If you went to a healthcare provider in Ohio and suffered serious harm, you might be wondering whether you are eligible to file a medical malpractice lawsuit. Each medical negligence case has its own set of facts, so it is essential to discuss your options for filing a claim with an Ohio medical malpractice attorney. It is difficult to say with certainty whether you have a valid claim until you speak with a lawyer. In the meantime, however, we want to provide you with additional information about medical malpractice claims in Ohio. The following are five things you should know about filing your lawsuit.
Medical Malpractice Claims Must Be Filed Within One Year, But Some Exceptions Exist
If you have plans to file a medical malpractice lawsuit, you should begin working with a medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible to ensure that you do not miss the time window for filing a claim. Under Ohio medical malpractice law, medical negligence lawsuits in general must be filed within one year from the date of the negligent act that resulted in your injury. In the context of a medical negligence case, the negligent act is the failure of a healthcare provider to uphold the established standard of care for similar healthcare professionals. Just because a medical procedure does not result in a positive recovery, does not in and of itself mean that medical negligence has occurred. There are some exceptions to the one year statute of limitations for medical negligence claims. Most significantly, if a patient could not have reasonably known about an injury immediately, then that patient may have one year from the date he/she discovered or reasonably should have discovered the injury to file a claim. It is always best practice however to file within one year of the act of negligence to avoid this possible defense.
Plaintiffs Must Get an Affidavit of Merit to File a Lawsuit
Ohio medical malpractice law requires a potential plaintiff to get an “Affidavit of Merit” before she or he can file a medical malpractice lawsuit. The Affidavit of Merit provides information from a healthcare provider expressing an opinion that the medical professional’s treatment fell below the acceptable standard of care. Obtaining an affidavit of merit takes time so the window for evaluating a potential medical malpractice case, in practical terms, can be even shorter than the one year statute of limitations. Again, the best practice is to contact a medical malpractice attorney as soon as you think you may have received medical care which was below the acceptable standards.
Non-Economic Damages in Medical Negligence Cases are Capped
Ohio’s medical malpractice law does not cap economic damages (such as medical bills or lost wages), but it does place a cap on non-economic damages (such as pain and suffering). A plaintiff’s non-economic damages may be capped at $250,000, or three times the amount of the economic damages awarded. The non-economic damage cap does not apply to wrongful death caused by an act of medical negligence.
Many Different Types of Healthcare Providers Could Be at Fault
While many patients think only a doctor can be liable for medical malpractice, in fact many different healthcare providers may be responsible, from surgeons to family physicians to pharmacists or nursing staff as well as psychologist, dentists, radiologists, etc. Depending upon the case, even a hospital or a laboratory may be responsible for injuries in a medical negligence case.
Malpractice Might Not Be the Cause of Your Injury
Medical negligence is certainly the cause of many different types of healthcare-related injuries, yet it is important for plaintiffs to know that unsuccessful medical outcomes are not necessarily caused by negligence. All medical procedures have acceptable risks (i.e., even if a healthcare provider gives a patient the best care possible, an unwelcome outcome still may occur). It is important to consult with an attorney if you believe medical malpractice has occurred so that an analysis of your potential case can be initiated.
Contact an Ohio Medical Malpractice Attorney
If you believe that you or a loved one has suffered an injury due to a medical professional’s failure to provide the acceptable standard of medical care, you may have a viable medical malpractice lawsuit but it is imperative for you to act quickly. One of the aggressive Ohio medical malpractice attorneys at our firm can discuss your claim with you. Contact Nager, Romaine & Schneiberg Co. L.P.A. to learn more about our services.