Medical malpractice occurs when any licensed healthcare provider deviates from a recognized “standard of care” when treating a patient. That “standard of care” is defined as what a reasonably prudent medical provider would or would not have done under the same or similar circumstances.
In general, a claim for medical malpractice can be filed against any licensed healthcare provider. This includes an individual, a corporation, a facility, or a healthcare institution that provides healthcare services. Physicians, dentists, nurses, therapists, technicians, hospitals, and pharmacists can all be held responsible for committing medical malpractice.
To make out a case for medical malpractice, the victim must be able to prove the following four elements by a preponderance of the evidence:
- The existence of a doctor-patient relationship
- The doctor’s conduct fell below the acceptable standard of care (i.e., the doctor was negligent)
- The negligence caused your injuries
- The injuries caused damages
Different Healthcare Providers Can Be Liable for Med Mal
Medical malpractice claims are some of the most complicated lawsuits that can be filed. Because the consequences of medical malpractice are often severe, the stakes are high. This means that claims of medical malpractice are almost always hotly contested. If you believe you were a victim of medical malpractice, don’t delay. Avoid potential pitfalls to your medical malpractice lawsuit and contact a medical malpractice attorney at Robenalt Law today.
There are many different ways a healthcare provider can commit medical malpractice. To determine whether the healthcare provider committed medical malpractice, it is important to understand the type of injury the victim suffered and how the medical error occurred.
Examples of medical malpractice that give rise to liability include:
- Operating on the wrong patient
- Performing a surgical procedure on the wrong body part
- Damaging nearby organs during surgery
- Leaving surgical implements or sponges inside the patient’s body
- Failing to diagnose a post-operative infection
- Misdiagnosis or a missed diagnosis
- Administering the wrong drug or wrong dosage of a medication
- Failure to administer medications prescribed to a patient
- Pharmaceutical malpractice
- Anesthesia errors
- Abusing a patient
- Allowing a patient to fall out of bed
- Hypoxic-anoxic brain injury during surgery
- Allowing a baby to go without oxygen during delivery leading to brain damage
- Injuring the mother or baby during delivery
While many people think that only surgeons can be liable for medical malpractice, the reality is that any healthcare provider can make an error that can have life-changing consequences for the victim.
In addition to individual healthcare providers like doctors, dentists, nurses, therapists, technicians, hospitals, and pharmacists, medical facilities and group practices that employ healthcare providers can also be held liable for medical malpractice. When a patient suffers harm because a facility failed to meet its duty of care, the facility can be named as a defendant in a claim for medical malpractice.
Proving a Medical Malpractice Claim Often Requires Expert Testimony
A healthcare provider can never guarantee the outcome of a medical procedure. Sometimes, the patient fails to recover or dies even though healthcare providers did everything they could and met the standard of care.
To prove a case of medical malpractice, the victim should be able to identify the expected outcome of a procedure and point to a specific way in which the provider did not act according to the standard of care. Proving a deviation from the standard of care and that this breach of duty caused injury to the patient often requires expert testimony.
Med Mal Claims Are Complex and the Deck Is Stacked Against Victims
Medical malpractice claims are some of the most complicated lawsuits that can be filed. Because the consequences of medical malpractice are often severe, the stakes are high. This means that claims of medical malpractice are almost always hotly contested.
To make matters more difficult, Ohio imposes a short 1-year statute of limitations on medical malpractice claims. This means that the victim must file a lawsuit against the defendants within 12 months after discovering the malpractice or last interacting with the medical provider or treatment facility. If the victim files to file a lawsuit within this 1-year period, the court will reject the victim’s claim as being untimely filed.
In addition, Ohio has imposed various “tort reform” measures, such as requiring the victim to include an “Affidavit of Merit” from a physician who practices in the same specialty as the defendant when the complaint is filed.
The short statute of limitations, the Affidavit of Merit Requirement, and other roadblocks to a successful medical malpractice case make these cases extremely difficult for the victim to win. But the experienced medical malpractice attorney at Robenalt Law can help you overcome these obstacles and improve your likelihood of success.
If you believe you were a victim of medical malpractice, don’t delay. Avoid potential pitfalls to your medical malpractice lawsuit and contact Robenalt Law today.
Robenalt Law handles medical malpractice claims on a contingency fee, which means you won’t pay us a fee unless we recover money for you. Learn more about the medical malpractice cases we handle and why clients choose us, then contact a medical malpractice attorney at Robenalt Law today to schedule a free, confidential consultation to discuss your situation and how we can help.
Tom Robenalt started his litigation career representing doctors and hospitals at a large firm in Cleveland. For the past 25 years, he has used that experience to help victims and the families of those injured by negligent health care providers.