The legal system is often complicated and difficult to maneuver, especially for those without extensive experience. Even a relatively simple personal injury case involves critical deadlines, technical procedural and filing requirements, and many other elements most injury victims aren’t aware of.
The path to fair compensation is even more challenging for victims of medical malpractice. Some of the legal provisions and practical differences that make pursuing a medical malpractice claim in Ohio especially difficult include:
- A shorter statute of limitations than general personal injury claims (one year for many medical malpractice claims, versus two years for most personal injury claims);
- Difficulty in determining when the statute of limitations begins to run, since it may be difficult to determine when the cause of action “accrued,” and there are provisions for extending the time to file certain types of claims (such as those that could not reasonably have been discovered during the applicable limitations period);
- The requirement in Rule 10(D)(2) of the Ohio Rules of Civil Procedure that a medical malpractice complaint be accompanied by an “affidavit of merit” from a qualified expert witness;
- The complexity of medical evidence and testimony and the need for medical experts in the investigation and trial of a medical malpractice claim;
- Damage caps in Ohio medical malpractice cases.
Avoiding Medical Malpractice Pitfalls
It may appear that the deck is stacked against Ohio victims of medical malpractice. The timeline for filing a lawsuit may be very limited, at least one expert witness is required just to file the claim, and there’s a limit on the amount of money a judge or jury can award the injured patient. However, medical malpractice victims can and do recover fair compensation, both through negotiated settlements and in Ohio courts.
At Plevin & Gallucci, we have obtained several substantial six-figure settlements for victims of medical malpractice. Some of these cases have involved:
- Nerve damage during hand surgery;
- Failure of a medical facility to diagnose testicular injury;
- Failure of a nursing home facility to diagnose a decubitus ulcer;
- Ureter injury during a gall bladder biopsy.
Early Steps Toward Protecting Your Medical Malpractice Claim
What you do after discovering (or even beginning to suspect) that you’ve been the victim of medical malpractice can strengthen or weaken your claim. For example, it’s important that you:
- Don’t ignore symptoms or allow them to worsen unchecked;
- Seek medical assessment and care from a different physician/facility and follow-up as needed;
- Maintain medical records, notes of conversations with physicians, and other evidence;
- Retain an experienced medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible.
Some of these steps may be difficult. For example, it is natural that a victim of medical malpractice would be anxious and distrustful when seeking medical care. Putting faith in a new physician after your trust has been betrayed and moving forward with treatment necessitated by medical malpractice can be one of the toughest challenges you’ll face. However, neglecting follow-up treatment can put both your health and your ability to recover fair compensation at risk.
How Plevin & Gallucci Can Help
The legal system can be difficult and confusing under the best of circumstances. For a person suffering the effects of medical malpractice, the complex statute of limitations and significant legal hurdles associated with this type of case can be overwhelming.
Fortunately, you don’t have to manage it alone.
When you retain one of our experienced medical malpractice attorneys to represent you, we will:
- Assess the limitations period based on Ohio law and the specifics of your case;
- Ensure that notice and/or filing deadlines are met;
- Identify and work with one or more experts to fulfill the affidavit requirement;
- Work with medical experts to assess medical records and show that the treating physician, facility or other provider did not fulfill the appropriate standard of care;
- Work with medical, occupational, economic, and other experts as needed to establish damages.
One of the most significant challenges in establishing that medical malpractice occurred is the reluctance of many in the medical profession to go on record criticizing the actions or decisions of their colleagues. Working with a long-established personal injury and medical malpractice firm like Plevin & Gallucci helps alleviate that issue, since we can draw on our network of experts in various fields to build your case and establish damages.
It is also important to note that the Ohio medical malpractice damages cap applies only to non-economic damages and it’s tied to economic damages. With limited exceptions, the cap on non-economic damages is either $250,000 or three times the economic damages–whichever is greater. That means that clearly establishing all possible economic damages has the potential to increase not only that direct compensation, but also the availability of damages for intangibles such as pain and suffering.