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Medical Malpractice FAQ

What is a medical malpractice case?

Medical malpractice is professional negligence by act or omission by a health care provider in which the care provided did not meet the accepted standards of their specialty.

What does it take to successfully prove a medical malpractice case?

You must establish four elements to win a malpractice case:

  1. A legal duty was owed to you, the patient, by either a health care provider or a medical institution.
  2. The duty was breached by the provider by not meeting the standard of care. This must be established by expert testimony.
  3. This failure to meet the standard of care resulted in injury.
  4. There was actual damage to the patient.

What type of damages can I expect to recover in a medical malpractice case?

Your damages may include both economic and noneconomic elements. Economic damages can include wages, lost work opportunities, medical bills, and past and future costs of care. Noneconomic damages are assessed for pain and suffering and the loss of enjoyment of life.

What is the statute of limitations in Ohio for a medical malpractice case?

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 an 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 malpractice was committed.

Why is there a requirement for expert testimony in a medical malpractice case?

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.

How common is medical malpractice?

According to a study at 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 that only 290 of the injured patients seek compensation through a lawsuit.

What if the malpractice results in death?

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 of 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