When someone injures you through no fault of your own, you want the negligent party to pay for your damages. Your attorney will need to determine what type of case you have before moving forward. There are differences between a medical malpractice and personal injury case.
Medical malpractice is a subset of personal injury that allows you to recover damages from a doctor, hospital, or healthcare provider who has hurt you by failing to meet a “reasonable standard of care” during your treatment. By contrast, a personal injury case is when another party’s negligent action or inaction caused you to suffer injuries unnecessarily. Personal injury cases tend to be more straightforward, while medical malpractice may be more complex.
Ohio’s Personal Injury Standard
If you are seeking damages in a personal injury case, it will be incumbent upon you (and your lawyer) to demonstrate that your injuries were avoidable and that you would not have suffered them if not for the negligence or carelessness of another party. Examples of personal injury include car accidents or boating accidents caused by a negligent driver.
It’s important to realize that although a medical malpractice case may arise out of personal injury, and not every injury you suffer at the hands of a medical professional is the result of medical malpractice.
Ohio’s Medical Malpractice Standard
The standard for proving a medical malpractice case in Ohio is different from the legal standard for personal injury. Whereas most personal injury cases can be made with the help of witnesses or police reports (in the case of car accidents), the only way to reach the legal threshold of medical malpractice in Ohio is to have another medical professional agree that your treatment didn’t meet the “reasonable standard of care” requirement.
In order to proceed with a medical malpractice case, you must have an “Affirmation of Merit”, which is a sworn declaration from a medical professional that says the following:
- They understand the “medical standard of care” for the treatment you received
- They have studied and reviewed your medical history
- They do not believe the treatment you received met the “medical standard of care”
- They believe you suffered an injury because the healthcare provider did not meet the standard of care
Without this affirmation, the courts will likely dismiss your case.
Why Is the “Affirmation of Merit” Necessary in Medical Malpractice Cases?
The fact that your medical procedure or treatment had adverse effects on you is not enough to qualify for damages under medical malpractice. The “Affirmation of Merit” serves as an indication to the courts that your case has merit. If a medical professional analyzes the facts in your case and affirms they don’t believe you received a “reasonable standard of care”, the courts recognize that your case may have merit.
It’s important to understand that the “Affirmation of Merit” in and of itself is not proof of medical malpractice. Just because you have this document doesn’t mean you will prevail. It does, however, mean that you can proceed with your case.
Ohio Personal Injury and Malpractice Cases Have Different Statutes of Limitations
Aside from the different legal standards that must be met to recover damages, the statute of limitations for personal injury and medical malpractice cases in Ohio are different.
There is a two-year statute of limitations on personal injury cases per Ohio Revised Code Section 2305.10. This means you have two years from the date of your accident to commence legal action against the negligent party.
Medical malpractice cases are more complex when it comes to the time you have to file a civil lawsuit. This statutory time period is complex but is generally one year, although there are exceptions.Consult with an attorney about the statute in your case.
The Fitch Law Firm LLC Can Help
The Fitch Law Firm LLC is here to help both personal injury and medical malpractice victims. We are an Ohio-based personal injury law firm that has recovered millions of dollars in damages for our clients. We understand your challenges, and we want to help. You shouldn’t suffer the financial fallout from someone else’s negligence all alone.
If you or a loved one suffered injuries due to personal injury or medical malpractice, our team is here to help. Call the Fitch Law Firm LLC today for a free, confidential consultation. We want to seek justice and the compensation you deserve due to another party’s negligence.
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