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How do you get started with a medical malpractice claim?

When your medical care has left you worse off then you were before you started, it’s difficult to know what to do. If you believe that you’re a victim of medical malpractice, how do you start to ask for the compensation you’re due?

First, you need to understand the essence of a medical malpractice claim. Because medical care never has a guaranteed positive outcome, the big question is whether or not your medical care was somehow negligent. In other words, would you have been given the same level of care by another source in the same sort of situation?

The context of the medical care is always an important consideration. An Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) treating an accident victim at the side of the road doesn’t have the same luxuries, including diagnostic tools, at his or her disposal that a surgeon in a big city hospital has available — so what represents “standard” medical care in one situation or place may be quite substandard in another.

What constitutes medical malpractice? Here are some examples:

  • Misdiagnosis or the failure to diagnose a condition
  • Prescription errors
  • Delays in treatment that caused irreversible harm
  • Anesthesia errors
  • Wrong-site surgical errors
  • Wrong-patient surgical errors
  • Patient abandonment

Naturally, these are just some of the issues patients face. You need to basically asses whether or not your outcome would have likely been different if your provider had taken just a little more care.

Talk to the medical provider

It’s often wise to approach the medical provider before you initiate any actual legal proceedings. Sometimes the provider will offer an explanation that changes your perspective or will take steps to remedy the situation.

Be conscious of time limits

In Ohio, the time limit for filing a medical malpractice claim is only one year — not the two-year limit on most personal injury claims. Don’t overlook this. Waiting to act on your instincts could cost you the chance to make a claim altogether.

Get a certificate of merit

You need to have another physician review your case and certify the legitimacy of your claim. If another physician says that your original provider failed to adhere to accepted practices and caused your injuries, you can proceed to file a lawsuit over your injuries. If you aren’t sure how where to find a physician willing to help, an attorney may be able to direct you.

Source: FindLaw, “First Steps in a Medical Malpractice Case,” accessed May 25, 2018