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The Basics of Ohio Medical Malpractice

Medical malpractice rules in Ohio are dictated by Ohio malpractice laws. These laws outline such things as what constitutes a medical malpractice claim, how long a patient has to file such a claim, and how much money a patient is allowed to collect from a medical provider.

If you are considering filing a medical malpractice claim you should first have a basic understanding of Ohio medical malpractice laws.

What Is Ohio Malpractice?

Ohio malpractice law defines medical malpractice as when a medical professional, such as a doctor or a nurse, or a medical institution, such as a hospital, injures a patient during the course of a treatment.

Furthermore, for this injury to be able to be considered medical malpractice, the doctor's actions must represent a breach, or violation, of the standard of care. A standard of care is defined as the generally accepted practices and procedures that all medical professionals in the area would administer for a patient suffering from a particular ailment. This standard of care varies depending on a number of factors, including the patient's general health as well as his or her age.

Most medical malpractice claims come to a resolution before going to trial. Some are settled while others are dropped. However, if your case does go to trial, you and your Ohio malpractice attorney will have to show that the doctor's breach of the standard of care is what directly caused your injury. This can be more difficult than you might think because it requires expert medical knowledge. You will likely have to hire medical experts to testify on your behalf.

Ohio Statute of Limitations for Medical Malpractice Claims

As part of Ohio medical malpractice laws, the state has established a statute of limitations, or time limit, for medical malpractice claims. This statute creates a window of opportunity that an injured patient has to file a claim against a medical provider. Once this window closes, the patient will no longer be able to file a lawsuit.

In Ohio, a patient has one year from when the patient discovers or should have reasonably discovered the injury. In addition, a patient has at most only four years from the date of the action that caused the injury occurred to bring a lawsuit.

This means that if you don't discover your injury until after four years from when the doctor's actions caused your injury, you will not be able to file suit in most situations. However, these limitations are still being debated in the Ohio court system, so you should check with Ohio malpractice attorneys to confirm what the statute of limitations may be for your particular case.

Damage Caps in Ohio

The compensation an injured patient seeks in a medical malpractice case is known as damages. There are several different types of damages that may be applicable in an Ohio malpractice case. Some of these damages have caps, which limit the amount a patient may collect.

Compensatory damages are those that compensate a patient for actual costs, including medical bills and loss of wages for days of work missed. There are no caps in Ohio on compensatory damages.

Non-economic damages compensate a patient for things such as pain and suffering. Ohio medical malpractice law limits the amount of money a patient may collect for non-economic damages. Specifically, a patient cannot receive more than either $250,000 or three times compensatory damages, whichever is greater. Furthermore, there is an additional cap of $350,000 per patient, meaning that three times compensatory damages cannot exceed this amount. However, this amount increases to $500,000 if the patient's injuries are substantial, such as the loss of a limb or severe deformity.

The final type of damages available to an injured patient are known as punitive damages. Punitive damages are intended to punish the medical professional if reckless behavior, such as fraud or malice, was involved in the action that caused the injury. Ohio caps punitive damages at two times compensatory damages.

If you have further questions about Ohio medical malpractice law, you should consult an Ohio medical malpractice attorney.