Medical Negligence FAQs
Answered by Our Columbus Medical Negligence Attorneys
Medical professionals are entrusted with the well-being of their patients, and they 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 worker cause an injury, they can be held liable for the resulting damages.
If you or a loved one has experienced an injury due to medical negligence, it can be difficult to know what steps you should take, who should be held accountable, or where to turn for help. At Rourke & 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 Negligence Claim?
Like other personal injury claims, medical negligence 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 negligence can include incorrect prescriptions for medication or a failure to inform a doctor of a critical change in a patient’s condition.
Who Can Be Held Liable for My Injuries?
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 negligence 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.
What If My Doctor Did Not Explain the Risk Involved with a Treatment?
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.
If I Signed a Consent Form, Can I still Claim 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 that were not previously outlined, you may still have a medical negligence case.
What Damages Can I Recover?
There are two types of damages a victim can seek to recover in a medical negligence 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.
How Long Is the Medical Negligence Claims Process?
Despite this being among the questions most frequently asked, there is no one answer. Medical negligence 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.
What Can I Do to Support My Claim?
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 negligence attorney in Columbus can consult with you to maximize the chances of a successful outcome.
What Should I Do If I Am Unsure If I Have a Claim?
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 medical negligence attorneys possess more than 150 years of combined experience and have recovered more than $300 million in compensation for our past clients. At Rourke & Blumenthal, we are highly knowledgeable of the regulations and laws associated with medical negligence cases, and we can fight to help you claim every penny that you deserve.
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