What Counts as Medical Malpractice in Ohio? March 4, 2020.
Medical malpractice occurs when a doctor, nurse, or other healthcare provider injures a patient. More specifically, it happens when a medical practitioner makes an error that another, similarly qualified one would not.
It’s important to keep in mind that the statute of limitations for medical malpractice varies from state to state.
Below, our Cleveland personal injury attorneys discuss medical malpractice laws unique to the state of Ohio.
What is Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice is a leading cause of preventable death in the United States. According to the Civil Justice Resource Group, medical accidents and negligence lead to 25,000 to 200,000 deaths per year.
In comparison, the annual toll of all other accidental deaths is 98,000. This includes auto accidents and workplace accidents.
Medical malpractice takes many different forms and can result from miscommunication, disorganization, fatigue, and much more.
Those harmed by medical malpractice may take action against the negligent provider through a medical malpractice claim and potential lawsuit. The laws for this process vary from state to state.
Medical Malpractice in Ohio
If medical malpractice causes disfigurement, disability, or wrongful death to a patient, Ohio state law allows the victim to seek compensation for medical expenses and other damages.
In Ohio, the statute of limitations for a medical malpractice claim is one year from the date the injury occurred or was discovered.
It may be possible to extend this deadline under the "180-day letter" extension, in which an injured patient sends the letter to the defendant health provider, advising that they are considering a lawsuit. This letter would then give the patient an additional 180 days to file a medical malpractice lawsuit.
If the medical malpractice victim suffered a wrongful death, their surviving family members may file two different claims: a claim for medical malpractice and a claim for wrongful death. In Ohio, the wrongful death claim must be filed within two years of the victim’s death.
Common Forms of Medical Malpractice
Medical malpractice can take many different forms and impact patients in a variety of ways.
Some of the most common forms of medical malpractice include the following:
- Anesthesia errors
- Birth injuries
- Emergency room errors
- Prescription errors
- Surgical errors
It’s hard to imagine these catastrophic injuries happening in an environment full of highly-trained, experienced professionals. There are, however, several reasons that medical malpractice may occur, including the following:
- Outdated medical records
- Poor communication among staff
- Stressed, overworked providers
While these causes may explain medical malpractice, they do not excuse it. The bottom line is that healthcare providers have patients’ lives in their hands, and they must act accordingly to uphold that responsibility.
The Long-Term Consequences of Medical Malpractice
When healthcare providers do not uphold the required standard of care, patients may face lifelong injuries or even death.
The consequences of medical malpractice may include the following:
- Long-term hospitalization
- Rehabilitative care
- Inability to return to work
- Inability to live independently
- Mounting costs in medical bills and lost wages
- The loss of a loved one due to wrongful death
Since the physical, emotional, and financial turmoil caused by medical malpractice can be overwhelming, it’s only fair that you seek compensation against the negligent party. That way, you’re not paying for their mistake out of your own pocket.
How to Prove Medical Malpractice
In order to prove medical malpractice and recover the compensation you deserve, it’s in your best interest to work with an experienced personal injury attorney who can prove fault.
Don’t hire just any attorney. Look for one who has the experience and resources needed to take on large hospitals and insurance companies. It’s important to work with an attorney who will not settle your case for less than it’s worth, and who is not afraid to go to trial on your behalf.
To win your case, your attorney will need to prove the "four D’s of medical malpractice." According to the National Institutes of Health, these are known as the following:
- Duty: The doctor owed a certain standard of care to the patient.
- Dereliction: The doctor did not uphold the standard of care.
- Damages: The patient was harmed.
- Direct cause: The doctor’s failure to uphold the standard of care directly led to the patient’s injury or death.
As a result, your attorney may be able to recover the following damages for you:
- Economic damages: Expenses that can be quantified, including the reimbursement of medical bills and lost wages
- Noneconomic damages: Compensation meant to address the pain and suffering caused by the malpractice
- Punitive damages: Damages assessed against a defendant to punish a healthcare provider whose errors were particularly egregious
Harmed Due to Medical Malpractice? Contact Us Today
If you or someone you love has been harmed due to medical malpractice, our Cleveland personal injury attorneys are here to help.
Our managing partner, Chris Mellino, is respected throughout northeast Ohio for his ability to make sure no fact is overlooked in medical malpractice cases. He has helped countless clients hold negligent healthcare providers accountable for their actions.
Additionally, we take on a small number of cases so that each client receives the individualized care and attention they deserve. As such, we only pursue compensation for clients who have suffered a severe injury or disability. This enables us to hold the most egregious healthcare providers accountable and lessen their ability to harm additional patients.
We encourage you to contact The Mellino Law Firm LLC today at (440) 333-3800 to schedule a free consultation.