Toledo Ohio Medical Malpractice Lawyers
Choosing the Right Lawyer
Before hiring a Medical Malpractice Lawyer, schedule an initial consultation. At that first meeting, which generally is free, you will have an opportunity to interview that attorney concerning their qualifications and experience dealing with medical malpractice cases. This will help you determine if this is the attorney you would like to handle your case. You will be looking for an attorney that has experience, knowledge in their respective practice, and who not only listens but patiently answers your questions. That attorney should provide you with a realistic cost estimate and a case-management strategy that agrees with your expectations. Finally, you must determine if the attorney fee is fair and reasonable. At Sawan & Sawan, our personal injury lawyers offer no-risk, free initial consultations.
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With Great Power, Comes Great Responsibility
Having dealt with hundreds of injured individuals throughout our 35+ combined years of practice, we have no doubt that the vast majority of Doctors in America are responsible, skilled professionals. However, there are always situations where a medical professional takes a course of action (or fails to) which falls below the standard of care we as a society expect. When you chose a health professional, you put your full trust and faith that you will be properly cared for squarely in their hands. If those same hands lead to a preventable injury, you have the absolute right to seek legal recovery.
Ohio medical malpractice law offers legal protection to patients who have been negligently injured by a health care provider. Ohio health care providers must administer treatment within a standard of care that other experienced health care providers in the same profession would use. When failure to meet this standard of care results in injury to the patient, the health care provider is medically negligent and can be sued for medical malpractice. Common situations in which an Ohio medical malpractice suit might arise include: surgical injuries; errors in prescribing medication; misdiagnosis or a failure to diagnose; mistreatment or a failure to treat.
Medical Malpractice cases are not like typical personal injury cases. They require a special level of skill and attention, as well as a unique command of medical and legal knowledge. At Sawan & Sawan, our family of lawyers have over 35+ years recovering millions of dollars for our clients. We have unique abilities to synthesize medical data and apply it to the law, abilities that have frequently gained the praise of our clients. Regardless of who you hire to represent you in your medical malpractice case, it is vital that you find a firm with in depth knowledge of medical malpractice cases – and experience in successfully representing victims of medical malpractice. Remember that just because a lawyer has handed personal injury claims – such as car accidents or dog bites – does not necessarily mean they are qualified to handle this complex area of the law.
Medical Malpractice Requires Immediate Action
In Ohio, all Medical Malpractice actions are governed by what is known as a Statute of Limitation. This time period governs the period of time in which you can bring a medical malpractice action. Failure to do so within this time period can mean the loss of the right to bring the claim forever. This is why time is of the essence in medical malpractice cases. In Ohio, the Statute of Limitations for medical malpractice cases is one year, but can be extended in some circumstances by the use of a “180 day letter”. More specifically, medical malpractice actions in Ohio are governed by Ohio Revised Code 2305.113.
an action upon a medical, dental, optometric, or chiropractic claim shall be commenced within one year after the cause of action accrued.
However, as stated above, O.R.C. 2515.113(b)1 states that “If prior to the expiration of the one-year period specified in division (A) of this section, a claimant who allegedly possesses a medical, dental, optometric, or chiropractic claim gives to the person who is the subject of that claim written notice that the claimant is considering bringing an action upon that claim, that action may be commenced against the person notified at any time within one hundred eighty days after the notice is so given.”
In Ohio, the statue of limitations is one year from the dates of surgery, termination of the doctor-patient relationship, or the date the patient discovers or should have discovered the malpractice whichever occurs the latest in time. There is a four year statute of repose which when reached will bar any further action. Ohio caps the amount of noneconomic damages a patient may recover.
Medical Experts and Affidavits of Merits
Pursuant to Ohio Revised Code 2323.451 “At the time of filing a complaint asserting a medical claim, the plaintiff shall file with the complaint, pursuant to rule 10(D) of the Rules of Civil Procedure, an affidavit of merit relative to each defendant named in the complaint or a motion to extend the period of time to file an affidavit of merit.”
This affidavit, under Ohio law, must meet certain technical requirements. In this filing, the medical expert (known as the “affiant”) must declare under oath that he or she has:
- Reviewed all applicable medical records available to the Plaintiff; and
- Is familiar with the applicable medical standard of care for the treatment at issue; and
- Believes that, based on the foregoing, the standard of care was not met; and
- The plaintiff was injured as a result.
It’s vital to remember that if you file a medical malpractice claim without an affidavit of merit, the consequence is the dismissal of the lawsuit. Additionally, the filing of an affidavit of merit that doesn’t comply with Rule 10(d)2 of the Rules of Civil Procedure can also result in dismissal.
Defective Medical Devices
Medical devices have great potential to help and heal various problems in the body, but if improperly tested or manufactured, the faulty devices can become deadly. Problems resulting from a defective medical device need to be documented and monitored very closely to ensure no further damage or injury occur. Multiple parties may be held liable for damages caused by a faulty medical instrument, depending on the circumstances and the means in which it was given. A medical malpractice attorney will help defend your case against liable parties who seek to keep payouts to a bare minimum.
It is important to hire an experienced and aggressive Medical Malpractice Attorney to represent your case against the parties who have caused you harm. Without the help of an attorney, your case may be dismissed, or significantly minimized with an unfair settlement that may not cover the cost of your medical expenses, time off work, emotional distress, etc.
By filing a claim for a defective medical device, you are taking the step to holding all parties associated accountable, whether they are manufacturers, doctors, surgeons, etc. When devices are faulty, there is a huge risk of further injury, both to you and to others who may be advised to use the same device. By taking action as soon as possible, you are potentially saving the lives of others who could be exposed to the same damages that you have. Take the step today and file a claim for your injuries.
Frequently Asked Medical Malpractice Questions
Not every injury that involves a doctor is considered medical malpractice, nor does every mistake qualify as medical malpractice. All states have laws that specify what is considered medical malpractice and under what circumstances. Before a medical malpractice lawyer can file an injury claim or a lawsuit on a client’s behalf, they must first determine if the case has merit. This is the value of seeking a case review by a member of a legal team; a medical malpractice lawyer can determine if your circumstances merit legal action. Learn more here.
An injured person must bring a claim for medical malpractice within a certain time frame before the claim is lost. This time frame is known as the statue of limitations. In Ohio, the statue of limitations is one year from the dates of surgery, termination of the doctor-patient relationship, or the date the patient discovers or should have discovered the malpractice whichever occurs the latest in time. There is a four year statute of repose which when reached will bar any further action. Ohio caps the amount of noneconomic damages a patient may recover.
Presently, there are caps on economic damages. In 2005, however, the Ohio Legislature created new statutes which placed caps on both non-economic and punitive damages in personal injury cases. Although these caps were held to be unconstitutional in prior decisions, In 2007, the Ohio Supreme Court in Arbino v. Johnson & Johnson found them constitutional. Presently, there are no caps for economic damages. As to noneconomic damages for non-catastrophic injuries the cap is the greater of $250,000 OR three times economic damages, subject to a maximum of $350,000 per plaintiff. There are no caps for wrongful deaths or if the plaintiff has suffered a catastrophic injury, such as the loss of the use of a limb, a permanent and substantial physical deformity, or an injury that prevents one from caring for themselves and performing life-sustaining activities. As to punitive damages, Ohio caps them at two times compensatory damages. However, in the case where the defendant is an individual or small employer, the punitive damages are also limited to 10% of net worth, up to a maximum of $350,000.
Just because a lawyer has experience doesn’t mean he or she has experience with medical malpractice cases. Medical Malpractice law is a complex patchwork of medicine, insurance law, contract law, business law and more. As a result, not just any lawyer is accustomed to handling the intricacies of such cases. When you meet with your lawyer for the first time, it is a good idea to find out what their experience is with your specific type of case. If you get the impression that they are unfamiliar with the issues you are having – you should keep looking.
The costs in a medical malpractice case can be considerable – as all such cases in Ohio require an “affidavit of merit”. This often requires the retention of an expert medical professional, which can be rather expensive. In some circumstances, our family of lawyers may pay costs out of pocket for experts and collect them at the conclusion of the case.
After a medical malpractice injury, we frequently recommend that our clients seek treatment from another doctor. This will create documentation of your condition, and can occasionally act as confirmation that the standard of care was breached. While many victims of medical malpractice are understandably scared to continue treating after such a traumatic event, it is vital to the success of a claim to seek independent documentation and treatment.
Dennis E. Sawan
Licensed in Ohio and Florida
Dennis P. Sawan
Licensed in Ohio and Georgia
Christopher A. Sawan
Licensed in Ohio and Michigan