With so much information available online, it makes sense to search Google for the best medical malpractice attorney Cleveland has to offer if a doctor injured you or misdiagnosed a disease that could have been cured if it had been treated sooner. Unfortunately, in the quest to rank on the first page and be seen by the highest number of potential clients, law firms often hire marketing companies to write their material and every website winds up sounding the same.
So how do you know who to hire? In his free guide, “Was It a Mistake? Your Ohio Medical Malpractice Questions Answered,” Chris Mellino offers several suggestions, such as asking other attorneys for a referral. For instance, another firm was representing Cathy S. in a car accident case when her 78-year-old mother died of septic shock after surgery in December 2011.
“I thought there was something odd about that,” she says in her testimonial. “My case hadn’t settled yet, so I was talking to [my lawyer] Vince, and he recommended Chris Mellino. I contacted him, and he called a urologist for me. He is very, very good. Always returned my calls, answered all my questions. The staff was wonderful, and we won our case. It didn’t bring my mom back, but I got justice for my mom.”
If you don’t know an attorney, visit YouTube. Many post videos, so you can get a feel for their personality before picking up the phone or stepping foot in their office. Medical malpractice lawsuits can go on for months and, sometimes, years, so you want to make sure you like and trust the person you’ll be dealing with for such a long period of time.
Just about every personal injury and medical malpractice law firm in Cleveland offers a free consultation, so don’t hesitate to contact us (or any attorney) with questions, such as, “Has the statute of limitations run out in my case?” since Ohio law limits the amount of time you have to file a claim. For a list of questions you should ask everyone you’re considering hiring, download or request Chris’ free guide.
“What Makes You Different from Other Medical Mistake Lawyers in Cleveland?”
First, you will never see us on TV, the side of a bus, or a billboard. Attorneys and satisfied clients send us the majority of our cases.
Second, attorneys Chris Mellino and Tom Robenalt are respected throughout northeast Ohio for their ability to dig below the surface and make sure nothing is overlooked. In fact, Chris has been involved in several landmark cases, including Moskovitz v. Mt. Sinai Medical Center (1994) and Watkins_v._Cleveland_Clinic_Foundation (1998). In the latter, he and his previous partner were awarded the largest verdict in the state that year.
Third, we’re a small firm. Since medical malpractice claims are time consuming and labor intensive, we’re selective about the cases we accept. Whereas some firms:
- take every case that walks in the door,
- settle those cases for the first amount offered in order to fund their next commercial to bring in even more clients, and
- leave their clients in the hands of first-year associates, paralegals, or case managers,
we only pursue compensation for patients who suffered severe and disabling injuries. By limiting the number of cases we accept, we’re able to give each one the unique attention it deserves. And, when you call us, you will speak to us, not an assistant.
Last but not least, our west side location, which sits at the border of Lakewood and Fairview Park, is more convenient for injured clients who may not be able to drive downtown, find parking, and walk a few blocks in rain or snow to meet with their lawyers or sign papers.
“How Do I Know If I Have a Medical Malpractice Claim?”
Sometimes, negligence is obvious. For instance, November 5, 2013, upi.com reported that a nurse had noticed a patient’s worsening condition the night before he was scheduled for brain surgery. But when she called the neurosurgeon at 1 a.m., he didn’t bother to show up at the hospital or order anyone else to perform emergency treatment. The 24-year-old accountant died the next day.
November 6, 2013, Dayton Daily News and the Associated Press reported that a medical resident had discharged a pregnant homeless woman who’d suffered a ruptured uterus. The woman wound up returning to the hospital 12 hours later for an emergency C-section, and her baby was born with a brain injury. “The lawsuit asserted that during the 14 hours spent at the hospital’s labor and delivery unit, the mother was not seen by any of the three attending obstetricians,” per vstar.com.
And, as USA Today reported on March 8, 2013, “More than a dozen times a day, doctors sew up patients with sponges and other supplies mistakenly left inside. The mistake costs some victims their lives.”
But not every case is so cut-and-dried. The best thing you can do is discuss your potential medical malpractice claim with an attorney who can review your records and determine liability. We welcome you to contact our Cleveland office today for a free consultation. For nearly 30 years, Chris Mellino and Tom Robenalt have specialized in:
- misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose cancer in a timely manner;
- air embolism that resulted in heart attack, stroke, respiratory failure, or wrongful death;
- anesthesia mistakes that led to brain damage, coma, or death;
- Failure to order tests or review results - This happens more often than you might think. Doctors may assume that the lab will call if results are positive or that the nurse will read the results, but a lack of communication among medical staff could lead to catastrophic problems for the patient;
- surgery or amputation of the wrong body part -Your surgical team could remove your healthy kidney instead of your diseased kidney or your healthy leg instead of the one affected by vascular disease;
- traumatic brain injuries;
- birth injuries such as cerebral palsy and Erb’s palsy;
- nerve injuries or paralysis;
- medication mistakes such as a prescription overdose;
- dangerous and defective medical devices, such as the Medtronic INFUSE bone graft; and
- vegetative state / coma.
Medical Malpractice Overview
Medical malpractice occurs when a negligent act or omission by a doctor or other medical professional results in damage or harm to a patient. This could include an error in a diagnosis or treatment. If negligence results in injury, disability, or disfigurement, the patient may file a lawsuit against the doctor if his or her actions deviated from generally accepted standards of practice; against the hospital for a mistake such as administering the wrong medication; or against local, state, or federal agencies that operate the facility.
Laws have been enacted to protect patients’ rights; however, malpractice lawsuits are often complex and costly to win. So, while theoretically you can seek compensation for any injury regardless of its seriousness, suing over a minor injury that heals quickly is unrealistic. Speaking with an experienced trial attorney can help you determine whether your claim is worth pursuing.
Understanding Informed Consent
In many situations where medical care or treatment is provided to an individual, medical professionals are required to obtain the patient’s “informed consent.” Although the specific definition of informed consent may vary from state to state, it means essentially that the patient has made a knowing decision about a medical treatment or procedure after a doctor or other health care professional discloses all the information a reasonably prudent medical provider would give to a patient regarding the risks involved in the proposed treatment or procedure. If the health care provider fails to obtain informed consent, the patient may have a legal claim for damages. An experienced medical malpractice attorney can help you determine whether you have a claim and represent your interests throughout the legal process.
Responsible Parties in Medical Malpractice Actions
Medical malpractice is not limited to medical doctors. It applies also to nurses, dentists, osteopaths, health care facilities and others providing health care services, such as nursing homes. If you believe that you have been the victim of malpractice by any health care provider, do not delay in contacting an experienced medical malpractice attorney.
To establish a case, the plaintiff must prove that:
- the defendant had a duty to the plaintiff;
- the defendant failed to meet the standard of care owed to the plaintiff;
- the mistake actually caused the plaintiff’s injury; and
- the doctor or other medical professional’s negligence damaged the plaintiff.
Proving causation can be difficult. For one thing, the injuries require specific medical training to understand, and the plaintiff may not know what caused his or her injuries.
Damages in Medical Malpractice Cases
In order to recover compensation for injuries, the plaintiff must establish a causal connection or link between those injuries and the doctor’s negligence. Generally, two types of damages may be awarded: compensatory and punitive. An experienced trial attorney can evaluate your situation, determine whether you have a claim, and establish a case.