Do I Have A Medical Malpractice-Wrongful Death Case?

The scope of the medical malpractice problem.

Data vary considerably 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 research studies put the number as low as a few hundred thousand. It is extensively accepted however that iatrogenic illness (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 a lawyer who has actually limited his practice to representation of victims hurt by someone else's negligence, medical or otherwise, I have actually gotten thousands of calls from potential clients over the last 20 years asking me if they have a medical malpractice case. Because medical malpractice litigation is very pricey and really protracted the legal representatives in our firm are extremely cautious exactly what medical malpractice cases in which we decide to get involved. is not unusual for a lawyer, or law office to advance lawsuits expenses in excess of $100,000.00 just to obtain a case to trial. These expenditures are the costs associated with pursuing the litigation that include professional witness costs, deposition expenses, show preparation and court costs. What follows is an outline of the issues, questions and considerations that the attorneys in our company consider when talking about with a customer a prospective medical malpractice case.

What is Medical Malpractice?

Medical Malpractice is medical treatment that breaches of the "Requirement of Care" for medical physicians (or nurses, chiropractic physicians, dentists, podiatric doctors etc.) which leads to an injury or death. "Standard of Care" suggests medical treatment that a sensible, sensible medical supplier in the same community should provide. 3rd degree burn treatment involve a conflict over exactly what the relevant standard of care is. The standard of care is typically provided through using professional testimony from seeking advice from medical professionals that practice or teach medicine in the very 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 complainant (victim) or the date the plaintiff found or reasonably should have discovered the malpractice. Some states have a 2 year statute of constraints. In Ohio if the victim is a minor the statute of constraints will not even begin to run up until the small ends up being 18 years of ages. Be recommended however derivative claims for moms and dads may run many years earlier. If you believe you might have a case it is important you contact a legal representative quickly. Irrespective of the statute of limitations, physicians move, witnesses disappear and memories fade. The quicker counsel is engaged the quicker essential evidence can be preserved and the better your opportunities are of prevailing.

What did the doctor do or fail to do?

Just due to the fact that a client does not have a successful arise from a surgical treatment, medical procedure or medical treatment does not in and of itself suggest the medical professional made a mistake. Medical practice is by no means a guarantee of good health or a complete healing. The majority of the time when a patient experiences a not successful arise from medical treatment it is not due to the fact that the medical provider made a mistake. 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.

Should you hire your own insurance claims adjuster?

Mark Huffman has been a consumer news reporter for ConsumerAffairs since 2004. He covers real estate, gas prices and the economy and has reported extensively on negative-option sales. He was previously an Associated Press reporter and editor in Washington, D.C., a correspondent for Westwoood One Radio Networks and Marketwatch.  Read Full Bio? Should you hire your own insurance claims adjuster?

When talking about a prospective case with a client it is essential that the client be able to inform 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 good treatment. Nevertheless, we also understand that people typically must not pass away from knee surgery, appendix removal, hernia repair work or some other "small" surgery. When something extremely unforeseen like that occurs it certainly is worth checking out whether there was a medical error. If in doubt most medical malpractice lawyers will discuss your case with you informally on the telephone. Most lawyers do not charge for an initial consultation in carelessness cases.

So what if there was a medical mistake (near cause)?

In any negligence case not only is the burden of proof on the complainant to prove the medical malpractice the complainant need to also prove that as a direct outcome of the medical neglect some injury or death resulted (damages). This is called "near cause." Given that medical malpractice litigation is so pricey to pursue the injuries should be considerable to call for moving on with the case. All medical mistakes are "malpractice" however only a little percentage of errors generate medical malpractice cases.

By way of example, if a moms and dad takes his child to the emergency room after a skateboard accident and the ER medical professional doesn't do x-rays despite an obvious bend in the kid's forearm and informs the father his kid has "simply a sprain" this likely is medical malpractice. However, if the kid is correctly detected within a couple of days and makes a total recovery it is unlikely the "damages" are serious sufficient to carry out a lawsuit that likely would cost in excess of $50,000.00. Nevertheless, if because of the hold-up in being appropriately identified, the kid has to have his arm re-broken and the growth plate is irreparably harmed due to the delay then the damages likely would call for additional examination and a possible suit.

Other crucial factors to consider.

Other concerns that are necessary when figuring out whether a client has a malpractice case consist of the victim's habits and medical history. Did the victim do anything to cause or contribute to the bad medical outcome? A common method of medical malpractice defense attorneys is to blame the client. If it is a birth injury case, did the mommy have appropriate prenatal care, did she smoke or use drugs during her pregnancy? In other cases, did the client follow the doctor's orders, keep his visits, take his medicine as instructed and tell the doctor the fact? These are truths that we need to know in order to identify whether the doctor will have a valid defense to the malpractice lawsuit?

Exactly what takes place 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 triggered a substantial injury or death and the patient was compliant with his medical professional's orders, then we need to get the patient's medical records. Most of the times, getting the medical records involves nothing more mailing a release signed by the customer to the doctor and/or health center along 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 after that the administrator can sign the release requesting the records.

Once the records are gotten we evaluate them to make sure they are complete. It is not uncommon in medical negligence cases to get insufficient medical charts. Once all the relevant records are obtained they are provided to a certified medical professional for review and opinion. If the case protests an emergency clinic physician we have an emergency clinic doctor review the case, if it protests a cardiologist we have to get an opinion from a cardiologist, and so on

. Mostly, exactly what we want to know form the professional is 1) was the medical care supplied listed below the standard of care, 2) did the offense of the requirement of care lead to the clients injury or death? If the doctors opinion is favorable on both counts a lawsuit will be prepared on the customer's behalf and typically 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 situations jurisdiction for the malpractice suit could be federal court or some other court.


In sum, an excellent malpractice attorney will carefully and completely evaluate any possible malpractice case prior to submitting a lawsuit. It's not fair to the victim or the physicians to file a lawsuit unless the professional tells us that he believes there is a strong basis to bring the claim. Due to the cost of pursuing a medical negligence action no good attorney has the time or resources to waste on a "unimportant lawsuit."

When seeking advice from a malpractice lawyer it's important to properly offer the attorney as much detail as possible and respond to the lawyer's concerns as completely as possible. Prior to talking to an attorney think about making some notes so you always remember some important truth or scenario the lawyer might need.

Finally, if you believe you might have a malpractice case contact a good malpractice legal representative as soon as possible so there are no statute of constraints problems in your case.

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