How to file a medical malpractice lawsuit


Trust – it’s the most important element of the relationship between patient and doctor. When someone’s lying on the operating table or waiting for a life-changing diagnosis, they are at their most vulnerable. Their life is in their doctor’s hands.

Fortunately, we have some of the finest doctors, surgeons, nurses, midwives (to name but a few of the medical community) in the world. It takes years to become a doctor; decades to become a surgeon. But these brilliant people are still humans. Sometimes they get it wrong. Sometimes they make mistakes – a mistake that could cost a patient his or her life.

According to the National Academy of Sciences, medical errors affect 1.5 million people annually, and costs in excess of $3.5 billion each year.

The problem for the individual is that medicine, like the law, is incredibly complex. You need expert knowledge to get your head around it. You could be 100% positive you have been a victim of medical malpractice. But do you have the medical knowledge to prove it? Are you confident you can stand up in court and prove your doctor was negligent?

When medicine meets legalities, things get very complicated, very quickly. That’s why attorneys make this a focus of their practice. As well as knowing the law inside out, they need a detailed understanding of the world of medicine too.

To prove that medical malpractice occurred, you must be able to prove the person in charge of your treatment was negligent. Just because you are unhappy with your treatment or results does not mean the doctor is liable for medical malpractice. The doctor must have been negligent in connection with your diagnosis or treatment.

To sue for malpractice, you must be able to show that the doctor caused you harm in a way a competent doctor would not have. The doctor's care is not required to be the best in the world, but simply ‘reasonably skillful and careful’.  Whether the doctor was ‘reasonably skillful and careful’ is often at the heart of a medical malpractice claim.

Get an experienced attorney

Here’s where we come in. If you want to file a medical malpractice lawsuit, our advice is don’t go it alone. Finding a qualified medical malpractice attorney can mean the difference between receiving compensation for your injuries and walking away empty-handed.

An experienced attorney will be able to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of your case and advise you on a course of action moving forward. In order to prove a claim for medical malpractice, or establish what is called a “prima facie” case for malpractice, it’s your (or rather your attorney’s) job to prove the following:

The ‘duty of care’ questions

The person you are suing had an official duty of care for your health and wellbeing. If you are filing a medical negligence suit, you’re saying the doctor, hospital, or other health care worker violated the ‘standard of care’ that is your right. They did something wrong that another doctor, in similar circumstances, would not have done.

It’s worth noting this is often the most contentious issue in any medical malpractice case.  Medical personnel, with the best skill in the world, may breach the standard of care. But they will rarely admit it.

The expense

Medical malpractice cases can be expensive to litigate since expert witnesses are required to testify, or at least provide sworn declarations in these cases. For example, if a surgeon is being sued, then your legal team will have to hire their own surgeon to testify against the first surgeon. Some expert witnesses can charge tens of thousands of dollars.

The initial fee that some of these doctors charge just to review a case can be several thousand dollars. Therefore, medical malpractice attorneys must be very selective about the cases they take. At The Moore Law Firm, we work on a contingency fee basis, meaning that we won’t charge any fees unless we win your case.

How long do you have to file a malpractice suit?

The statute of limitations (the time limit) for filing a medical malpractice lawsuit in Ohio is generally one year from when you reasonably discovered the injury, when the malpractice actually occurred, or when your relationship with the medical professional ceased (whichever one is later).

If you formally notify the defendant by certified mail that you are planning a medical malpractice lawsuit, you’ll have up to 180 days to file a claim from the date they receive the notice.

We can help

We have decades of experience helping victims of medical malpractice get the justice they deserve. We passionately believe that when we put our trust in the medical professional, we should expect the best. When things go wrong, they have devastating consequences that can destroy lives. To find out more about our extensive experience in medical negligence cases, click here.

When we take on a case, we are there with you every step of the way. If you have any questions, drop us a line for an initial case evaluation. We can talk through any worries or concerns you may have. Our goal is to get you justice and the money you deserve so you can live the best life you can, with all the support you need.

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If you have been injured or have lost a loved one as a result of another person's negligence, you deserve to be fully compensated for your losses. The simple fact is that you should not be forced to pay the price for another person's careless or reckless actions.