Ohio football standout sues surgeon and others for medical malpractice

An Ohio football star has filed a medical malpractice suit for surgical treatment.

A 26-year-old Ohio football star has sued his previous surgeon in Ohio state court for medical malpractice and fraud related to problematic Achilles tendon surgery, according to an article in The Plain Dealer. Chris Wells, often called Beanie, is a standout running back originally from Akron's Garfield High School, followed by Ohio State and the Arizona Cardinals.

The October 2014 suit also names other related doctors and medical-service entities.

The article describes that Wells injured his tendon while trying out for the Baltimore Ravens in October 2013, after which he had reparative surgery by a Westerville, Ohio, surgeon. The complaint alleges that the surgeon reviewed an MRI a few months later and falsely stated that the tendon was healed, when it was instead "structurally compromised and in danger of a complete rupture."

The Plain Dealer says that Wells then reinjured his Achilles five months later and had a second surgery by another surgeon. Wells asks for past and future economic and noneconomic damages, plus punitive damages, legal fees, expert fees and costs.

As of the date of this writing, only one of the health care entities named as defendants has filed an answer, according to the court's website. This defendant asserts several defenses and asks for dismissal, denying any "negligence or other wrongdoing."

In Ohio, the sports community, medical profession and personal injury bar will follow this medical negligence case with interest as it progresses through the court.

Ohio medical malpractice claims

To prevail in an Ohio medical malpractice claim, an injured plaintiff must show that the doctor was negligent by not adhering to the ordinary medical standard of care under the circumstances, and that this negligent treatment caused the injury. Normally, expert testimony is needed to establish the appropriate standard of care.

Medical malpractice law is extremely complicated, both legally and procedurally, and it is in an injured Ohioan's interest to retain an experienced personal injury attorney for information, advice and representation, so that deadlines are not missed, legal complexities are appropriately handled, a proper investigation is conducted and zealous, intelligent legal counsel is employed at every step, through negotiation and trial, if necessary.

Statute of limitations

An important reason for relying on a knowledgeable medical malpractice attorney is the confusing notice and filing deadlines that apply in Ohio, known as the statutes of limitations. While the exceptions and nuances are too lengthy for this article, in general:

  • Medical malpractice lawsuits must generally be filed within one year of accrual, meaning from the time the injury is discovered, or should have reasonably been discovered, with some exception.
  • If a written notice of the intention to file a suit for medical malpractice is given to the defendant before the one-year period expires, the lawsuit can normally be filed within 180 days of that notice, even if it goes over the one-year deadline.
  • Different deadline calculations apply to injured minor children (and sometimes their parents) or injured patients who are mentally incompetent.
  • With narrow exception, medical malpractice suits in Ohio must be brought within four years of the medical treatment forming the lawsuit's basis.

Noneconomic damage caps

Ohio medical malpractice awards are subject to statutory caps for noneconomic damages, meaning those assessed for "intangible loss," or harm that is not financial or economic. For example, noneconomic loss includes pain and suffering, disfigurement, mental anguish, loss of companionship and more.

Noneconomic damages are limited to $250,000 or three times the amount of economic damages, whichever is greater, but no more than $350,000 per victim or $500,000 per occurrence. Caps are higher for certain particularly severe types of injuries.

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