consultations, take his medication as instructed and inform the medical professional the fact? These are truths that we need to know in order to figure out whether the doctor will have a valid defense to the malpractice suit?

What takes place if it looks like there is a case?

If it appears that the client may have been a victim of a medical error, the medical mistake triggered a considerable injury or death and the client was compliant with his physician's orders, then we have to get the patient's medical records. In most cases, getting the medical records involves nothing more mailing a release signed by the customer to the doctor and/or health center in addition to a letter asking for the records. When it comes to wrongful death, an executor of the victims estate needs to be designated in the regional county probate court then the executor can sign the release asking for the records.

Once the records are gotten we review them to make sure they are complete. It is not uncommon in medical negligence cases to receive incomplete medical charts. When all the relevant records are obtained they are supplied to a competent medical expert for evaluation and viewpoint. If the case is against an emergency room physician we have an emergency clinic physician review the case, if it protests a cardiologist we have to get an opinion from a cardiologist, etc

. Mainly, what we want to know form the expert is 1) was the treatment provided below the requirement of care, 2) did the violation of the standard of care lead to the clients injury or death? If the physicians viewpoint agrees with on both counts a lawsuit will be prepared on the client's behalf and usually filed in the court of typical pleas in the county where the malpractice was devoted or in the county where the offender lives. In some limited circumstances jurisdiction for the malpractice lawsuit could be federal court or some other court.


In sum, a great malpractice lawyer will thoroughly and completely review any prospective malpractice case before filing a lawsuit. It's not fair to the victim or the doctors to submit a claim unless the professional informs us that he believes there is a strong basis to bring the suit. Due to the cost of pursuing a medical carelessness action no good legal representative has the time or resources to lose on a "unimportant lawsuit."

When consulting with a malpractice legal representative it is very important to precisely offer the lawyer as much detail as possible and answer the legal representative's concerns as entirely as possible. Prior to talking to a lawyer consider making some notes so you do not forget some essential fact or circumstance the legal representative might need. but not least, if you think you may have a malpractice case contact a great malpractice lawyer as soon as possible so there are no statute of restrictions problems in your case.

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