Once the client is in our office, our Ohio medical malpractice attorneys will sit down and go over some initial paperwork, including the contract for legal services. We will then go on to fill out other forms which will allow our office to obtain medical records from the relevant medical providers, a release to collect employment records so that the client can be compensated for lost wages, and other similar documentation.
It is also at this meeting that we really take the time to get to know our client as a person. Other than the basic information such as name, address, and telephone number, we like to get to know information about your past, your career, your hobbies and interests, and how the incident has affected your daily life. It is important that we know this information because the type of life that the victim lived before the malpractice versus the type of life that the victim now has to live after the malpractice is a significant component when a jury is attempting to evaluate the damages that should be awarded in a given case.
We also believe in explaining all of the legal issues that surround your unique medical malpractice case. We will try as best we can to discuss these in everyday layman’s terms so that you can have an understanding of what the lawyers will be doing and trying to prove as your case moves along through potential settlement negotiations or the jury trial system.
Our meeting usually concludes with the lawyer clearing up any additional questions that the client may have. We always distribute our business card which includes the attorney’s cell phone number so that you may contact your lawyer after hours or even on weekends if you feel the need to do so.
MRecords and Damages Analysis in Ohio Medical Malpractice
After the initial meeting has concluded and the client has gone home, the lawyer’s real work starts. We will promptly order all of the relevant and potentially relevant medical records from each and every medical provider who may have had any hand in providing the medical care in question. In addition, oftentimes it becomes necessary to order prior medical records so that we can have a full understanding of the client’s medical history. These prior records also help us learn whether one of the doctors in the medical malpractice case may try to point fingers at different doctors who may have provided previous care.
Unlike many law firms who have non-medically trained lawyers or staff going through medical records and attempting to verify negligent medical care on their own, our firm regularly retains registered medical professionals to review the medical records and verify that a medical provider’s care was below the acceptable standard.
Once all of the medical records and other related documentation have been reviewed, analyzed, and summarized by competent and trained medical personnel, our office will make the final decision as to whether we will go ahead with the case, or we will make the difficult call to inform the client that based on the review of the records, we do not believe that we will be able to handle the case any further. The reason for this is simple: at our firm, we only take 100% legitimate medical malpractice cases which we believe we will be able to settle for a large sum, or be able to successfully try to a jury verdict in our client’s favor. If we do not believe that we can win the case, we do not take it.
Obtaining the Affidavit of Merit and Filing the Complaint
Once we decide to move forward and file the case, your lawyer will request that the doctor who has been retained as the expert complete an “affidavit of merit” which must be attached to your complaint before it is filed with the court. The affidavit of merit is described in more detail on page _____, and it is an absolute requirement which must be attached to a medical malpractice complaint, or else the complaint will be thrown out of court.
Our office utilizes many methods in order to find the expert witness that is perfect for your case and who will complete an affidavit of merit on your behalf. All of the lawyers at the Charles Boyk Law Offices, LLC are members of the Ohio Association for Justice (OAJ), which maintains specialized email listserv accounts, attorney message boards, and other avenues which are geared specifically towards helping member attorneys in locating the ideal expert witnesses from coast to coast. In addition, our office utilizes the services multiple medical expert witness location services such as The Technical Advisory Service for Attorneys, American Medical Forensic Specialists, and Juris Pro. These services take the guesswork out of locating the ideal medical expert witness, and we utilize the services on a regular basis.
After the expert witness is located and the affidavit of merit is prepared, the focus will shift to the filing of the complaint. All of the doctors or providers who are responsible for the medical malpractice will be named in the complaint. The complaint will allege that the doctors in question (1) owed the client a duty to use reasonable care in the medical treatment, (2) that the doctor breached that duty to use reasonable care, and (3) that as a direct causal result of the breach of duty the client sustained serious personal injuries.
After the complaint is filed in the common pleas court, the defendant medical providers have 28 days to file an “answer” to the complaint. Generally speaking, the providers will answer by denying the claims that are alleged in the complaint and the parties will then engage in what is known as “discovery.”