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If you were the victim of medical malpractice, what happens next?

Like many other Ohio residents, you more than likely went to your doctor, hospital or emergency room looking for relief from an ailment or injury. You expected to be accurately diagnosed and prescribed a treatment that would cure your illness or heal your injury. Unfortunately, something went seriously wrong, and now you are facing an uncertain future.

What is the first step in making a medical malpractice claim?

Doctors, other medical professionals and hospital administrators are not always willing to admit that something went wrong. Even if you get an apology, that does not mean that you will receive the compensation you deserve. You could, and probably should, contact the State of Ohio Medical Board, which will investigate the complaint and take the appropriate disciplinary action, but again, that does not get your medical bills paid or compensate you for other damages, such as lost wages.

Therefore, it would be a good idea to consult with an attorney first. Medical malpractice cases can be complex, and unraveling the medical jargon to get you and your family some answers requires someone familiar with medicine and the law. A medical mistake can happen at any time after you walk into a medical facility. Some of the more common mistakes include the following:

  • Inadequate patient history
  • Wrong or delayed diagnosis
  • Improper treatment
  • Surgical mistakes (pre-surgery, during surgery and post-surgery)
  • Failure to properly monitor a patient
  • Medication mistakes (including anesthesia errors)
  • Birth injuries (to the infant or mother)

Determining where things went wrong often requires another doctor to review all of the available information. An assessment will be made regarding what went wrong and when. That information will be provided to your attorney, who will then assess whether there is a legal basis for a medical malpractice claim. More than likely, you will be offered a settlement at some point. Do not take it until and unless your attorney determines whether it is in your best interests. The insurance company is not working for you and will often offer an amount that is only a fraction of which you are entitled.

Many law firms advertise that they handle medical malpractice cases, but good marketing and experience are two different things. Be sure that whomever you choose to represent you can handle complex and convoluted cases. Nothing less than your future is at stake, so take your time and find the right attorney to advocate for you and your family while you focus on healing and moving forward with your life.