Do I Have A Medical Malpractice-Wrongful Death Case?

The scope of the medical malpractice issue.

Data vary dramatically on the number of medical errors that happen in the United States. Some studies place the number of medical errors in excess of one million each year while other research studies position the number as low as a few hundred thousand. It is extensively accepted however that iatrogenic illness (illness or injury brought on by a medical error 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.

As an attorney who has limited his practice to representation of victims hurt by someone else's neglect, medical or otherwise, I have actually received thousands of calls from potential customers over the last 20 years asking me if they have a medical malpractice case. Because medical malpractice lawsuits is extremely expensive and very drawn-out the legal representatives in our company are very careful what medical malpractice cases in which we choose to get included. It is not uncommon for a lawyer, or law firm to advance litigation expenses 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 costs, show preparation and court costs. What follows is an outline of the problems, concerns and factors to consider that the attorneys in our company think about when talking about with a client 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, dental professionals, podiatric doctors etc.) which leads to an injury or death. sue for negligence car accident of Care" implies medical treatment that a sensible, prudent medical provider in the same community need to supply. The majority of cases involve a conflict over exactly what the suitable standard of care is. The standard of care is generally supplied through using professional testament from speaking with doctors that practice or teach medication in the very same specialized as the offender( s).

When did the malpractice happen (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 defendant treated the complainant (victim) or the date the complainant found 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 restrictions will not even begin to run up until the minor ends up being 18 years of ages. Be advised however acquired claims for parents may run many years previously. If you think you may have a case it is essential you contact a legal representative quickly. Regardless of the statute of limitations, physicians relocate, witnesses disappear and memories fade. The faster counsel is engaged the earlier important proof can be protected and the better your opportunities are of dominating.

What did the doctor do or fail to do?

Simply due to the fact that 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 medical professional made a mistake. Medical practice is by no means a guarantee of good health or a total recovery. Most of the time when a client experiences a not successful arise from medical treatment it is not because the medical provider made a mistake. Most of the time when there is a bad medical outcome it is regardless of good, quality medical care not because of sub-standard medical care.

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 potential case with a client it is essential that the client be able to tell us why they believe there was medical carelessness. As all of us know people frequently pass away from cancer, heart problem or organ failure even with great medical care. Nevertheless, we also know that people normally should not die from knee surgical treatment, appendix elimination, hernia repair work or some other "small" surgery. When something extremely unexpected like that occurs it definitely deserves checking out whether there was a medical mistake. If in will discuss your case with you informally on the telephone. Many legal representatives do not charge for a preliminary assessment in negligence 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 show the medical malpractice the plaintiff need to also show that as a direct result of the medical carelessness some injury or death resulted (damages). This is called "near cause." Because medical malpractice lawsuits is so expensive to pursue the injuries need to be substantial to warrant moving on with the case. All medical mistakes are "malpractice" however only a little portion of mistakes give rise to medical malpractice cases.

By way of example, if a moms and dad takes his boy to the emergency room after a skateboard accident and the ER doctor doesn't do x-rays regardless of an obvious bend in the kid's forearm and tells the papa his boy has "just a sprain" this most likely is medical malpractice. However, if the child is correctly identified within a couple of days and makes a total healing it is not likely the "damages" are serious sufficient to undertake a suit that likely would cost in excess of $50,000.00. However, if because of the delay in being effectively identified, the young boy needs to have his arm re-broken and the development plate is irreparably damaged due to the hold-up then the damages likely would call for further investigation and a possible claim.

Other essential considerations.

Other problems that are necessary when identifying whether a client has a malpractice case include the victim's behavior and medical history. Did the victim do anything to trigger or contribute to the bad medical outcome? A typical method of medical malpractice defense lawyer is to blame the patient. If it is a birth trauma case, did the mama have appropriate prenatal care, did she smoke or utilize drugs throughout her pregnancy? In , did the patient follow the physician's orders, keep his visits, take his medication as instructed and inform the doctor the fact? These are facts that we have to know in order to figure out whether the medical professional will have a valid defense to the malpractice claim?

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

If it appears that the patient might have been a victim of a medical mistake, the medical error caused a substantial injury or death and the patient was certified with his doctor's orders, then we have to get the client's medical records. Most of the times, obtaining the medical records involves absolutely nothing more mailing a release signed by the customer to the doctor and/or hospital together with a letter asking for the records. When it comes to wrongful death, an administrator of the victims estate needs to be designated in the local county court of probate and then the administrator can sign the release requesting the records.

Once the records are received we evaluate them to make sure they are complete. It is not uncommon in medical negligence cases to receive incomplete medical charts. Once all the pertinent records are acquired they are provided to a certified medical professional for evaluation and viewpoint. If the case protests an emergency room medical professional we have an emergency clinic physician examine the case, if it protests a cardiologist we need to acquire an opinion from a cardiologist, and so on

. Mostly, what we wish to know form the expert is 1) was the healthcare provided listed below the requirement of care, 2) did the infraction of the standard of care result in the patients injury or death? If the medical professionals viewpoint is favorable on both counts a lawsuit will be prepared on the client's behalf and generally filed in the court of typical pleas in the county where the malpractice was dedicated or in the county where the accused lives. In some minimal circumstances jurisdiction for the malpractice suit could be federal court or some other court.


In sum, a good malpractice lawyer will thoroughly and completely examine any possible malpractice case before submitting a claim. It's not fair to the victim or the physicians to submit a lawsuit unless the professional tells us that he thinks there is a strong basis to bring the claim. Due to the expenditure of pursuing a medical negligence action no good attorney has the time or resources to waste on a "pointless suit."

When seeking advice from a malpractice legal representative it is essential to precisely provide the legal representative as much detail as possible and respond to the attorney's questions as completely as possible. Prior to speaking with an attorney consider making some notes so you do not forget some essential truth or situation the attorney may require.

Last but not least, if you believe you may have a malpractice case call an excellent malpractice attorney as soon as possible so there are no statute of restrictions problems in your case.

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