Medical malpractice cases in Ohio are on the rise. A little. The Ohio Department of Insurance released its 2017 data (ah, guys, it is 2024).
Here is the snapshot:
- 2,428 claims reported
- 1,784 claims (73%), there was no indemnity payments
- 644 claims had an average payment of $433,379
- Nearly half the claims were from Northeast Ohio
- Obstetrics/Gynecology had the highest average payout of
$1,086,559 for 17 claims (59 overall)
- The average indemnity payment of a birth injury claim was $1,507,479
- Only one-half of one percent of the cases went to trial
- Females made up 57% of the claims
Ohio Medical Malpractice Settlements and Verdicts
Let’s look at example settlement amounts and jury payouts in Ohio medical malpractice lawsuits.
- 2023, Ohio: $7,625,000 Verdict. The plaintiff, a 68-year-old female, underwent spinal surgery. The plaintiff reportedly developed permanent paralysis from the waist down after the initial spinal surgery, allegedly due to spinal cord damage resulting from a retained surgical sponge that the defendant left inside of her during the surgery. The plaintiff sought punitive and compensatory damages, but the jury only awarded compensatory damages.
- 2023, Ohio: $4,450,000 Verdict. The plaintiff alleged that the defendant performed several spinal surgery procedures on her that were medically unnecessary and unjustified. The plaintiff reportedly suffered from extreme back pain with permanent and substantial physical deformity resulting in an inability to work or interact with her child, a 3.5 percent increase in developing cancer, and was left with significant surgical scarring on her back, abdomen, and side.
- 2022, Ohio $70,343 Verdict. The plaintiff, a man in his late 80s, reportedly suffered two fractured ribs and a fractured thoracic vertebra after falling when attempting to use the bathroom unassisted while he was admitted to defendant St. Vincent Charity Medical Center for a cardiac procedure.
- 2020, Ohio: $115,000 Settlement. A 78-year-old man’s estate alleged that the state nursing home’s failure to monitor his eating caused his death. The nursing home staff found him unresponsive after he choked on a piece of chicken. They removed the piece of chicken from his throat and attempted the Heimlich maneuver and CPR. However, he died after they failed to revive him. His estate sued the State of Ohio, alleging that their failure to properly monitor him caused him to fatally suffocate from a piece of chicken. They also alleged that the facility failed to monitor him, despite being high-risk for choking. The case settled for $115,000.
- 2020, Ohio: $300,000 Verdict. A 20-something woman’s estate alleged that she died after the doctor failed to follow-up on her neck pain. The woman suffered neck pain as she recovered from a MRSA-infected buttocks abscess. She presented to Lima Memorial Hospital, where she underwent bloodwork, a neck CT scan, and a physical. An emergency room doctor diagnosed her with a muscle spasm and discharged her home. The next day, the woman presented to a physician’s assistant at St. Rita’s Medical Center, who sent her home with pain medication. She then visited the Lima Memorial on the same day, and its physician’s assistant discharged her home shortly after the visit. The woman eventually received a sepsis diagnosis, resulting in an anoxic brain injury and cardiac arrest. She died less than a week later from her injuries. Her estate sued both facilities, Lima Memorial’s emergency room physician, and both facilities’ physician’s assistants for failing to properly assess her condition. They alleged that both facilities’ medical staff failed to perform appropriate tests, including an MRI, which would have diagnosed her infection. The estate further claimed that had she been diagnosed; she would have undergone in-patient antibiotic treatment. The defendants denied liability, arguing that her pre-existing musculoskeletal issues caused her neck pain and made additional tests unnecessary. They also claimed that the woman failed to follow up with her primary care physician. The Allen County jury found Lima Memorial’s physician’s assistant 65 percent liable, St. Rita’s physician’s assistant 15 percent liable, the woman 10 percent liable, and a non-party doctor 10 percent liable. They awarded the estate a $300,000 verdict. The net award was $240,000, based on liability apportionment.
- 2019, Ohio: $1,500,000 Verdict. A 23-year-old woman alleged that she suffered multiple injuries after her D.O. negligently performed Chiari II decompression surgery on her. She claimed that the procedure caused her to suffer facial paralysis, significant headaches, nausea, leg weakness, and swallowing difficulties. The woman sued the D.O. for negligence, alleging that he improperly performed the procedure and wrongly claimed that he correctly performed it. The D.O. disputed the woman’s injuries. A Montgomery County jury awarded the woman a $1,500,000 verdict.
- 2019, Ohio: $6,316,444 Verdict. A 44-year-old woman alleged that she suffered multiple injuries after the doctor negligently performed laminectomies and foraminotomies on her L3-4 and L4-5 discs to relieve her radiculopathy. The procedures caused the woman to suffer from chronic pain syndrome and opioid dependence. She also claimed that her injuries were permanent, and she now used a cane to help her walk. The woman sued her doctor and his employer for negligence. Her medical expert testified that the doctor performed the procedure more aggressively than needed, arguing that the laminectomies were unnecessary. The doctor denied these claims. His medical experts testified that the procedures were appropriate and that he met the standard of care. The woman eventually settled with her doctor, and the trial only concerned her doctor’s employer. A Hamilton County awarded the woman a $6,136,444 verdict. The final judgment reduced the woman’s net award to $3,158,322, based on the pre-trial settlement.
- 2019, Ohio: $700,000 Settlement. A man alleged that the mismanagement of his left kidney removal caused him to suffer rhabdomyolysis to his right kidney, renal failure, and the eventual amputation of both his legs. He claimed that the medical staff negligently lacerated the iliac artery and vein during the procedure, causing blood loss that resulted in leg ischemia. This case settled for $700,000.
Ohio Malpractice Law
Below are some of the key malpractice laws in Ohio.
What am I required to prove in a medical malpractice lawsuit in Ohio?
To prove malpractice in Ohio, the plaintiff must show:
- a duty running from the defendant to the plaintiff,
- the defendant’s breach of that duty,
- damages sustained by the plaintiff, and
- proximate causation of the damages by the defendant’s breach of duty,
Elements of Successful Ohio Malpractice Claim
For a claim of medical negligence to be successful, three essential elements must be established by the claimant:
- Existence of a Standard of Care: The claimant must demonstrate that there was a recognized standard of care within the medical community relevant to the circumstances of the treatment or procedure.
- Breach of Standard of Care: It must be proven that the defendant(s) in the case deviated from this standard of care. This breach could be due to acts or omissions contrary to the accepted practices within the medical community.
- Proximate Cause and Injury: There must be a clear causal link established between the breach of the standard of care and the injury sustained by the claimant. The claimant must show that the medical negligence directly resulted in their injury.
Ohio Wrongful Death Malpractice Lawsuits
In Ohio, a wrongful death is defined as a death that occurs due to a wrongful act, neglect, or default. In the case of medical malpractice, this means the death resulted from a healthcare provider’s failure to meet the appropriate standard of care.
Who Can File an Ohio Wrongful Death Malpractice Lawsuit
Under Ohio law, a wrongful death lawsuit can be filed by the representative of the deceased person’s estate. This representative is often a family member, such as a spouse, parent, or child, but can also be an appointed executor or administrator of the estate.
Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations in Ohio Malpractice Claims
For medical malpractice wrongful death claims in Ohio, the statute of limitations is generally two years from the date of the patient’s death. However, there can be exceptions, particularly when the discovery rule applies – if the cause of death was not immediately apparent.
But the discovery rule is limited in Ohio. The state has a four year statute of repose and the Ohio courts have found, unlike some other states, that the statute of repose applies to wrongful death claims.
Wrongful Death Deadline to File a Lawsuit is Different
The Ohio Supreme Court has held that wrongful-death actions are distinct from the underlying act that caused the death, including when the underlying act is medical malpractice. This means that even if the statute of limitations for a medical malpractice action had expired, a wrongful-death action based on the same medical malpractice could still be pursued, provided it was within the statute of limitations for wrongful-death actions.
This principle becomes important in understanding why the statute of repose for medical claims (R.C. 2305.113) does not necessarily apply to wrongful-death actions. The statute of repose in R.C. 2305.113 sets a limit on when medical malpractice claims can be filed, but wrongful-death actions are governed by a different statute, R.C. Chapter 2125, which has its own statute of limitations and a specific statute of repose for product liability and defective construction cases.
Thus, even though a medical malpractice claim might be barred by the statute of repose in R.C. 2305.113, a wrongful-death claim arising from the same medical malpractice can be filed within the statute of limitations specified in R.C. Chapter 2125. This distinction underscores the separate nature of wrongful-death claims from the medical malpractice claims that might have led to the death.
Damages in Wrongful Death Claims
The damages in a wrongful death claim can include:
- Economic Damages: These include the loss of support from the expected earnings of the deceased, loss of services that the deceased would have provided (like childcare or household chores), and funeral and burial expenses.
- Non-Economic Damages: These can cover loss of companionship, care, and consortium suffered by the family members.
- Punitive Damages: In rare cases where the conduct of the medical professional was particularly egregious, punitive damages might be awarded to punish the wrongdoer and deter similar conduct.
Informed Consent in Ohio
The three criteria for a claim of failure to obtain informed consent are:
- Failure to Disclose Risks: The physician must have failed to adequately inform the patient about the material risks and potential dangers associated with the proposed medical therapy or procedure.
- Materialization of Risks and Proximate Cause: The risks and dangers that were not disclosed by the physician must have materialized and must be the proximate cause of the injury sustained by the patient.
- Impact on Decision Making: It must be evident that a reasonable person in the patient’s position would have decided against undergoing the therapy or treatment if they had been fully informed about the material risks and dangers beforehand.
Hiring a Ohio Malpractice Lawyer
Our firm handles serious injury and wrongful death lawsuits in Ohio and around the country. How does that work if you hire us?? We work with and compensate our Ohio medical malpractice lawyers out of our attorneys’ fees. You pay no additional contingency fees for having two law firms instead of one. And you only owe a fee if you get settlement compensation or a jury payout for you.
There is one more thing worth sharing with you. Ohio has a strict cap on noneconomic (pain and suffering) damages. Our firm is only reviewing medical malpractice cases in Ohio where the economic damages to the victim are high to push the possible settlement and trial value of the claims over the cap. Birth injury lawsuits are a good example of this.
You can get a free no-obligation consultation online or call us today at 800-553-8082.