Can I Sue My Doctor for Medical Negligence? May 16, 2024.

Can I Sue My Doctor for Medical Negligence?

When patients seek medical attention, they trust that their doctor will give them the highest level of care. Yet, there are instances where patients are injured, or even killed, by their doctor due to medical errors. Medical errors are unacceptable, especially if the injuries could have been prevented if the medical provider wasn’t negligent.

However, Ohio law recognizes that medical providers need to be held accountable for the injuries or fatalities they cause. Meaning that victims of medical errors may be able to receive compensation for their injuries.

Continue reading to learn about when you can sue your doctor for negligence.

What Is Negligence in Healthcare?

Medical negligence is defined as when a medical provider acts carelessly, which breaches the standard of care expected in their profession. This standard represents the highest level of care that all patients have the right to receive. However, when a medical provider breaches the standard of care, it can cause severe injuries to the patient.

When Can I Sue my Doctor for Negligence?

Under Ohio law, individuals who suffered injuries due to negligence can file a medical malpractice claim. Any type of medical provider could potentially be sued for negligence, including doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and even healthcare facilities.

However, for a successful medical malpractice case, 3 factors need to be proven. 

To show medical negligence, you need to be able to prove: 

  1. The medical provider failed to meet the standard of care.

  2. The injury was a direct result of the medical provider's negligence.

  3. The injury caused damages.

Without being able to prove these 3 factors, it will likely make it harder to receive a “positive” outcome from the lawsuit.

However, it is important to have an experienced medical malpractice lawyer review your case. A lawyer will be able to analyze the events to determine if your medical provider was at fault for the injuries. They will also gather evidence against the medical provider to prove the 3 factors listed above.

How Long Do I Have to Sue My Doctor in Ohio?

In Ohio, the statute of limitations for medical malpractice is one year. So, from the date at which the malpractice occurred, you will have one year to file the claim. 

However, in certain cases, where the patient couldn't have known about the negligence, they have one year from the discovery to file a claim. For instance, if someone discovers they had a surgical tool left in their body 3 years after their procedure, then they will have 1 year after the discovery to file a claim.

Minors also have a different statute of limitations for medical malpractice. Minors have 1 year after their 18th birthday to file a claim, regardless of how old they were when the malpractice occurred. 

How Much Money Can I Get From a Medical Malpractice Case?

In medical malpractice cases, there is no way to determine how much money you will receive, because each case is unique. However, the extent of the damages plays a huge role in the amount of compensation you will receive for your case. The two types of damages that can be recovered are economic and non-economic.

Economic damages cover monetary losses such as medical bills, lost wages, lost earning capacity, and home modifications. Economic damages have no set limit, which allows the monetary losses to be fully compensated for.

Non-economic damages cover the emotional aspect of medical malpractice. These damages compensate for pain, suffering, mental anguish, and loss of enjoyment of life. However, in Ohio, non-economic damages are capped at $250,000, or three times the amount of economic damages, whichever amount is greater.

Common Medical Errors that Result in Injuries

The most common types of medical errors include:

  • Misdiagnosis

  • Birth injuries

  • Surgical errors

  • Anesthesia errors

  • Medication errors

Misdiagnosis

One-third of medical malpractice cases that resulted in injury or death, were caused by misdiagnosis. This makes it the most prevalent form of medical malpractice in The United States.

Misdiagnosis can occur under 3 circumstances:

  • Delayed diagnosis: The diagnosis was made later than it should have been. This often means that the condition could have progressed to a more severe stage.

  • Failure to diagnose: The doctor did not diagnose their patient with a condition.

  • Inaccurate diagnosis: The doctor gave their patient the incorrect diagnosis.

Birth Injuries

For every 1,000 births in The United States, around 7 infants suffer birth injuries. While some birth injuries are temporary, others can cause life-long disabilities. Families should not have to incur the costs of extensive medical bills from injuries caused by a medical provider's negligence.

Common birth injuries include hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy, cerebral palsy, shoulder dystocia, and brachial plexus injuries.

Surgical Errors

Surgery can be complicated, even for skilled surgeons. However, during a procedure, surgeons can make errors that may lead to serious injuries.

Common surgical errors include:

  • Wrong site surgery

  • Perforating an organ or artery

  • Leaving a foreign object in the body

  • Performing the wrong surgery

These errors are referred to as “never events''. As the phrase suggests, these errors are 100% preventable, and should never happen. Unfortunately, these errors happen often due to carelessness or inexperience.

Anesthesia Errors

Anesthesia is carefully calculated based on the gender, age, and weight of the patient. But, when an anesthesiologist is negligent, it can lead to severe injuries to the patient. 

Anesthesia errors can occur if:

  • Too much anesthesia is given.

  • The patient is not properly monitored.

  • The doctor fails to check for harmful interactions with other medications.

  • The doctor fails to ask the patient about any known allergies.

  • The doctor fails to review the patient's medical history.

Medication Errors

Every year the Food and Drug Administration receives over 100,000 complaints about medication errors. Unfortunately, 7,000-9,000 of these errors result in death. 

Medication errors occur when a medical provider incorrectly gives, prescribes, or dispenses medication. 

Common medication errors include giving the patient the wrong medication, dosage, or dosage rate. These errors can cause serious injuries to the patient like organ damage, skin disfigurement, rashes, and death.

Contact Our Cleveland Medical Malpractice Lawyers

Individuals who were harmed by a medical provider’s negligence have the right to bring a lawsuit against the liable parties. However, it is important to hire an experienced medical malpractice lawyer to assist with your case. 

Medical malpractice cases require a unique attention to detail that the average person may not have. Attorneys will also assist you with gathering evidence, filing the necessary paperwork, and negotiating with the liable party.

If you or a loved one suffered injuries due to a medical provider’s negligence, contact The Mellino Law Firm at (440) 333-3800 or complete this short form to schedule your free initial consultation.