Medical Malpractice FAQ
Medical Malpractice Questions & Answers
Q. What is a medical malpractice case?
A. Medical malpractice is professional negligence by act or omission by a health care provider in which the care provided does not meet the accepted standards of their specialty.
Q. What does it take to successfully prove a medical malpractice case?
A. You must establish four elements to win a malpractice case:
- A legal duty was owed to you, the patient, by either a health care provider or a medical institution.
- That the duty was breached by the provider by not meeting the standard of care. This must be established by expert testimony.
- This failure to meet the standard of care resulted in injury.
- There was actual damage to the patient.
Q. What type of damages can I expect to recover in a medical malpractice case?
A. Your damages may include both economic and non-economic elements. Economic damages can include wages, lost work opportunities, medical bills, and both past and future cost of care expenses. Non-economic damages are assessed for pain and suffering and the loss of enjoyment of life.
Q. What is the statute of limitations in Ohio for a medical malpractice case?
A. Generally speaking, in Ohio, you have one year from the date of the injury to bring your claim. There are exceptions to this, but to gain the exception, your set of facts should be evaluated the first moment that you suspect that the treatment did not go as planned. This is why it is critical to consult an attorney as soon as possible if you suspect a malpractice was committed.
Q. Why is there a requirement for expert testimony in a medical malpractice case?
A. Although there are some exceptions, the law in Ohio requires that a medical malpractice case be proven by expert testimony. The standard of care must be proven by a specialist since the average person is presumed not to know these standards.
Q. How common is medical malpractice?
A. According to a study by Harvard University, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, nearly 98,000 people die as a result of medical malpractice each year in the United States. Despite this high incidence of medical harm, experts predict only 290 of the injured patients seek compensation though a lawsuit.
Q. What if the malpractice results in death?
A. In addition to the damages already discussed, if a family member dies, under Ohio's wrongful death statute, the decedent's spouse, children, parents, and sometimes siblings, may claim damages for the following:
- Loss of support from reasonably expected early death of the decedent.
- Loss of services fo the decedent.
- Loss of society of the decedent.
- Loss of prospective inheritance to the decedent's heirs at law.
- Mental anguish incurred by the surviving spouse, dependent children, parents, or other next of kin.