Primarily, the cause of a vegetative state is brain damage. While those in this state are fully awake, they have no physical awareness of themselves or their surroundings. A vegetative state often occurs after a traumatic brain injury, car wreck or other accident, or it can be the result of medical errors when a doctor makes a mistake or fails to provide adequate care to a patient.
When a vegetative state results from malpractice, it can often entitle victims and their loved ones to compensatory damages for medical bills, pain, suffering and more. Victims in Cleveland affected by malpractice in this way should contact a medical malpractice lawyer in Ohio to review possible legal options.
How Malpractice May Cause a Vegetative State
Unfortunately, many patients who enter vegetative states do not emerge from them. If they do, they’re often left with permanent physical and cognitive disabilities and suffer a decreased quality of life.
Some forms of malpractice that may cause a vegetative state include:
- errors administering anesthesia;
- errors made in surgery;
- failure to monitor a patient’s condition or recognize signs of distress;
- failure to resuscitate in a timely manner; and
- undue delays in providing care or treatment.
When the negligence or error of a doctor, nurse or other medical professional contributes to or causes a vegetative state, they could be held liable via a malpractice claim which a medical malpractice lawyer in Ohio may help pursue.
Filing a Malpractice Claim
In cases in which medical errors may have caused a vegetative state, the victim’s family members may consider filing a malpractice claim against the doctor, nurse or medical facility that was involved in their loved one’s care.
Filing a malpractice claim against a healthcare provider could help the victim’s family members seek compensation for:
- medical bills;
- lost income and benefits;
- pain, suffering;
- mental anguish; and
- much more.
It’s important to note that in Ohio, non-economic damages in a malpractice claim are capped at the larger of $250,000 or three times the damages incurred up to $350,000 per patient or $500,000 per occurrence. However, in cases in which the victim suffers injury that is permanent and prevents self-care, non-economic damages are capped at $500,000 per plaintiff and $1 million per occurrence.
In addition, filing a malpractice claim can also provide a way for family members to seek justice on the victim’s behalf and to prevent future occurrences of malpractice from occurring. In Ohio, punitive damages can be awarded in cases of gross or intentional malpractice. These damages are intended to punish the at-fault party. They are capped at twice the compensatory damages with a limit of 10 percent of net worth up to $350,000 for individuals.
During a malpractice claim, in order to prove the doctor or nurse was at fault, it must be shown that he or she deviated from the standard of care for that specific situation. This is done through expert witness testimony, in which a medical expert discusses how another professional would have behaved if put in a similar situation. Under Ohio state law, the presence of expert testimony is required in any malpractice claim involving a medical professional’s judgment or skills.
Seeking Help from a Medical Malpractice Lawyer in Ohio
According to the New York Times, approximately 25,000 Americans are living in a vegetative state. Anyone whose loved ones have been subjected to a vegetative state because of medical errors or negligence should seek legal counsel. In Ohio, the statute of limitations on medical malpractice states that defendants must be notified within one year of the incident if a claim is going to be filed. Failing to issue this notice within the one-year period will make victims and their family members ineligible for damages.
To learn more about malpractice claims or to begin filing one, victims and their loved ones should call Mellino Robenalt LLC in Cleveland at 440-333-3800 today to set up a consultation to discuss whether malpractice was the cause of a vegetative state.