Medical malpractice is distinct from a negative medical outcome. Your medical injury is considered medical malpractice if your doctor failed to live up to their responsibilities as your healthcare provider.
According to Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research, your doctor may have committed malpractice if they:
- Had a duty to care for you and to look out for your welfare,
- Failed in that duty in any way,
- Caused your injury as a direct result of their failure, and
- Caused an injury that had significant negative consequences.
If your case meets all of the above criteria, then you may have a medical malpractice case. To know for sure, however, you may want to discuss the subject with an attorney who handles medical malpractice cases.
How to Prove Medical Malpractice
Proving medical malpractice may require you to present testimony from a medical expert with similar training as the doctor who harmed you, per Ohio Revised Code (ORC) §2743.43. This testimony may need to establish that:
- Your doctor’s actions fell below a reasonable standard of medical care
- A different doctor in the same position would likely have taken different actions that would have avoided your harm
One final note: medicine is a complex, ever-evolving field. It is entirely possible for a doctor to do their job properly and still not be able to protect their patient from harm. This information is not meant to dismiss your suffering or imply that your injuries have not impacted your life. It is simply to inform you that tragic or undesirable medical outcomes do not necessarily equal medical malpractice. It is important to understand this distinction before you begin a lawsuit.
How to Identify and Calculate Your Damages
In your lawsuit, you may sue for economic damages and non-economic damages. Economic damages refer to monetary losses. They may include:
- Medical expenses: if you needed additional treatment to mitigate the damage done by the malpractice
- Loss of wages: if your injuries temporarily prevented you from earning a living
- Loss of employment: if your injuries prevent you from returning to your old job
Noneconomic damages refer to physical or mental losses. They may include:
- Pain and suffering: if your injuries caused physical or emotional distress
- Disfigurement or scarring: if your injuries will leave or have left permanent marks
- Reduced quality of life: if you cannot live as you used to, either because you have had to sacrifice a hobby or get someone else to help you with daily tasks
If you lost a loved one to medical malpractice, you might qualify for a different set of damages that apply only to wrongful death cases. These may include:
- Funeral expenses: if you covered your loved one’s end-of-life expenses
- Loss of financial support: if you were financially dependent on your loved one
- Loss of companionship: if your loved one was a source of support, care, guidance, and so on
How to Get Legal Representation
Even if money is tight, you may still be able to afford a lawyer. Many law firms work on a contingency-fee-basis, meaning that they charge no attorney fees unless and until they help you win compensation. Make sure you discuss payment before hiring any law firm.
Other services that law firms commonly provide include:
- Free case reviews: a law firm can tell you over the phone whether or not they believe you have a viable case and how they can help you with it.
- Conducting an independent investigation: your lawyer can gather as much evidence as possible to try to prove that malpractice occurred.
- Filing forms: a lawyer can notify the responsible parties of your insurance claim or lawsuit, submit evidence, and more.
- Negotiating: you do not have to meet face to face with the responsible party’s insurance company. Your lawyer can sit down with them and fight for a fair settlement on your behalf.
- Scheduling a trial: negotiations are not always successful. In that case, your lawyer can represent you in the courtroom.
- Keeping in touch: your lawyer can manage all communications between you and the liable party. They will also keep you up to date on developments in your case.
The Fitch Law Firm LLC May Be Able to Help You
The Fitch Law Firm LLC defends the rights of medical malpractice victims in Columbus, Ohio. We would like to help you further understand what is considered medical malpractice and, if you qualify, represent you in your fight for compensation.
For a free case review with a member of our team, call the Fitch Law Firm LLC today at (614) 545-3930.