Do you think your doctor or hospital made a mistake in your care? Do you think you experienced a medication error? You may need to file a lawsuit for a medical malpractice. At Robenalt Law, we want you to have the best information to understand the issues. This article should help clarify the basics of a medical malpractice claim under Ohio law.
What is medical malpractice?
Malpractice can happen in diagnosis, treatment, management, or even monitoring disease or medical condition. Some cases are very clear. For example, a surgeon operating on a patient’s left limb when the surgery was scheduled for the right limb is indisputable. Other cases are more complex, like when a baby suffers a birth injury from lack of oxygen to the brain during delivery. If a patient faces adverse consequences, injury, or even death because of the neglect of a medical professional, there may be medical malpractice.
Medical malpractice is based on a legal concept called standard of care. We’ll use a doctor as the medical professional to explain the concept here. The standard of care requires doctors to treat patients in the same way a doctor with ordinary skill and care would treat a patient in similar circumstances. If a provider or professional falls below this standard of care, the negligent treatment may be medical malpractice. Some medical mistakes are caused by a doctor taking an action they should not have. Other medical errors happen because a hospital failed to do something they should have. Whether action or inaction was the cause, an experienced lawyer can make sure the provider faces the appropriate consequences for failing to meet the standard of care.
Many different providers can be involved in care that is negligent. Doctors, nurses, and pharmacists are just a few of the types of providers. Dentists can also commit malpractice. Medical institutions like hospitals and nursing homes are liable for some medical mistakes. Large teaching hospitals educate students in several practice areas, including medical residency and internships. If a student doctor is responsible for negligence, the attending physician may not be available in time to prevent injury or death to the patient.
How common are medical mistakes?
According to the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), medical malpractice is the third leading cause of death in the United States. An injured patient may have a lifetime of medical bills because of a mistake. You are not alone if you or a family member suffered a mistake in a doctor’s office or the hospital and your pain and suffering should not go uncompensated.
Is there a time limit?
In legal terms, the time limit to file a case is called the statute of limitations. In Ohio, the general rule is that an injured person has one year to file a medical malpractice claim. After a year, the patient may have lost their chance to file a lawsuit.
There are some exceptions to the time limit. For example, if you have an instrument or sponge left in your abdomen after surgery, the one-year clock starts ticking the day you find out the item was not removed. An Ohio medical malpractice attorney can help you understand how the law affects your case.
How are damages and losses calculated in Ohio?
If an injured person seeks compensation for a medical malpractice claim, there are different types of damages under Ohio law. The first are called compensatory or economic damages. Compensatory damages are meant to make up for losses, including medical bills and lost wages. Compensatory damages can also pay for future medical bills or the loss of future earning capacity from work. If the negligent has resulted in the death of the patient, damages can be obtained under Ohio’s wrongful death statute by the estate of the decedent.
Non-economic damages are the other category. Non-economic damages are for pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life. Ohio law puts a cap on non-economic damages. One injured person can receive $250,000 or three times economic damages up to $350,000. In a case with multiple victims, the cap is $500,000.
There is an additional cap if the injury was permanent or catastrophic, including serious bodily injury or death. The cap is $500,000 per plaintiff or $1 million in a case with multiple victims.
What is required in a medical malpractice lawsuit?
The injured person or plaintiff in a lawsuit must prove that it was more likely than not that the doctor or hospital did not meet the standard of care. Usually, expert testimony is required to provide the proof. Medical records will need to be carefully collected and analyzed. A lawyer can provide advice to ensure you make the best possible case.
At Robenalt Law, we investigate cases against the biggest hospital systems including Cleveland Clinic and University Hospitals of Cleveland. Our experienced Cleveland medical malpractice attorneys have the answers you need, and because we use contingency agreements, there is no fee unless you win. We welcome you to contact Robenalt Law for a free, confidential consultation.