Can I Sue If I Got Worse After Surgery?

Can I sue if I got worse after surgery?
Can I sue if I got worse after surgery?

No one wants to hear that they need surgery to correct some medical problem. It’s even worse if complications from surgery make you sicker than you were when you started.

Sometimes complications are unavoidable. But if the complications you suffer are foreseeable consequences of the surgery that you were not told about ahead of time or the doctor otherwise didn’t follow procedure, you might be entitled to compensation for medical negligence.

What Is Medical Negligence?

Medical negligence is the legal term for a doctor making careless or preventable errors that result in a patient getting worse instead of better.

In order for you to make a negligence claim, two things have to be true:

  • Your doctor made a preventable mistake. Usually, though not always, the mistake resulted from the doctor not following proper procedures.
  • You were injured as the result of the mistake.

You must be able to prove medical negligence in order to file a malpractice lawsuit in Ohio. If you can’t prove that the error was preventable or that your injury resulted from that error, you will not be able to win your case.

Ohio Statute of Limitations

In most cases, you have one year from the date of the injury to file a lawsuit. If you wait too long, you will lose the opportunity to file.

In some cases, however, you may be able to file for one year from the date you discovered the injury rather than the date the injury occurred. This is only allowed if there was no way you would have discovered the injury sooner. For example, if you were expected to have certain symptoms during your recovery period, you wouldn’t be able to discover the injury until the recovery period had passed without your symptoms getting better.

Ohio Cap on Damages

In Ohio, there is a cap on non-economic damages — that is, damages that occurred as a result of intangibles like pain and suffering. This is a different class of damages than economic damages such as the amount of wages you lost as a result of being out of work after your injury.

Under Ohio law, there is no cap on economic damages but you are limited to the greater of $250,000 or three times the plaintiff’s economic damages. In most cases, your non-economic damages are also limited to a maximum of $350,000 even if you were awarded a large amount of economic damages. However, if you were permanently injured or disabled as a result of the doctor’s error, you may collect damages of up to $1 million.

Ohio’s medical malpractice laws are complex, so it’s best to talk to a lawyer if you were injured as the result of surgery. Contact Friedman, Domiano & Smith for a consultation today!

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