The Basic Elements of a Medical Malpractice Case
To seek compensation successfully in a medical malpractice action, you must be able to prove the basic elements of negligence as follows:
- Duty of care – The doctor or medical professional owed your child a standard duty of care, such as that owed from a treating pediatrician to a patient.
- Breach of duty – The doctor failed to adhere to the standard of care, which is a generally accepted level of care offered by other medical professionals in similar conditions.
- Causation – There must be a clear link between the doctor’s breach of duty and your child’s injury.
- Damages – You must prove your child and family suffered damages such as medical bills, illness/injury, and other financial and personal losses.
What are common types of medical errors that involve children?
Children and other young patients are susceptible to a number of medical errors and oversights
. Some of the most common causes of child injury based on negligent pediatric care include
- Medication errors (such as providing an adult dose for a child patient);
- Misfiled or incorrectly transcribed patient information;
- Delay/failure to order necessary lab testing;
- Vaccine errors (redundant vaccines, incorrect dosage and so on);
- Overlooking allergies (to drugs, latex and so on);
- Failure to provide patient with appointment or referral;
- Delayed office care;
- Testing or procedural errors; and
- Hospital-acquired infections.
How do medical errors occur, and who is liable?
A medical error can occur anywhere from the pediatrician’s office to the surgical table. Any number of medical professionals may fail to act with due diligence, resulting in a child patient’s injury. Among those who may be liable include
- Treating physician;
- Physician's assistant;
- Office staff; and
Our office can conduct an investigation to identify all liable parties in a medical malpractice case and maximize the potential compensation in a claim.
What to Do if You Believe Pediatric Care Caused Your Child’s Injury
Time is of the essence in the case of a suspected medical error. Your initial steps should include:
- Requesting all of your child’s medical records (including lab or testing results and prescriptions);
- Requesting the names and contact information for anyone who played a role in your child’s care;
- Creating a timeline of events (include dates of care, communications with medical facilities, progression of your child’s condition);
- Seeking a second opinion; and
- Contacting a medical malpractice attorney.
Once you have the initial elements in place, you may move forward with filing a medical malpractice claim.
How do I file a medical malpractice claim in Ohio?
Provided you can establish the elements of negligence – outlined above – you must file your claim within Ohio’s statute of limitations. Ohio revised code 2305.113 generally provides you with one year in which to take action after a medical error. However, you may have as many as four years if the victim was a minor.
You have the option to seek a “derivative claim for relief.” These claims allow parents and guardians to seek damages on behalf of an injured child. Potential damages include:
- Loss of companionship and society;
- Cost of medical care; and
- Other expenses associated with the injury