Do I Have A Medical Malpractice-Wrongful Death Case?

The scope of the medical malpractice issue.

Statistics differ drastically 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 studies place the number as low as a few hundred thousand. It is commonly accepted nevertheless that iatrogenic disease (illness or injury triggered by a medical error or medical treatment) is the third leading cause of death in the United States after cardiovascular 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 injured by someone else's negligence, medical or otherwise, I have received countless calls from prospective customers over the last 20 years asking me if they have a medical malpractice case. Given that medical malpractice lawsuits is really expensive and extremely protracted the legal representatives in our firm are very cautious what medical malpractice cases where we choose to get involved. It is not unusual for an attorney, or law practice to advance litigation costs in excess of $100,000.00 simply to get a case to trial. These expenditures are the expenses associated with pursuing the litigation which include skilled witness charges, deposition expenses, exhibit preparation and court costs. What follows is an overview of the problems, concerns and factors to consider that the legal representatives in our company consider when going over with a customer a potential 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 specialists, dental experts, podiatric doctors and so on.) which leads to an injury or death. "Requirement of Care" indicates medical treatment that a sensible, prudent medical service provider in the very same neighborhood must offer. The majority of cases involve a conflict over what the applicable standard of care is. The standard of care is usually offered through making use of expert testimony from seeking advice from physicians that practice or teach medication in the exact same specialty as the defendant( s).

When did the malpractice take place (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 plaintiff (victim) or the date the plaintiff found or reasonably should have found the malpractice. Some states have a 2 year statute of constraints. In Ohio if the victim is a minor the statute of restrictions will not even start to run until the minor ends up being 18 years of ages. Be recommended however acquired claims for parents might run several years earlier. If you think you may have a case it is essential you call a legal representative quickly. Irrespective of the statute of constraints, physicians move, witnesses vanish and memories fade. The earlier counsel is engaged the sooner important evidence can be protected and the much better your opportunities are of dominating.

What did the physician do or fail to do?

Merely since a client does not have an effective result from a surgery, medical procedure or medical treatment does not in and of itself mean the doctor made a mistake. Medical practice is by no means a guarantee of health or a complete healing. Most of the time when a client experiences a not successful result from medical treatment it is not due to the fact that the medical provider made a mistake. Most of the time when there is a bad medical outcome it is regardless of great, quality healthcare not because of sub-standard treatment.

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When going over a prospective case with a client it is very important that the customer have the ability to inform us why they think there was medical carelessness. As we all know people often pass away from cancer, cardiovascular disease or organ failure even with good medical care. However, we likewise know that people normally need to not pass away from knee surgery, appendix elimination, hernia repair work or some other "small" surgical treatment. When something very unanticipated like that happens it definitely is worth exploring whether there was a medical mistake. If in doubt most medical malpractice lawyers will discuss your case with you informally on the telephone. A lot of legal representatives do not charge for a preliminary assessment in negligence cases.

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

In any neglect case not just is the burden of proof on the plaintiff to prove 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 "proximate cause." Since medical malpractice lawsuits is so costly to pursue the injuries must be significant to necessitate moving on with the case. All medical mistakes are "malpractice" however just a small portion of mistakes give rise to medical malpractice cases.

By way of example, if a parent takes his boy to the emergency room after a skateboard mishap and the ER physician does not do x-rays despite an apparent bend in the kid's lower arm and tells the father his kid has "simply a sprain" this likely is medical malpractice. However, if the child is appropriately detected within a couple of days and makes a complete healing it is unlikely the "damages" are extreme enough to carry out a claim that likely would cost in excess of $50,000.00. However, if because of the delay in being appropriately diagnosed, the kid needs to have his arm re-broken and the development plate is irreparably harmed due to the hold-up then the damages likely would necessitate further investigation and a possible lawsuit.

Other crucial factors to consider.

Other concerns that are necessary 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 common strategy of medical malpractice defense lawyer is to blame the client. If it is a birth injury case, did the mama have proper prenatal care, did she smoke or utilize drugs during her pregnancy? In other cases, did the client follow the physician's orders, keep his visits, take his medication as advised and inform the doctor the reality? These are truths that we have to understand in order to identify whether the medical professional will have a legitimate defense to the malpractice suit?

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 mistake triggered a significant injury or death and the patient was compliant with his physician's orders, then we need to get the client'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 medical facility in addition to a letter requesting the records. In the case of wrongful death, an executor of the victims estate needs to be designated in the regional county probate court and after that the executor can sign the release requesting the records.

As soon as the records are received we evaluate them to make sure they are total. It is not uncommon in medical carelessness cases to get incomplete medical charts. Once all the pertinent records are obtained they are offered to a qualified medical specialist for evaluation and opinion. If the case is against an emergency room medical professional we have an emergency room medical professional review the case, if it protests a cardiologist we have to acquire an opinion from a cardiologist, etc

. Primarily, what we would like to know form the specialist is 1) was the treatment provided listed below the standard of care, 2) did the offense of the standard of care lead to the clients injury or death? If the medical professionals viewpoint agrees with on both counts a lawsuit will be prepared on the customer'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 accused lives. In some limited circumstances jurisdiction for the malpractice lawsuit could be federal court or some other court.

In sum, a great malpractice legal representative will carefully and completely review any potential malpractice case prior to submitting a claim. It's not fair to the victim or the medical professionals to submit a claim unless the professional tells us that he thinks there is a strong basis to bring the lawsuit. Due to the expense of pursuing a medical negligence action no good lawyer has the time or resources to waste on a "unimportant lawsuit."

When seeking from a malpractice legal representative it is very important to accurately give the attorney as much information as possible and respond to the attorney's concerns as completely as possible. Prior to speaking to an attorney think about making some notes so you don't forget some essential reality or scenario the lawyer may require.

Last but not least, if you believe you might have a malpractice case contact an excellent malpractice legal representative as soon as possible so there are no statute of restrictions issues in your case.

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