What To Be Aware Of Regarding Medical Malpractice Lawsuits in Ohio
Cleveland, OH (Law Firm Newswire) April 8, 2013 - For those living in Ohio, there are several things to know about how medical malpractice cases are treated in the state.
“When medical malpractice law changed in Ohio, in 2002, it only applied to claims that arose out of acts or omissions after April 1, 2003. This included a cap on non-economic damages. There have been no court issued opinions relating to the constitutionality of the provisions of that particular act ---- S.B. 281, 124th Leg. (2002),” said Tom Robenalt, a Cleveland medical malpractice lawyer. “However, the Supreme Court did uphold the constitutionality of a ‘similar’ damage cap that was passed later, which applied to ‘other’ personal injury claims.” The state legislature also made changes to the way damages were to be allocated in tort cases in general.
The state adheres to a form of comparative, or contributory negligence, which means a plaintiff’s contributory fault would only bar recovery if that fault was in excess of the combined fault of all parties, whether they were a part of the lawsuit or not. In short, compensation is reduced in proportion to the calculated percentage of the plaintiff’s fault, if any. [Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 2315.33 (Westlaw 2010)]
“Part of a discussion about fault in a medical malpractice lawsuit also involves the concept of joint and several liability. Simply put, if there are numerous defendants that caused the same injury, liability is several, meaning each defendant’s share of a judgment would be in proportion to their percentage of fault. However, if the act of medical negligence was intentional or the defendants were responsible for more than 50 percent of the total fault determined, they would be deemed to be jointly and severally liable for damages,” explained Robenalt. [Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 2315.22 (Westlaw 2010)]
Ohio does use a damage cap; a point a plaintiff must know and understand should they proceed to court for a medical malpractice case. The basic cap on non-economic damages in Ohio is the larger of $250,000, or three times the economic damages, subject to a max of $350,000/plaintiff and a max of $500,000. “However, these amounts go up to $500,000/plaintiff and $1 million if the victim suffers permanent and physical deformity, loss of an organ system or limb or any permanent physical injury that does not allow the plaintiff to care for themselves,” Robenalt elucidated.[ Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 2323.43 (Westlaw 2010)]
This cap does not apply to cases filed under the auspices of a wrongful death statute. “As you can see, medical malpractice cases are complex for more than just the facts of the particular case. If you have been a victim of medical malpractice, these are some of the things you need to know to make an informed decision about moving forward with your case. We cover everything in great depth, so you know what to expect later,” added Robenalt.
Mellino Robenalt LLC
200 Public Sq., Suite 2900
Cleveland, Ohio 44114
Call: (216) 241-1901
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