What Does “Medical Malpractice” Really Mean?

December 18, 2015 | Crandall & Pera Law
What Does “Medical Malpractice” Really Mean?

In the simplest of terms, medical malpractice occurs when a patient is injured by a medical professional during the course of medical treatment, and that injury was the result of an act of negligence. This is a somewhat over-simplified definition because each state has its own rules about the process for filing the lawsuit, the time limitations and requirements for medical experts. In order to prove medical negligence you must be able to prove that the act or omission of medical negligence that caused injury or harm deviated from the standard of care or the generally accepted methods or approaches used by doctors in the same specialty to care for patients with a similar condition or under comparable circumstances. You must be able to prove that the medical professional breached the standard of care in causing your injury. You and your attorney would find a medical expert who would testify and show evidence of how your doctor's actions or omissions deviated from what another doctor might do in the same situation.

Was there an injury or harm done?

In addition to proving the medical mistake or the breach of the acceptable standard of care, you must be able to prove that the medical negligence directly caused the injury or harm. Here are some basic examples of common mistakes that might lead to a claim of medical malpractice:
    • Anesthesia errors
    • Failure to diagnose a disease
    • Failure to monitor a patient after surgery
    • Wrong site surgery
    • Amputation errors
    • Misdiagnosis
    • Birth injuries
    • Surgical mistakes
    • Medication errors

Statutory Rules for medical malpractice cases in Ohio & Kentucky

Under Ohio law, you must file a medical malpractice lawsuit within one year after the cause of action occurs. You, as the claimant, must give notice to the prospective defendant before you file the actual lawsuit. You will be required to hire the services of an expert to testify with regard to the breach of standard of care, and whether that breach caused an injury. You will also have to provide an affidavit of merit with regard to the facts of the case. When you prevail in a medical malpractice case, in a jury trial, the jury decides on the amount of damages you will receive for your economic and non-economic losses. Ohio has placed a cap on non-economic damages for medical malpractice of $250,000 or three times the economic damages with a maximum of $350,000 per plaintiff and $500,000 per occurrence. If the plaintiff has suffered any kind of permanent physical deformity, lost a limb, an organ or has been left with a permanent injury so severe that the person is unable to care for themselves, the maximum amount increase to $500,000 per plaintiff and $1 million per occurrence. Kentucky also has a one year statute of limitations for malpractice. The plaintiff is required to hire an expert to testify as to how the medical professional breached the acceptable standard of care, but there is no requirement for an affidavit of merit in Kentucky. There is also no cap on damages recoverable in medical malpractice lawsuits. If you are considering filing a medical malpractice lawsuit, the experienced medical malpractice attorneys at Crandall & Pera Law can answer your questions and give you sound, legal advice. Contact us today for a free consultation at one of our offices in Ohio or Kentucky.