Medical malpractice may become apparent during diagnosis, treatment, and even years after treatment occurred. Depending on when errors occur and when they are discovered, your medical malpractice lawsuit may involve varied and complex legal issues.
Below is a review of how the stage at which malpractice occurs or becomes apparent may affect your case. Before continuing, though, it should be stressed that anyone who has been injured as the result of medical malpractice in Ohio should consult an experienced malpractice attorney as soon as possible. Having an attorney like those of Lowe Eklund Wakefield Co., LPA representing you and your family can both limit your stress and improve your chance to recover the compensation you deserve.
Diagnosis, Treatment, and Post-Treatment: How the Stages May Affect Your Claim
Medical malpractice occurring during the diagnostic phase is generally split into failure to diagnose and misdiagnosis. In both types of diagnostic malpractice, a doctor or doctors fail to accurately gauge your medical condition and the delay of, or failure to administer, treatment results in injury, death, or exacerbation of symptoms.
Claims based on diagnostic errors typically involve extensive expert testimony to quantify the injury suffered as the result of a missed or incorrect diagnosis. Assessing the outcome versus the likely outcome had a proper diagnosis been made involves many factors, but it can be done. An experienced malpractice lawyer will work with experts to develop an accurate picture of the damage done by a negligent diagnosis.
Medical malpractice during treatment can come in a variety of forms, including surgical malpractice, medication errors, nursing and staff-related errors, and failure to follow local norms. When medical malpractice occurs during the treatment phase—particularly in a hospital setting—many physicians, nurses, anesthesiologists, and others may be implicated.
A claim based on a treatment error will likely involve filing claims against numerous doctors. This is because Ohio’s statute of limitations generally requires a lawsuit to be filed within one year. While one year may seem like a long time, medical malpractice lawsuits are complex and can take several years to investigate and resolve. Pursuing a lawsuit against all potentially responsible parties is the only way to ensure that a claim is brought against the liable party within the statutory period.
There are some situations where medical malpractice occurs during diagnosis or treatment but does not become apparent until some time in the future. For example, if a medical or surgical error does not cause immediate pain or medical conditions, but ultimately leads to physical issues at a later date, the injured patient may still be able to maintain a medical malpractice lawsuit.
There are a couple of formal rules that apply in this situation. First, that statute of limitations begins to run when there is some indication that medical malpractice may have occurred. Post-treatment indicators of medical malpractice only allow for a delayed filing of a medical malpractice if there were no indications at the time of treatment that malpractice may have occurred.
Additionally, Ohio law includes a statute of repose for medical malpractice claims. Patients must bring a medical malpractice lawsuit within 4 years of the date the malpractice occurred. The exceptions to this are for lawsuits based on foreign objects left inside the body during surgery, and a one-year statute of limitations for lawsuits filed after 3 years but before the 4-year deadline.
Lowe Eklund Wakefield Co., LPA – Ohio Medical Malpractice Lawyers
No matter when malpractice occurs, you and your family have the right to pursue legal action following injury or wrongful death. Call or email now for your free consultation.