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Understanding Ohio’s Medical Malpractice Law and Liability 

April 25, 2023

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Are you considering filing a medical malpractice suit in Ohio? Here are a few details to understand what is considered medical malpractice in Ohio, what injury qualifies for compensation, and the extent of the defendant’s liability.

Medical Malpractice Statistics in the U.S.

According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, 10% of deaths in the U.S. are due to medical errors. New York recorded the highest number of malpractice reports between 2009 and 2018, making up 16,688 cases, while North Dakota recorded the lowest number at 216 reports (NPDB). According to My Medical Score, about 7,000 to 9,000 patient deaths were caused by medical errors.

Who is Held Liable in a Medical Malpractice Case?

Healthcare Providers

Doctors are expected to provide adequate treatment to patients in line with the standards of the healthcare profession. When they fail to adhere to this standard of care, the patient may find such a healthcare professional liable for malpractice. Healthcare professionals could refer to doctors, surgeons, physicians, nurses, nurse practitioners, residents, and pharmacists.

Hospital and Treatment Facilities

The medical facility where the defendant works can be held liable in a medical malpractice lawsuit by virtue of their employment relationship with the healthcare professional. This relationship is made possible by a legal principle known as “vicarious liability.” Vicarious liability means that a company or health facility can be held liable for its employees’ negligence, including doctors and other health professionals.

Most Common Causes of Medical Malpractice

Delayed Diagnosis/Misdiagnosis

Delayed or incorrect diagnoses are one of the most recurring reasons for malpractice lawsuits. Diagnosis is the first step in a patient’s recovery journey. When the diagnosis is delayed, the patient’s illness may progress into a fatal condition, which would not have occurred if they had been diagnosed earlier. In the case of misdiagnosis, the patient would be given treatment unrelated to their actual condition.


The childbirth process usually involves a lot of risks, from pregnancy to delivery. An unborn child is especially vulnerable to different injuries, which may be caused by negligent prenatal care. Injuries to a fetus can lead to cerebral palsy, seizure disorders, or paralysis. Lawsuits for childbirth injuries are usually instituted against obstetricians and gynecologists.

Anesthesia Mistakes

Anesthesia mistakes occur when the doctor:

Fails to take the patient’s medical history into account, resulting in complications.

Fails to inform the patient of compulsory preoperative measures like avoiding food intake.

Applying too much anesthesia

Consequences of Medical Malpractice

Avoidable Surgery

Where a doctor wrongly diagnoses a patient or delays the diagnosis, the patient may have to undergo a surgical operation to correct the damage done. Such an operation would have been needless without the doctor’s error. A surgical procedure is the last resort for a critical situation and ideally, should be avoided due to the associated risks.

Childbirth Injuries

Where an unborn child suffers injuries due to the oversight of a gynecologist or obstetrician, they may have to carry a disability for the rest of their life, depending on the extent and nature of the damage. Injuries to the brain can also occur due to medical malpractice, sometimes resulting in permanent injury.


Pain is probably the most natural consequence of medical malpractice. Pain is what drives most patients to hospitals in the first place. If malpractice has occurred, patients might leave with greater pain than they arrived with. In severe cases, the pain might be chronic and compounded by depression and anxiety.

1.    Doctor-Patient Relationship

There must be a doctor-patient relationship between the plaintiff and defendant to bring a malpractice lawsuit against a medical professional. A doctor-patient relationship is established once it is shown that the doctor treated the patient.

2.    Doctor’s Negligence

In a malpractice suit, the plaintiff must show that the doctor was somehow negligent when they provided treatment to the patient. They must prove that a competent doctor would have made different decisions.

3.    Causal Factor

The plaintiff will need to prove that the doctor’s negligence caused their injury. This proof is usually based on a balance of probability. A medical expert may be called upon to testify that the doctor’s negligence directly caused the injury.

4.    Damages

Lastly, the plaintiff must be able to show that the harm they suffered is a consequence of the defendant’s negligence. No compensation will be granted where the patient suffered no harm. Such harm may result in pain, medical bills, and lost earnings.

Medical malpractice lawyers in Ohio are skilled at building a case for medical malpractice if your situation warrants it.

3 Types of Medical Malpractice Damages Explained

1.    General Damages

General damages refer to damages awarded for non-financial harm done to the patient. A patient is entitled to compensation for physical and mental pain suffered due to malpractice. This compensation also covers damages such as loss of enjoyment of life, permanent disability, and loss of consortium.

2.    Special Damages

This type of damage is granted to compensate for financial losses suffered by the plaintiff due to malpractice. The special damages category includes medical bills, income loss, and other long-term consequences that affect the patient’s ability to work and earn.

3.    Punitive Damage

This damage is rarely awarded to plaintiffs. It serves as a punishment to the defendant for the reckless actions that have caused pain and injury to others. The judge or jury usually decides the amount awarded as punitive damage.

Contact a Medical Malpractice Lawyer at Nurenberg, Paris, Heller & McCarthy

Notably, this ample knowledge of medical malpractice will not be enough to institute a malpractice lawsuit. You will need to analyze your medical records and meet the specific requirements of the court. Working with experienced medical malpractice lawyers, Ohio residents can get help to navigate the process and get the best outcome based on the facts of the case.

Contact Nurenberg, Paris, Heller & McCarthy Personal Injury Lawyers in Cleveland, Ohio, for a free case assessment. Our team of experienced personal injury lawyers are standing by to help 24/7.

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