What Is Breach Of Duty Of Care In A Medical Malpractice Case?

What Is Breach Of Duty Of Care In A Medical Malpractice Case?

July 5, 2018 | By O'Connor Acciani & Levy
What Is Breach Of Duty Of Care In A Medical Malpractice Case?

When a doctor acts carelessly when diagnosing or treating an illness, he or she can be held liable for medical negligence. You and your attorney must establish that a duty of care was breached to prove negligence occurred. If you or someone you love has been injured by a medical professional’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation. Our Cincinnati medical malpractice attorneys can help you hold negligent physicians accountable and secure the compensation you deserve – request a free, no obligation consultation today.

What Is Medical Negligence?

Medical malpractice is another term for professional negligence committed by health care professionals. Medical malpractice occurs when the treatment was substandard and caused harm, injury or death to the patient. There are various types of medical malpractice, including:
  • Failure to diagnose – This occurs when a doctor fails to make a diagnosis or diagnoses you with a condition you do not have. If you can prove a similarly-trained physician in a similar situation would have discovered the correct diagnosis and this would have led to a more favorable outcome, you may have a claim for medical malpractice.
  • Improper treatment - If your doctor treats you in a manner that another competent physician would not have, or incompletely delivers treatment, medical malpractice may have occurred.
  • Failure to warn - If your physician fails to warn you of known risks of treatment or a procedure, he or she has breached the physician’s duty to warn you of such risks. Knowing these risks may have caused you to forego the treatment or procedure, preventing you from being injured or exposed to risks.
Your lawyer must establish certain elements to prove you were a victim of medical malpractice:
  • There was a doctor-patient relationship between the physician and the injured party. This means that the doctor agreed to provide treatment and inform the injured party of any risks involved, establishing a duty of care that meets standard medical practices.
  • The treatment, medical decisions or lack thereof fell below the accepted standard of care, which means it was not in line with how a similarly trained professional would have acted under similar circumstances.
  • There was a link established between the doctor’s breach of duty of care and the injuries caused resulting in infections, bleeding, or other adverse reactions.
  • The patient suffered quantifiable damages, such as medical expenses and lost wages

Time Limits On Medical Malpractice Claims

Injured patients must file medical malpractice claims within a certain period of time, known as the statute of limitations. The statute of limitations places a limit on the time you have to file a lawsuit after experiencing injury. If you do not file a lawsuit before the statute of limitations expires, you lose the right to do so. Generally, patients have one year from the date the medical negligence occurred to file a medical malpractice lawsuit. However, some exceptions to this do exist:
  • Medical negligence is not always immediately apparent and it may take time for you to discover the medical error causing your injury, even when exercising reasonable care and diligence. This is also known as the discovery of harm rule. In these types of cases, you have one year from the date your discovery is made, as long as it is within four years of the date the negligence occurred. You cannot file a lawsuit more than four years from the date of negligence, no matter when you discovered it.
  • Ohio law extends the statute of limitations up to six months if you submit a formal notice to the at-fault party. This notice informs the defendant that you plan to file a medical malpractice lawsuit. This notice must be sent prior to the one-year statute of limitations; once the notice is filed, you have 180 days to file your case.
Wrongful death claims involving medical malpractice must be filed in court within two years of the deceased’s date of death. Wrongful death claims seek monetary damages for losses experienced by the deceased’s family or other representative.

Schedule A Consultation With An Attorney

If you have been injured by the negligence of a medical professional, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Contact a personal injury lawyer in Cincinnati at O’Connor, Acciani & Levy to help review your case and inform you of your legal options for pursuing compensation. Request a free, no obligation consultation today. When you work with our firm, there are no upfront fees. You only pay if we recover compensation for your claim.