Do I Have A Medical Malpractice-Wrongful Death Case? of the medical malpractice problem.

Stats differ considerably on the number of medical errors that happen in the United States. Some research studies place the number of medical errors in excess of one million each year while other studies place the number as low as a couple of hundred thousand. It is widely accepted however that iatrogenic disease (illness or injury triggered by a medical mistake 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 actually limited his practice to representation of victims hurt by somebody else's negligence, medical or otherwise, I have actually received thousands of calls from prospective clients over the last 20 years asking me if they have a medical malpractice case. Considering that medical malpractice litigation is extremely costly and really lengthy the legal representatives in our firm are extremely cautious exactly what medical malpractice cases in which we choose to get included. It is not at all unusual for a lawyer, or law firm to advance litigation costs in excess of $100,000.00 just to obtain a case to trial. These costs are the costs associated with pursuing the litigation which include expert witness fees, deposition costs, display preparation and court costs. What follows is an outline of the concerns, questions and factors to consider that the legal representatives in our company 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 "Requirement of Care" for medical physicians (or nurses, chiropractic practitioners, dental professionals, podiatric doctors etc.) which leads to an injury or death. "Requirement of Care" implies medical treatment that an affordable, prudent medical provider in the same community need to provide. Most cases involve a disagreement over exactly what the appropriate requirement of care is. The standard of care is typically provided through using professional statement from consulting physicians that practice or teach medicine in the exact same specialized as the defendant( s).

When did the malpractice happen (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 defendant dealt with the plaintiff (victim) or the date the complainant found or reasonably must have discovered the malpractice. Some states have a 2 year statute of restrictions. In Ohio if the victim is a minor the statute of constraints will not even start to run till the minor becomes 18 years of ages. Be advised nevertheless acquired claims for moms and dads might run several years previously. If you believe you might have a case it is necessary you get in touch with a lawyer quickly. Irrespective of the statute of restrictions, medical professionals relocate, witnesses vanish and memories fade. The faster counsel is engaged the sooner crucial proof can be preserved and the better your chances are of dominating.

What did the physician do or fail to do?

Simply because a client does not have a successful 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 indicates a guarantee of good health or a complete recovery. Most of the time when a client experiences an unsuccessful result from medical treatment it is not due to the fact that the medical supplier made a mistake. The majority 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 talking about a prospective case with a customer it is necessary that the client be able to inform us why they believe there was medical neglect. As all of us know individuals often die from cancer, cardiovascular disease or organ failure even with excellent medical care. However, we also know that individuals normally must not die from knee surgery, appendix removal, hernia repair or some other "minor" surgery. When something really unforeseen 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 lawyers do not charge for a preliminary assessment in neglect cases.

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

In any neglect case not only is the burden of proof on the plaintiff to prove the medical malpractice the complainant must likewise show that as a direct outcome of the medical neglect some injury or death resulted (damages). This is called "near cause." Since medical malpractice lawsuits is so expensive to pursue the injuries must be substantial to call for progressing with the case. All medical errors are "malpractice" however only a small percentage of errors give rise to medical malpractice cases.

By way of example, if a parent takes his child to the emergency room after a skateboard mishap and the ER physician doesn't do x-rays despite an apparent bend in the kid's lower arm and informs the dad his boy has "simply a sprain" this likely is medical malpractice. However, if the kid is correctly identified within a few days and makes a total healing it is unlikely the "damages" are extreme adequate to carry out a lawsuit that likely would cost in excess of $50,000.00. However, if because of the hold-up in being properly identified, the kid needs to have his arm re-broken and the development plate is irreparably harmed due to the delay then the damages likely would warrant additional examination and a possible suit.

Other essential factors to consider. that are very important when determining whether a customer has a malpractice case include the victim's habits and medical history. Did the victim do anything to cause or add to the bad medical outcome? A typical tactic of medical malpractice defense attorneys is to blame the client. If it is a birth injury case, did the mama have correct prenatal care, did she smoke or utilize drugs throughout her pregnancy? In other cases, did the patient follow the doctor's orders, keep his consultations, take his medicine as instructed and tell the doctor the reality? These are truths that we need to know in order to determine whether the doctor will have a valid defense to the malpractice suit?

Exactly 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 substantial injury or death and the client was certified with his doctor's orders, then we need to get the patient's medical records. In many cases, getting the medical records involves absolutely nothing more mailing a release signed by the client to the medical professional and/or health center along with a letter requesting the records. In the case of wrongful death, an administrator of the victims estate has to be selected in the local county probate court then the administrator can sign the release requesting the records.

As soon as the records are gotten we review them to make sure they are total. It is not unusual in medical negligence cases to receive insufficient medical charts. As soon as all the appropriate records are gotten they are provided to a qualified medical professional for evaluation and viewpoint. If the case is against an emergency clinic doctor we have an emergency room physician examine the case, if it protests a cardiologist we have to get an opinion from a cardiologist, etc

. Mainly, what we need to know form the professional is 1) was the treatment provided listed below the requirement of care, 2) did the offense of the requirement of care lead to the patients injury or death? If the medical professionals viewpoint is favorable on both counts a claim will be prepared on the customer's behalf and normally submitted in the court of typical pleas in the county where the malpractice was devoted or in the county where the accused lives. In some restricted scenarios jurisdiction for the malpractice suit could be federal court or some other court.


In sum, a great malpractice legal representative will thoroughly and completely examine any prospective malpractice case prior to submitting a claim. It's not fair to the victim or the physicians to submit a claim unless the professional informs us that he believes there is a strong basis to bring the suit. Due to the expenditure of pursuing a medical negligence action no good legal representative has the time or resources to waste on a "unimportant lawsuit."

When consulting with a malpractice legal representative it is necessary to accurately offer the lawyer as much information as possible and respond to the lawyer's questions as totally as possible. Prior to talking to an attorney consider making some notes so you do not forget some crucial reality or scenario the legal representative may need.

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

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