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What Happens After a Doctor Is Accused of Medical Malpractice?

June 30, 2023

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Originally published August 31, 2020.

There are few experiences in life as traumatic as seeking treatment for an injury or illness, only to end up in worse health than before due to a healthcare professional’s mistake. We place great trust in the medical providers who oversee and administer our care, so to experience preventable side effects, complications, and injuries due to their negligence can be devastating both emotionally and financially.

To make matters worse, medical malpractice often occurs to patients who have longstanding relationships with their doctors and healthcare team. That can make victims reluctant to file a claim.

For example, a patient’s cancer may spread or become inoperable due to a delayed diagnosis or misdiagnosis, and the offending party is their primary care physician—a person they’ve had a relationship with for many years. The patient may not pursue compensation or call a lawyer due to a fear of hurting their doctor’s career and livelihood, even though they may be paying out of pocket for their doctor’s mistake.

Medical Malpractice Claims Don’t Always Result in Loss of License

Doctors and other healthcare providers do everything in their power to avoid being sued for medical malpractice. But it’s not an uncommon experience for healthcare providers. In fact, a  2021 Medscape survey found that 42% of primary care providers have been sued at least once for medical malpractice. 

An accusation of medical malpractice doesn’t spell the end of a provider’s career. Only a small percentage of medical malpractice claims go as far as the courtroom. Most successful claims settle outside of court, and when that happens, doctors rarely lose their licenses. Instead, their medical malpractice insurance or the insurance of the healthcare clinic or hospital they work for pays the victim the settlement check they need.

Some Accusations Can Result in Investigations and Disciplinary Measures

It’s easy to understand why many patients, even those who were seriously harmed, may be reluctant to file medical malpractice claims against their doctors. After all, no one wants to cause an undue burden on someone who may have made an honest mistake.

This is especially true for someone they have a long-standing, friendly relationship with, or someone they potentially want or expect to continue to have a working relationship with. But in some cases, doing so can help save other patients from also becoming victims.

When a doctor is accused of medical malpractice, the Ohio medical board may investigate the complaint. This occurs separately from the lawsuit or settlement claim. Even if a doctor is found to have committed medical malpractice, they are unlikely to lose their license based on that one case alone.

However, doctors can be suspended, experience practice limitations, or have their licenses revoked if an investigation reveals:

  • They are a threat to society
  • A pattern of malpractice claims and allegations
  • Extremely negligent and reckless behavior

Should I Be Concerned About Filing a Malpractice Claim Against My Doctor?

Many people are reluctant to file claims against their healthcare providers, even when they believe doctors’ negligence made them ill or worsened their conditions. However, you shouldn’t avoid demanding the compensation you’re legally entitled to out of concern for how your doctor will respond.

Medical malpractice claims are about recovering compensation for damages caused by a healthcare provider’s errors. In many cases, the damages are extreme, and a malpractice victim would suffer significant financial setbacks if they didn’t receive compensation. In other words, these claims are about fairness and, by filing a claim, you’re simply demanding payment for the costs you’ve suffered.

Healthcare providers and their facilities carry insurance to cover malpractice claims. Typically, insurance companies (not doctors) pay the damages awarded in medical malpractice settlements and verdicts.

Don’t hesitate to take legal action when you’ve suffered severe damages because of a doctor’s error. If you shoulder those costs yourself, you could end up with serious financial problems because of someone else’s negligence.

Get the Compensation You Deserve After a Medical Malpractice Incident

At Nurenberg, Paris, Heller & McCarthy,  our Ohio medical malpractice lawyers know that filing a claim is rarely an easy decision. You may consider your doctor a friend, and you may have built a strong relationship with your healthcare providers over the years, especially if you need frequent medical treatments and care. But if you don’t file a claim, you may be forced to pay big expenses out of pocket, especially if your health insurance doesn’t cover all of your costs.

When we build medical malpractice claims, we don’t focus on “punishing” healthcare providers. The disciplinary process is up to the Ohio medical board. Instead, our focus is on proving malpractice occurred, determining how much money our clients are owed, and doing everything in our power to get them paid in full.

Contact us today for a free consultation. We’ll handle your claim with the sensitivity and confidentiality it deserves, and you owe us nothing unless we get money for you.

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