PERSONAL INJURY & MEDICAL MALPRACTICE FAQS

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CASE RESULTS

$28.7 MILLION

BIRTH INJURY


$12.5 MILLION

MEDICAL MALPRACTICE


$4.3 MILLION

MEDICAL MALPRACTICE


$3.9 MILLION

BIRTH INJURY


$3 MILLION

ANESTHESIA ERROR


$1.75 MILLION

MEDICAL MALPRACTICE


$1.5 MILLION

MEDICAL MALPRACTICE


$890,000

MEDICAL MALPRACTICE


$500,000
MEDICAL MALPRACTICE

If you have been seriously injured or lost a loved one as a result of an accident or medical malpractice, you likely have many questions. You may be unsure whether or not you have a case. You are likely wondering how you will be able to afford the unexpected expense of medical treatment. If your injuries prevent you from working or you depended on a now-deceased loved one for income, your concerns are that much more urgent. And, of course, this is nothing compared to the physical, mental, and emotional consequences of being involved in a serious accident or losing a loved one due to negligence.

At The Mellino Law Firm, we understand that you have many questions. Our Cleveland medical malpractice and personal injury attorneys have helped countless clients fight for justice and fair recoveries. Here, we’ve compiled answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about medical malpractice, personal injury, and wrongful death claims. Browse our FAQs or get in touch with us today to request a free, no-obligation consultation. Led by our founding attorney, Chris Mellino, we have successfully recovered millions of dollars for our clients and held numerous negligent parties accountable for the harm they have caused.

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Punitive damages are awarded to punish a doctor or hospital for misconduct, such as altering medical records to escape liability. Punitive damages differ from economic and non-economic damages that are awarded for pain and suffering, lost wages, medical expenses, etc.

As Cleveland malpractice attorney Christopher Mellino states in this video, plaintiffs may win punitive damages in Ohio, but first, the patient must show that the doctor’s conduct was malicious or that it demonstrated indifference toward the rights and safety of others.

Early in his career, Chris and his former partner took a punitive damages case all the way to Ohio’s Supreme Court. Moskovitz v. Mt. Sinai paved the way for future victims to pursue punitive damages when a doctor’s actions exhibit “a total disregard for the law and the rights of [the victim and his/her] family,” as the Court determined in this case.

Plastic surgeons may be sued for medical malpractice just like any other surgeon or physician. The requirements for filing a claim are the same: negligence must have caused the patient’s injury, disability, or disfigurement.

Tummy tucks, rhinoplasty, breast augmentation, chemical peels, and the like are always risky because there is no guarantee that the end result will look exactly as you’d envisioned. Please note that you cannot file a claim simply because you are unhappy with the way your procedure turned out. You have to prove that medical malpractice caused scarring, leaking, internal bleeding, blood clots, infection, or nerve damage. Attorney Chris Mellino welcomes you to contact our Cleveland office with any questions you may have.

The difficulty of winning your case should not discourage you from filing a lawsuit. Every surgical error should be taken seriously. If you suffered catastrophic injuries or disfigurement or if you had to undergo duplicate procedures to correct a doctor’s mistake, hiring an experienced trial lawyer who’s handled your type of case will increase your chances at receiving the compensation you deserve.

If you have questions about what went wrong with your surgery, request our free guide to filing a malpractice claim in Ohio or contact us for a free consultation.

Specialists are doctors who are experts in specific practice areas such as:

  • allergy and immunology
  • cardiology
  • neurology
  • anesthesiology
  • internal medicine
  • pediatrics
  • obstetrics and gynecology
  • radiology
  • ophthalmology

They are held to a higher standard than general practitioners because of their advanced skill level. Therefore, when a specialist breaches the acceptable standard of care and causes harm, a patient may hold him or her accountable.

ACCEPTABLE STANDARD OF CARE

Specialists are expected to exercise the same care and judgment that a specialist with similar training would exercise under similar circumstances. Thus, your obstetrician would be held to the same standard as an obstetrician, not an endocrinologist.

If your specialist’s negligent actions or inaction caused you or a loved one unnecessary suffering, disability, or disfigurement, contact an experienced medical malpractice attorney who can help you recover damages by proving that:

  • your physician owed you a certain standard of care;
  • he or she breached that standard;
  • you suffered verifiable losses; and
  • the breach of care caused your losses.

Your attorney will likely consult expert witnesses who will describe the National Standard of Care to a jury and help jurors understand how that standard was violated in your claim.

WHY SHOULD I TRUST ATTORNEY CHRIS MELLINO TO HANDLE MY MEDICAL MALPRACTICE CLAIM AGAINST A SPECIALIST?

First, Mellino Law Firm does not advertise. Attorneys and satisfied clients send us the majority of our cases. Others find us online.

Second, Chris Mellino is respected throughout northeast Ohio for his ability to dig below the surface to make sure no fact is overlooked. In fact, Chris has been involved in several cases that helped change Ohio law, 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, medical malpractice lawsuits are labor intensive, so we’re selective about the cases we accept. Some firms take every case that walks in the door, settle those cases for the first amount the defendant offers, so they can fund their next commercial to bring in even more clients, and leave clients in the hands of “case managers.” Mellino Law Firm only pursues compensation for patients who’ve suffered a severe injury or death. By limiting the number of claims we accept, we’re able to give each one the attention it deserves.

Last but not least, since 2010, Mellino Law Firm has been the only medical malpractice law firm in Cleveland to be accepted into Primerus, which screens potential members by speaking to judges, other lawyers, bar associations, clients, and insurance carriers about a firm’s integrity, work product, fee structure, education, civility, and community service.

Attorney Chris Mellino invites you to contact our Cleveland office with any questions you may have about your specialist. You may also download or request Chris’ free, easy-to-read guide to filing a claim in Ohio.

When a Cleveland, Ohio, the patient develops an infection while being treated at a hospital, and it significantly impacts his or her health, he or she may be eligible to file a medical malpractice claim.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 2 million infections are contracted in hospitals every year, and approximately 90,000 of them result in death. About 1.5 million more infections are contracted in long-term care facilities, for a total of 3.5 million each year.

To toughen its stance on the issue, the United States government declared in 2008 that Medicare, the country’s health insurance program for the elderly and disabled, would not reimburse the cost of hospital infections or any other preventable conditions that result from medical mistakes. In other words, if you acquire an infection while being treated at a medical facility, those additional expenses will not be forwarded to Medicare. The hospital or clinic will have to pay for your treatment.

If you developed a serious and debilitating infection at a hospital, attorney Chris Mellino welcomes you to contact our Cleveland office with any questions you may have. You may also download or request Chris’ free, easy-to-read guide to filing a claim in Ohio.

Nerve damage during surgery is most often caused directly (such as with a surgical instrument) or indirectly (such as via an anesthesia error).

In the first case, the slip of a scalpel or another medical instrument may cut, clamp, or burn a nerve. During hip replacement surgery, this may affect the sciatic nerve, which could result in drop foot, or the femoral nerve. During knee replacement, this may affect the peroneal and tibial nerves.

An anesthesia mistake can cause nerve damage in a number of ways, including:

  • if blood flow is blocked en route to the nervous system or to particular nerves during general or local anesthesia, nerves may become permanently or partially damaged;
  • if the needle used to inject the anesthesia injures nerve tissue;
  • if the patient is placed in a position that restricts blood flow to the nerves.

Nerve damage may manifest as a temporary pins-and-needles feeling, paralysis, temporary or permanent loss of feeling, loss of motor function (such as with a brachial plexus injury), or scarring. Surgical mistake attorney Chris Mellino welcomes you to contact our Cleveland office for a free consultation if you suffered any of these after an operation.

You can file a medical malpractice lawsuit in Ohio for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Attorney Chris Mellino welcomes you to contact our Cleveland office for a free consultation. During that meeting, we’ll answer any questions you may have and determine whether you have a claim worth pursuing. The amount of damages you can pursue varies and depends on the situation and severity of your case.

Determining the financial value (referred to as “non-economic damages”) of injuries such as the amount of pain and emotional trauma experienced can be difficult. Since there is no set formula to establish that amount, the following factors are considered:

  • the effects of the malpractice on the person’s health and well-being (i.e., disfigurement, illness, paralysis, emotional pain and suffering such as PTSD);
  • how these effects have hindered the victim’s ability to work and/or otherwise enjoy a normal life; and
  • what physical and/or emotional needs must be met in the future.

No matter what type of damages you seek, malpractice lawsuits can be complex and confusing. An attorney can help review records and gather other evidence; consult experts to testify on your behalf; and calculate damages, lost wages, and future rehabilitation expenses to ensure that you are awarded the highest amount possible.

Common examples of medical malpractice include plastic surgery errors, prescription drug-related injuries, birth injuries, and surgical mistakes, such as amputating the wrong limb, removing the wrong kidney, or perforating an organ.

Plastic surgery malpractice cases can be tough to defend unless a surgeon’s negligence caused nerve damage, paralysis, infection, or death. Contact our Cleveland office today to learn whether you have a viable claim against your surgeon.

Prescription drug errors often go unreported by medical staff and unnoticed by patients but can lead to serious injuries or death. Sometimes a mistake may be caught before any damage has been done. For example, if a patient has been given an overdose of blood thinner Coumadin, Vitamin K can be administered to counter adverse side effects. When medicine a doctor prescribed causes harm, however, a malpractice attorney can determine who’s liable: the doctors, his or her staff, a pharmacist, or, in the case of a dangerous or defective drug, the pharmaceutical manufacturer or its marketing company.

Neglect or injury to the mother or child could result in a birth injury, such as:

  • cerebral palsy
  • brachial plexus
  • Erb’s palsy
  • Erb-Duchenne
  • fetal death
  • oxygen deprivation-related brain damage
  • fractures
  • Klumpke’s palsy

Surgical errors encompass:

  • puncturing internal organs
  • leaving implements inside the patient
  • operating on the wrong body part
  • operating on the wrong patient

CAN I FILE A CLAIM?

If you have questions about a prescription drug-related injury or other medical mistake, attorney Chris Mellino welcomes you to contact our Cleveland office for a free consultation.

When you read about a doctor who’s been sued repeatedly for malpractice, you may be concerned about your own primary care physician, surgeon, oncologist, or neurologist. Unfortunately, most negligence lawsuits settle confidentially, so you may not readily find information by searching public records. So how can you find out if your doctor has been sued or disciplined?

“To uncover disciplinary information about your doctor, your best bet is to contact your state’s medical board,” says ABC News. “What is made available to the public varies from state to state, but, says [Susan Pisano of the American Association of Health Plans], there is a growing emphasis across the country on the rights of individual patients.”

In Ohio, visit https://www.med.ohio.gov, select the darker blue “credential and research” box, and proceed from there. Licensee profile and status, for instance, allows you to research by:

  • profession
  • business name;
  • license number;
  • first and last name;
  • city, state, zip code, and county; and/or
  • specialty.

You may also be interested in monthly formal actions, which date back to January 2010 (at the time of this writing) and appear as a PDF alphabetized by the last name.

Although the site won’t display pending claims or lawsuits, if significant malfeasance has been discovered related to the physician’s conduct, a license search will show that action has been taken against him or her.

Chronic pain syndrome, or CPS, is typically defined as pain that persists longer than six months. The condition is difficult for doctors to diagnose and treat since it is not well understood by the medical community.

However, symptoms may include:

  • lingering pain after an illness or injury that has healed;
  • shooting, burning, or aching sensations; and
  • tightness, soreness, or stiffness of muscles and joints.

These symptoms are often hard to treat and may not respond to traditional medications or physical therapy. Patients may begin to feel depressed or fatigued from their inability to find relief.

CPS may stem from:

  • injuries from an accident such as a fall, car accident, or head trauma;
  • osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis;
  • spine deformations such as scoliosis; and
  • deterioration of the nervous system.

Treatment options are in development, but a physician may recommend the following:

  • sympathetic nerve blocks that place an anesthetic next to the spine to block receptors;
  • surgical sympathectomy, which destroys the nerves associated with the pain;
  • drug pumps implanted beneath the skin to distribute medication directly into the spinal cord fluid; and
  • spinal cord stimulation, which stimulates the nerves via electrodes placed on the skin.

If you have questions about chronic pain syndrome, personal injury lawyer Chris Mellino welcomes you to contact our Cleveland office for a free consultation.

If a doctor refuses to provide your medical records, it’s probably because he or she knows some kind of mistake was made. Medical malpractice attorneys can expedite the process, particularly since Ohio’s statute of limitations restricts the amount of time in which you can take action against the negligent party.

Withholding a patient’s history is no more than an attempt to protect oneself from the legal ramifications of his or her actions — or inaction, such as in a case of cancer misdiagnosis. Ohio law entitles all patients to copies of their medical records if you present the office or hospital with a medical records release form.

Early in his career, attorney Chris Mellino and his former partner won a landmark case against a doctor who altered medical records. Moskovitz v. Mt. Sinai made it possible for future victims to pursue punitive damages in such a lawsuit. Chris welcomes you to contact our Cleveland office with any questions you may have.

Punitive damages are awarded in a case as a way to punish someone who has committed a crime and to deter the defendant from committing the act again. These damages are only awarded in certain situations, and most states have limitations on the amount that can be paid and when this type of compensation is appropriate.

Up until 1994 in Ohio, a medical malpractice attorney could only pursue punitive damages for the victim if the doctor’s negligence directly caused harm. Then, Chris Mellino and his former partner took misdiagnosis case Moskovitz v. Mt. Sinai to the state’s Supreme Court, which determined that a doctor who’d altered medical records “exhibited a total disregard for the law and the rights of Mrs. Moskovitz and her family.” From that ruling forward, Ohioans in a similar situation could pursue punitive damages, but it is important to note that these damages are not intended to compensate the victim. They are purely to punish the wrongdoer.

In most cases, the plaintiff must prove that the healthcare provider engaged in gross negligence or intentionally acted in a malicious way. In the realm of medical malpractice, this can include:

  • Misdiagnosis or wrong diagnosis
  • Surgical errors, such as wrong-site surgery or improper technique
  • Hospital-acquired infections
  • Prescription or medication errors
  • Disfigurement

If you have questions about medical malpractice, attorney Chris Mellino welcomes you to contact our Cleveland office for a free consultation.

The hours following a severe burn injury are crucial to protecting the patient from life-threatening complications, such as an infection. Burns remove the body’s protective layer of skin, leaving the patient susceptible to harmful microbes. Antibiotics can help protect the patient from a debilitating or fatal infection.

Depending on the injury, burn victims can suffer respiratory problems after inhaling smoke and overheated chemicals. Thus, it is imperative that physicians check for, and treat, damage to a patient’s airways. Seizures may also occur, but this complication happens almost exclusively in children. It can be attributed to electrolyte imbalance, stress hormones, or other unknown reasons.

The formation of thick scar tissue (keloids) can be a complication of burn injuries and their subsequent treatment with skin grafts. The incidence of keloids can often be reduced by using pressure garments on the affected areas during the healing process.

A burn patient should also be monitored to make sure his or her fluid balance is regulated and that he or she is getting the appropriate amount of oxygen. Failure to monitor a patient’s vital signs can have devastating consequences.

If you suspect that a doctor neglected to properly care for a severe burn, attorney Chris Mellino welcomes you to contact our Cleveland office for a free consultation.

Ohio medical malpractice law dictates that a doctor testifying in a case must spend at least half of his professional time treating patients and have training, knowledge, and experience in treating the problem involved in the case.

Because of our experience representing injured clients for nearly thirty years, we have a network of resources to help locate not only the most qualified experts but also those who will communicate well with the jury.

Wrong site surgery occurs when a doctor operates on the wrong part of the patient’s body, on the wrong side of the patient’s body (e.g. operating on the left leg when the problem is on the right), or sometimes even on the wrong patient. The term applies to surgery and a variety of invasive procedures.

This type of surgical error can have serious or even deadly consequences, particularly when the patient loses valuable time from his or her treatment plan because he or she needs to recover from the unnecessary surgery.

CAN I FILE A WRONG SITE SURGERY CLAIM?

A doctor’s mistake can change your life forever. If a doctor operated on the wrong side of your body, causing you to suffer further injury and more surgery, medical malpractice attorney Chris Mellino welcomes you to contact our Cleveland office for a free consultation.

WHY SHOULD I TRUST ATTORNEY CHRIS MELLINO TO HANDLE MY WRONG SITE SURGERY LAWSUIT?

First, Mellino Law Firm does not advertise. Attorneys and satisfied clients send us the majority of our cases. Others find us online.

Second, Chris Mellino is respected throughout northeast Ohio for their ability to dig below the surface and make sure no fact is overlooked. In fact, Chris has been involved in several cases that changed Ohio law, 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, some firms take every case that walks in the door, leave clients in the hands of “case managers,” and settle those cases for the first amount the defendant offers. Mellino Law Firm only pursues compensation for patients who’ve suffered a severe injury or death. By limiting the number of claims we accept, we’re able to give each one the attention it deserves.

Last but not least, since 2010, Mellino Law Firm has been the only surgical malpractice law firm in Cleveland to be accepted into Primerus, which screens potential members by speaking to judges, other lawyers, bar associations, clients, and insurance carriers about a firm’s integrity, work product, fee structure, education, civility, and community service.

If a surgeon operated on the wrong side of your body, attorney Chris Mellino invites you to contact our Cleveland office for a free consultation.

A medical malpractice attorney can help determine liability in a claim. Potential defendants include:

  • pediatricians
  • pharmacists
  • physicians
  • chiropractors
  • primary care physicians
  • OB/GYNs and midwives
  • specialists
  • surgeons
  • anesthesiologists
  • psychiatrists
  • homeopathic doctors
  • alternative health care physicians
  • nurses and physicians’ assistants
  • nurse practitioners

Hospitals, outpatient treatment facilities, pharmaceutical companies, and makers of defective medical devices may also be held responsible for your injury.

In order for you to obtain compensation for medical expenses and other damages, you must be able to show that the party in question:

  • owed you a duty of care
  • failed to uphold his or her duty
  • acted negligently (which in turn, caused your injuries)

If you have questions about filing a medical malpractice claim, attorney Chris Mellino welcomes you to contact our Cleveland office for a free consultation. You may also download or request Chris’ free, easy-to-read guide to filing a claim in Ohio.

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