If you’ve been the victim of medical malpractice, you may wonder what legal remedies you may have. First, you should know you’re not alone. Medical malpractice is now the 3rd leading cause of death in the United States behind only heart disease and cancer. Recent studies have shown that medical errors in the U.S. lead to hundreds of thousands of deaths each year, not to mention many more serious and/or permanent injuries.
While the thought of taking legal action against a medical provider can be daunting, with the right information and support, you can pursue justice and receive the compensation you deserve.
If you or a loved one has been the victim of medical negligence, our attorneys can help you hold the responsible parties accountable and recover the compensation you deserve.
Suing a health care professional is a complicated process. With our experienced legal team on your side, you can rest assured that your case is in good hands. Read on to learn more about how to file a medical malpractice claim and what to expect during the process.
What Is Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice is defined as negligence committed by a health care professional that causes harm to a patient. It can take many forms, from incorrect diagnosis to surgical errors. If you believe that you or a loved one has been the victim of medical malpractice, it is essential to seek legal counsel as soon as possible.
An experienced malpractice attorney in Chicago will review your case and advise you on the best course of action. They will evaluate the statute of limitations in your specific case to ensure you have the opportunity to pursue justice.
To win a medical malpractice case, you must be able to prove that the doctor or other healthcare provider:
- Owed you a duty of care
- Breached that duty of care, typically by breaching the relevant standard of medical care applicable to the situation
- The breach caused you an injury; and
- You suffered damages as a result
What Are the Steps for Suing a Health Care Professional?
If you feel that your doctor or health care provider may have committed malpractice and caused you harm, you may be at a loss as to how to proceed. While the process is complicated, it is essential to know that you do have rights and that there are steps that you can take to protect those rights.
Contact the Medical Professional Involved
If you feel that a doctor or other medical professional has wronged you, you may want to start by contacting the individual involved. It is important to allow your doctor to explain what may have gone wrong and to see if the problem can be remedied.
In many cases, problems can be resolved without taking legal action. However, if your doctor is unwilling to listen to your concerns or address the issue, then you may need to consider filing a claim.
An experienced Chicago medical malpractice attorney can help you understand your legal options and protect your rights.
Contact the Relevant Medical Licensing Board
If you are not satisfied with the response you receive from the medical professional, your next step should be to contact the relevant licensing board. Each state has its own board responsible for handling complaints against licensed medical professionals. In Illinois, you can file a complaint with the Illinois Department of Public Health and/or the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation.
The board will investigate your claim and determine if there is enough evidence to take disciplinary action against the heath care provider. If the board finds that the doctor did commit malpractice, they may take away their license or impose other penalties.
Get a Medical Assessment to Confirm Your Case Has Merit
To have a successful medical malpractice case, you must have a medical expert confirming that the doctor or other health care provider indeed committed malpractice.
The medical expert will review your medical records and determine if the original health care provider breached the standard of care.
If they find that the doctor or other health care provider did commit malpractice, they will provide a written report detailing their findings. This report will be used as evidence in your case. Our lawyers can find a reputable medical professional to assess your case and give you the best chance of success.
File a Medical Malpractice Claim
If you decide to file a medical malpractice claim, you must do so within the statute of limitations. This is the timeframe in which you are legally allowed to file a claim.
In Illinois, the statute of limitations for medical malpractice is two years from the date of the injury or the date you discovered the injury. However, there are exceptions to this rule, so speak with an attorney as soon as possible to find out if you are still within the timeframe for filing a claim. It is important to retain an attorney well in advance of the statute of limitations so that the attorney can obtain the necessary medical records and conduct a thorough investigation of your case.
Once you have filed your case, the doctor will have an opportunity to respond. The parties will conduct discovery including written interrogatories, document discovery, and depositions of all parties involved. If the case ultimately goes to trial, a judge or jury will decide whether the health care provider is guilty of medical malpractice and what damages you are owed.
Suing a health care provider is a complicated and stressful process. However, if you have been the victim of medical malpractice, know that you have options.
An accomplished medical malpractice attorney can help you understand your legal rights and options and handle the process of filing a claim. Contact our experienced medical malpractice attorneys today for a free consultation.
Types of Medical Malpractice in Chicago, IL
There are many different types of medical malpractice, but some of the most common include the following:
Misdiagnosis or Delayed Diagnosis
Misdiagnosis occurs when a doctor incorrectly diagnoses a patient’s condition. Delayed diagnosis occurs when a doctor fails to diagnose a patient’s condition timely.
Both misdiagnosis and a delayed diagnosis can have severe consequences for patients. Misdiagnosis can lead to patients receiving unnecessary treatment, while delayed diagnosis can worsen patients’ conditions and become more challenging to treat.
In either case, patients may suffer from pain, suffering, and financial damages. Our Chicago medical malpractice lawyers have experience handling misdiagnosis and delayed diagnosis cases and can help you recover the compensation you deserve.
Birth injuries are medical malpractice that can occur during pregnancy, childbirth, or post-delivery. While most birth injuries are minor and temporary, some can cause serious long-term health problems or even death.
Various factors, including medical negligence, understaffing, or a dangerous delivery environment can cause birth injuries.
Regardless of the cause, birth injuries can have a lasting impact on both the child and the parents. If you or your child has suffered from a birth injury, we have the experience and resources to help you recover the compensation you deserve.
Surgical errors are medical malpractice that can occur during any surgery. Various factors, including human error, equipment failure, or environmental conditions can cause them.
Whatever the cause, surgical errors can have severe consequences for patients, ranging from minor complications to death. In some cases, surgical errors may even require patients to undergo additional surgeries to correct the problem.
Patients can take a few steps to help reduce their risk of surgical errors.
- First, they should make sure to choose a reputable and experienced surgeon.
- Second, they should ask questions and clarifications before surgery to ensure they understand the risks and benefits involved.
- Finally, they should follow all post-operative instructions closely to minimize the chances of complications.
Our surgical malpractice lawyers can help you seek legal justice if you or a loved one has been the victim of surgical errors.
Anesthesia is a powerful tool to control pain during the surgery and other medical procedures. When administered correctly, it is safe and effective. However, when anesthesia is not administered correctly, it can have serious and fatal consequences.
Common anesthesia errors include:
- Giving too much or too little anesthesia,
- Failing to monitor patients properly during surgery,
- Not having the proper equipment.
If you or a loved one has been injured due to an anesthesia error, our Chicago medical malpractice lawyers at Drake & Collopy, P.C. can help you navigate the legal hurdles and get the compensation you deserve.
Medical Device Errors
Medical device errors are malpractice that can occur when a health care professional either fails to implant or use a medical device properly or when the device itself is defective and fails.
These errors can often have severe consequences for patients, including pain, infection, tissue damage, and even death. In some cases, medical device errors may lead to the recall of the device in question.
While medical device errors are relatively rare, they can occur with any medical device, from simple catheters to complex artificial hearts.
You may be entitled to compensation if a loved one has been injured due to a medical device error. A skilled medical malpractice attorney can help you investigate your claim and determine whether you have a case against the healthcare provider or manufacturer of the defective device.
Requirements for a Medical Malpractice Claim
To have a successful medical malpractice claim, you must prove four elements: duty, breach, causation, and damages.
A medical malpractice claim can only be brought against a healthcare professional or facility if there is evidence of duty. In other words, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant owed them a duty of care.
This duty arises from the professional relationship between the healthcare provider and the patient.
For example, a doctor has a duty to provide their patients with competent medical care. This duty exists regardless of whether the patient is paying for the service or not. If the healthcare provider breaches this duty, and the patient is harmed directly, they may be able to file a medical malpractice claim.
If there is no evidence that the health care provider owed a duty to the plaintiff, then a medical malpractice claim will not be successful. At Drake & Collopy, P.C., our Chicago medical malpractice lawyers have the experience and resources necessary to help you build a strong case. We will fight tirelessly to get you the compensation you deserve.
After establishing the duty, the plaintiff must show that the defendant breached this duty. In other words, they must show that the healthcare provider failed to provide the appropriate standard of care and that this failure directly led to their injuries.
The standard of care is generally defined as the level of care that reasonable and competent healthcare professionals would have provided under the same or similar circumstances.
This standard can be challenging to prove, as it often requires the testimony of expert witnesses. If you are unable to prove that the heath care provider breached the relevant standard of care, your case will not be successful. However, our team of experienced medical malpractice lawyers has the resources and knowledge necessary to help you build a strong case.
Causation is often one of the most hotly contested issues in medical malpractice cases. The plaintiff must not only show that the healthcare provider breached the standard of care but also prove that this breach directly led to their injuries.
In other words, they must show that their injuries would not have occurred for the defendant’s negligence. This can be difficult to meet, especially if the plaintiff has pre-existing conditions that may have contributed to their injuries.
With the help of an experienced medical malpractice attorney, you may be able to overcome this hurdle.
Finally, the plaintiff must show that they suffered some type of actual harm due to the defendant’s negligence. This harm can be physical, emotional, or financial. It is not enough that the plaintiff could have been severely harmed because of the negligence. If the plaintiff cannot show that they suffered actual damages, then their medical malpractice claim will not be successful.
Compensation in Medical Malpractice Cases in Chicago
If you are successful in your medical malpractice claim, you will be entitled to compensation for your damages. This compensation can include:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Lost wages and lost earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Disability and disfigurement
- Punitive damages (in some cases)
The amount of compensation you are entitled to will depend on the specific facts of your case. At Drake & Collopy, P.C., our Chicago medical malpractice lawyers will work diligently to get you all types of compensation you deserve.
We have a proven track record of success and will put our experience to work for you.
What Is The Average Payout For A Chicago Negligence Claim?
Medical negligence claims are often complex and difficult to value. Compensation is awarded according to two types of damages: general damages and special damages.
General damages compensate for any physical or mental damage your doctor’s negligence caused you. Special damages are awarded for any financial losses you have incurred as a direct result of your injuries.
To value the compensation for general damages, the extent of mental and physical damage caused is examined, in addition to the impact on your quality of life.
One way to determine this is through a medical assessment from an independent expert. Their report will overview your injuries and their effect on your day-to-day life.
In some cases, it may also be necessary to obtain reports from other experts such as a vocational or economics expert to quantify the financial impact of your injuries.
Once all the evidence has been gathered, your attorney will work to negotiate a fair settlement with the negligent party’s insurers. If an agreement cannot be reached, then court proceedings will be necessary.
The amount of compensation you receive will depend on many factors, and it’s vital to seek professional representation to ensure you are fully compensated for your injuries.
Contact Our Chicago Medical Malpractice Lawyers
If you or a loved one has been injured due to medical negligence, you need an experienced attorney on your side.
At Drake & Collopy, P.C., our Chicago medical malpractice attorneys have more than five decades of combined experience handling complex cases. We understand your challenges and will fight to get you the compensation you need and deserve.
For a free consultation with one of our lawyers, call us at (312) 262-4872 or contact us online. We represent clients in Chicago and throughout Illinois.