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In our civil justice system, all persons are expected to be reasonably careful when it comes to the health and safety of others around them. Failure to do so is considered negligence, and injuries or damages that result can give rise to a personal injury case. The standard of what constitutes this duty of “reasonable care” is defined by the circumstances presented in the case, which sometimes includes the relationship between the parties, or the defendant’s occupation.

What are the Basic Requirements to File a Medical Malpractice Claim?

The consequences of being hurt by a medical professional is not something you are going to have to prove to yourself, but you will need to prove it to the court. Every medical malpractice claim that stands up to the pressures of litigation in Ohio has undoubtedly met a set of certain basic requirements. If you think you have a case but are not entirely positive, review the four requirements for a claim below, or contact Rourke and Blumenthal LLC today. Our Columbus medical malpractice attorneys have 75+ years of collective legal and trial experience, allowing us to recover more than $300 million for past clients. The four basic requirements for a medical malpractice claim include:

  1. Doctor-patient relationship: There must be evidence of an official doctor-patient relationship existed between you and the person you said has done you harm. Did you agree to their medical services? Did they agree to provide them in accordance to their occupation? Usually any sort of direct treatment will automatically constitute this relationship.
  2. Doctor negligence: This is the key factor to your case. Medical professional negligence can occur in so many ways, but it can also be difficult to prove definitively. You will need to show that the harm you suffered could have been avoided if another doctor treated you. If there is evidence that reasonable care was not used during your treatment, such as a surgeon performing while exhausted, negligence is likely at play.
  3. Injury cause: The negligence you believe with which your doctor acted must be tied somehow to your injury. For example, if you were being treated for cancer and fell sick shortly after chemotherapy, it could be an unavoidable consequence of the treatment, not a side effect of some sort of negligence or misdiagnoses. If chemotherapy would have been deemed unnecessary by a more competent doctor, however, the same illness could be negligence-related.
  4. Actual or specific damages: Negligence and illness do not mean much to a court if no actual damage is caused to you. If you want to pursue some sort of compensation for the medical malpractice, you need to show that you were harmed physically or mentally, had to pay for treatments yourself, or are now facing reduced wages or income at work.

What is "Medical Negligence?"

Although cases involving doctors, surgeons, nurses, therapists, hospitals, nursing homes, or other health professionals are often labeled as “medical negligence” in print media and on television, the Ohio Revised Code does not actually include any definition of the phrase. From a legal perspective, the word “negligence” is essentially meaningless, as the required elements in these cases are the same as other personal injury or wrongful death lawsuits: (1) Did the defendant act - or fail to act - in a manner that a reasonably careful doctor, surgeon, nurse, or other health care provider would have under the circumstances? (2) If not, did the medical negligence cause injury or damages to the plaintiff?

Medical negligence (or “negligence”) can manifest itself in many forms, and can have devastating effects for patients and their loved ones. Indeed, studies have suggested that preventable medical errors are the third-leading cause of death in our country behind only heart disease and cancer. In addition to the physical harms and loss of life that these errors can cause, they oftentimes place tremendous financial burdens on the families involved due to the need for additional treatment costs, and sometimes long-term care. Some of the more common scenarios that can give rise to a claim against a medical professional include an incorrect or untimely diagnosis, retained surgical items, prescription errors, early discharge from a facility, delays during the birthing process, and improper (or obsolete) treatment recommendations.

Causes of medical negligence that frequently show up in courtroom cases include:

  • Exhaustion and fatigue (long hours)
  • Miscommunication between branches of clinic
  • Inadequate staff on-hand for emergencies
  • Ineptitude and a general lack of supervision
  • Illegible prescriptions
  • Misidentified patients (clerical errors)

While one can acknowledge that it can be difficult and very stressful to work in a hospital or medical clinic, providers who hold themselves out as professionals and offer medical services to the public should not be excused for failing to exercise a reasonable level of care. When people come to a professional for medical treatment, they have the right to expect it to be accurate, efficient, and safe. They should not have to worry about whether or not they are going to go home in a worse conditions than when they arrived there in the first place.

At Rourke & Blumenthal, LLC, our Columbus medical malpractice attorneys have a decades of experience in the effective pursuit of medical negligence cases. Our record of success includes the following;

  • A $3.5 Million settlement for a patient who suffered an anoxic brain injury after providers failed to monitor him after he had been given narcotic medication
  • A $2.7 Million settlement for the family of a young child who died as a result of a prescription error
  • A $5.3 Million combined verdict and settlement for a woman who suffered paralysis due to delays in the treatment of a spinal epidural abscess
  • A $4.8 Million settlement for the wrongful death of a patient who contracted meningitis during a procedure as a result of contaminated equipment
  • A $1.3 Million verdict for the wrongful death of a man who died from complications of excessive chemotherapy treatments

How Long You Have to File a Claim

Under Ohio law, medical negligence cases are typically governed by a one-year statute of limitations period during which a case must be filed or it is forever barred. If an injury is not discovered right away the one year clock begins ticking on the date of discovery, or the date the injury should have reasonable been discovered.

Ohio does, however, impose a four year statute of repose. This means that not matter the date of discovery there is a maximum of four years to file a claim. There are other exceptions to the one year rule for special circumstances. Furthermore, the investigation and review of medical records can sometimes be a months-long process before it can be determined if a case is viable. If you have a case, contact our medical malpractice lawyers as soon as possible to get started.

If you believe that you, or a loved one, has been harmed as a result of a medical error, please contact the Columbus medical injury attorneys at Rourke and Blumenthal LLC as soon as possible.

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