Thursday, July 29, 2010

Reasons Why You May Lose Your Ohio Medical Malpractice Case

There are many reasons why Ohio medical malpractice victims may lose their case, but here's a common one:


“Don’t I have two years to bring a malpractice claim?” Many people mistakenly believe they do. If you are injured in an automobile crash, you would have a two year statute of limitations in Ohio, which means that you have two years to either settle your claim or file a lawsuit to preserve your claim. Not so with many medical malpractice claims. There are special rules that apply to medical malpractice litigation.

In Ohio, you have a one year statute of limitations if you are injured as a result of medical negligence. This is one of the shortest statutes of limitations in the U.S.!

However, an important question in any Ohio medical malpractice claim is: When does your one year clock begin to tick? Generally speaking, your one year statute of limitations begins when: (a) you discover facts which lead you to believe that malpractice may have occurred; OR (b) when your physician-patient relationship with the offending physician or hospital terminates – whichever is later.

As you can see from this general rule, your Ohio one year statute of limitations may begin to run on any number of different dates. For this reason, it is imperative that you consult with a competent malpractice attorney sooner rather than later. Waiting until the last minute may make it extremely difficult to identify the proper triggering date for purposes of the one year statute of limitations, and may result in your case being rejected.

Your one year statute of limitations in Ohio may be extended by 180 days if a proper “180 day letter” is sent to the medical provider. Again, however, special rules apply to the 180 day letter law. For example, in order for the 180 day extension to be valid, the letter must contain the necessary language preserving the claim, and must be received before the original one year statute of limitations expires.

The short one year statute of limitations rule in Ohio places a premium upon quick action and an early investigation. Generally speaking, if you wait until there is only 60-90 days left on your statute of limitations, this may not leave your attorney with enough time to properly investigate your case. After all, it can take weeks or months to receive your medical records and have them reviewed.


For medical malpractice cases resulting in death, Ohio does provide for a two year statute of limitations. However, the one year statute of limitations mentioned previously still applies to a loved one who was a victim of malpractice and sustained conscious pain and suffering before he or she died. Result: a medical malpractice claim resulting in death may be subject to BOTH a one year AND a two year statute of limitations. Sufficiently confused? You should be. Bottom line: You have a short window of opportunity to have your potential malpractice case investigated. These statute of limitations rules are complex, and are full of traps for the unwary or unsuspecting. You delay the investigation of your malpractice case at your peril.

Friday, July 23, 2010

$1.4 Million For Public Records Lawsuit Is Ironic...And Ridiculous

A recent article in The Canton Repository about a local man who recently won a $1.4 million in a public records lawsuit shows how out of whack our legislative priorities are in Ohio.

Apparently the city of Bucyrus destroyed thousands of pages of public records requested by an attorney. The purpose of his request appeared to be laudable and legitimate. It also appears that the city violated the law, at least according to a local judge who heard the case. Ohio law provides for civil damages of $1,000 for every public record destroyed, presuambly as a strong deterrant against destroying records for public consumption.

But here's where things are way out of proportion and out of whack. Let's compare this law to laws The Ohio Legislature has passed that LIMIT a person's damages. If a hospital leaves a large foreign object inside you, their liability is limited to a sliding scale of $250,000-350,000 for any damage caused, even if it is permanent. If a drunk driver smashes into you and breaks your legs and your hips, you are limited to the same amount for your pain and disability. Welcome to "tort reform," a governmental intervention in your injury claim and a declaration that a one size fits all "cap" will apply on your claim.

So what's the message here: that preserving "public records" is more important than the human misery and trail of injuries caused by drunk drivers, medical errors, defective Chinese products, tainted foods, and other wrongdoers?

Liability for public records violations should not be endless when, at the same time, human suffering is cheapened and wrongdoers and their insurance companies are given "discounts." This recent verdict highlights the incongruity of our laws and a legislative lack of seeing a bigger picture of justice. And it also fuels the fire of "frivolous lawsuits" that will only make it harder for those with legitimate claims to obtain a fair recovery for their harms and losses.