Medical Malpractice FAQ
Columbus Personal Injury Attorneys
Medical professionals are entrusted with the well-being of their patients
and have a duty to see that no undue harm befalls those under their care.
When the negligent actions of a doctor, nurse, or other medical workers
cause an injury, they can be held liable for resulting damages. If you
or a loved one has experienced an injury due to medical malpractice, it
can be difficult to know what steps you should take, who should be held
accountable, or where to turn for help. At Rourke and Blumenthal, we know
that each situation will be unique and if your questions are not covered
in this FAQ, do not hesitate to contact our Columbus personal injury attorneys
and tell us about your claim.
What Constitutes a Medical Malpractice Claim?
Who Can Be Held Liable for My Injuries?
What If My Doctor Did Not Explain the Risk Involved with a Treatment?
If I Signed a Consent Form, Can I still Claim Damages?
What damages can I recover?
How Long Is the Medical Malpractice Claims Process?
What Can I Do To Support My Claim?
What Should I Do If I Am Unsure If I Have a Claim?
Like other personal injury claims, medical malpractice cases are based
on proving negligence. Victims will need to show that their injuries occurred
as a direct result of the negligent actions of a medical provider. In
order for a claim to be successful, a legitimate medical relationship
must exist between the accused and the patient and the negligent action
must lead to specific damages. Examples of medical malpractice can include
incorrect prescriptions for medication or failure to inform a doctor of
a critical change in a patient’s condition.
Generally, any medical professional, including doctors, nurses, and hospital
staff, can be liable for injuries caused by their negligent actions. The
parties responsible for injuries in a malpractice claim will depend on
the nature of your treatment and who you received medical care from. In
certain cases, the hospital itself can be liable. For example, if a hospital
loses medical records or does not perform due diligence in their training
or hiring, it may be accountable for injuries.
A doctor must educate patients as to the nature of a recommended treatment.
This lays the foundation for informed consent. All procedures contain
an element of risk and a patient must be informed about the potential
benefits and consequences of a treatment in order to make an informed
decision. For example, if a medication leads to a heart attack and the
doctor did not explain that this was a potential side effect, they may
be liable for damages.
Yes. Simply because a signed consent form exists and may be valid, doctors
and hospital staff are not excused from acting negligently. Although it
may be more difficult to claim monetary compensation in these cases, if
the doctor performed additional actions not previously outlined, you may
still have a medical malpractice case.
There are two types of damages which a victim can seek to recover in a
medical malpractice case: economic and non-economic. Economic damages
generally include compensation for measurable financial expenses including
hospitalization bills, future medical treatment, lost income from missed
work, and reduced earning capacity. Non-economic damages are harder to
quantify and include restitution for damages such as pain and suffering,
decreased quality of life, and depression. While the State of Ohio places
certain caps on non-economic damages, there may not be a limit to possible
awards for economic damages.
Despite this being among the questions most frequently asked, there is
no one answer. Medical malpractice claims can be tremendously complex
and every case will have unique circumstances. While settlements out of
court can be relatively quick, when litigation becomes necessary and claims
go to court, the process can be longer. With so much on the line, it often
makes sense to spare no expense in a patient’s case and each factor
can contribute to the overall length of the claims process.
Gather evidence. It cannot be overstated that every piece of data you collect
has the potential to help your case. From the earliest available moment,
keep detailed records of your injuries and interactions with medical staff
and insurance companies. Take pictures and videos of injuries and keep
copies of your medical bills. Certain injuries may not present symptoms
for days or weeks after a doctor’s visit and it is important to
keep accurate records of all changes in your situation. If you are unsure
of which steps might be important, a knowledgeable medical malpractice
attorney can consult with you to maximize the chances of a successful outcome.
If you suspect that you or a loved one has been the victim of medical practice,
our firm can help you to determine if you have a claim. Our Columbus personal
injury and medical malpractice attorneys possess more than 75 years of
combined experience and have recovered more than $300 million in settlements
for our past clients. At Rourke and Blumenthal, we are highly knowledgeable
of the regulations and laws associated with medical malpractice cases
and can fight to help you claim every penny that you deserve.
Call (614) 321-3212 to
schedule an initial FREE case evaluation and speak to an attorney today.