Case Process in Medical Malpractice
Medical malpractice has the potential to cause severe injuries to a patient. In addition to physical ailments, it could also produce emotional trauma, possibly scaring the person into avoiding future medical treatment altogether. If you suffered injuries in this way, a skilled medical malpractice lawyer could help. They could explain the case process of a medical malpractice claim to you and fight for the compensation you need to recover and move forward.
What is the First Step Before Filing a Malpractice Suit?
Medical malpractice cases in Ohio have a one-year statute of limitations. It is vital that you contact an attorney as soon as you think malpractice occurred because many things need to happen before they can file a lawsuit on your behalf.
The first major step in the process before filing a lawsuit is to order the patient’s medical records for review by a third party. Unfortunately, some large hospital systems have thousands of records requests and it could take two or three months to be sent out. A doctor that’s unrelated to the case must then review the records, which could take time if there are thousands of pages. The doctor will form an opinion on whether they believe there is a good case to be had for malpractice. If there is, then the doctor must sign an affidavit of merit. The affidavit claims, under oath, that they believe the medical provider breached the standard of care, which caused damages to the patient. Given how time-consuming this phase could be, it is critical to seek out an attorney immediately if malpractice is suspected.
Evidence in Malpractice Claims
The most important evidence in these claims are the medical records and bills. The medical records should tell a story about what happened during the visit to the hospital. Sometimes a lawyer may gather information outside of the medical records that are relevant, such as witness statements, pictures taken by the family, and a public record request for history on the medical provider in question, including everything from the State Medical Board. Evidence of previous complications from that provider might bolster the claimant’s case. A medical malpractice attorney could present this evidence as part of a story to argue that the injured person deserves to recover damages.
Determining if the Hospital Has Liability
One of the key determinations in the case process is whether the facility itself played a part in the medical incident. Cleveland has many great doctors available at the Cleveland Clinic or University Hospital. However, that does not mean these facilities are immune to mistakes, especially since they are teaching hospitals, which have numerous residents and inexperienced doctors on staff. This could make medical errors more likely.
Hospitals also increase the risk of malpractice when they put profits over patients, such as booking doctors for multiple surgeries at a time or understaffing their nursing department.
Helpful Advice Outside of the Case Process
Patients should follow their doctor’s orders exactly as instructed so they are not considered partially at fault later. In addition, they should be aware of the one-year statute of limitations. Contacting an attorney two weeks before the deadline will do no good because that is not enough time to build up a case.
It is also wise for them to take care of their health, even in areas unaffected by medical conditions that the malpractice might have affected. Good overall health could make it harder for the defense team to argue that the patient’s poor health was the primary reason for their injuries instead of the caregiver’s actions.
Let an Attorney Guide You Through the Medical Malpractice Case Process
If you are suffering the effects from a medical mistake, you should not have to shoulder the burden of a lawsuit on your own. Contact a local attorney from Tittle & Perlmuter who can explain the case process for medical malpractice and be your advocate in court. Take the first step by placing a call now for a free case evaluation.