Medical malpractice is a serious concern that affects patients and medical professionals alike. Not only can medical malpractice have devastating physical and emotional effects on the patient, but it can also have legal repercussions for the medical professional.
Unfortunately, far too often medical mistakes are unknowingly or intentionally made by healthcare professionals resulting in injury or death to the patient. Fortunately, those affected by medical malpractice have the right to seek legal recourse with the help of a Chicago medical malpractice lawyer.
We know that medical negligence brings pain and suffering into the lives of victims and their families as well as a financial burden. We offer compassionate and dedicated services and help our clients pursue compensation that will help them move past the challenges they’re facing.
Medical malpractice is defined as the failure of a healthcare professional to provide an adequate level of care that results in injury or death to a patient. In many cases, the patient may never even know that medical malpractice occurred until it is too late. These failures can lead to serious medical complications for the patient, such as infection, nerve damage, disability, or even death.
A report by John Hopkins Hospital revealed that in the United States, medical malpractice tragically ranks behind heart disease and cancer as the third leading cause of wrongful death. This goes to show the severity of medical malpractice, and why seeking legal recourse is so important.
Understandably, while most doctors and other medical practitioners strive to provide the best possible care, mistakes can still be made in diagnosis, treatment, or aftercare that cause harm to a patient. Common examples of medical malpractice include misdiagnosis, surgical errors, birth injuries, failure to diagnose, and medical errors.
If you or someone you love has been a medical malpractice victim in the Chicago area, it’s important to understand your legal rights. A Chicago medical malpractice lawyer can help you by providing legal advice, guidance, and resources. They will work with you through the entire process of filing a claim and fighting for your rights in court.
How to Know if You Have a Medical Malpractice Claim
As mentioned, medical malpractice occurs where a healthcare provider failing to provide reasonable care, resulting in injury or death of a patient. To be considered malpractice, the injury must have been caused by the healthcare provider’s negligence, medical errors, or omissions. In the ordinary course of practice, a medical provider has a legal duty/standard of care to the patient, and any breach of this duty may be considered medical malpractice.
In a medical malpractice case, the plaintiff (the injured party) must prove that there was a duty/standard of care owed by the defendant (the healthcare provider or other entity responsible for providing care), that this duty of care was breached, and that the breach resulted in the injury to the plaintiff.
It is important to note that simply having a bad outcome from medical treatment does not necessarily qualify as medical malpractice. The patient must be able to prove that the doctor or other healthcare professional did something wrong or failed to do something they should have done in order to hold them responsible.
An experienced medical malpractice lawyer will be able to review your case and provide guidance on whether you have a valid claim or not. If they believe that a healthcare provider was negligent, they can help build your case for maximum compensation.
Common Causes of Medical Malpractice
Medical malpractice claims can arise for many different reasons. The most typical causes of medical malpractice include the following:
Inadequate diagnosis and Misdiagnosis
This is, perhaps, the most common cause of medical malpractice claims. Inadequate diagnosis and misdiagnosis can occur when a healthcare provider fails to accurately diagnose or recognize the symptoms of an illness or injury.
To illustrate, a misdiagnosis may occur when the healthcare provider fails to order certain tests, fails to properly interpret test results, or ignores symptoms. The consequence of a misdiagnosis can be severe, resulting in the patient being subject to unnecessary treatments or medications, further medical injury or illness, or even death.
Incorrect or improper treatments
Another potential source of medical malpractice is incorrect treatments. Incorrect treatments can refer to the wrong medication being prescribed, the wrong dosage being given, or a medical procedure performed incorrectly or unnecessarily. These medical errors can be very dangerous and cause serious personal injury or death to a patient.
Negligent or delayed treatment
Another possible cause of medical malpractice is negligent treatment. This occurs when a healthcare provider fails to provide adequate care in a timely manner, resulting in unnecessary health complications or death.
For example, if a doctor was aware that the patient had a life-threatening condition but failed to take appropriate action, this could be considered medical malpractice. Medical Negligence may also take the form of a doctor failing to refer a patient to a specialist or not providing follow-up care as needed.
Failure to obtain informed consent prior to performing a procedure
As part of accepted medical standards, a healthcare provider must obtain informed consent from the patient before performing any procedure. This means that the provider must explain the risks, benefits, and alternatives to the patient prior to treatment or surgery. If informed consent is not obtained, this could be seen as negligence on behalf of the healthcare provider.
Poor communication between healthcare providers and patients
Finally, poor communication between healthcare providers and patients can also be a source of medical malpractice. It is essential that doctors provide thorough explanations regarding diagnosis, treatment options, risks, and aftercare instructions. If a doctor fails to do this or provides incorrect information, this could lead to serious complications for the patient.
Elements of a Medical Malpractice Claim
The elements of a medical malpractice claim include:
Proof that a doctor-patient relationship existed
Proof that the doctor or other healthcare provider (the negligent party) breached their duty of care to you
Proof that the breach of duty caused your injury or death
Documentation of damages suffered, such as medical bills, lost wages, etc.
Damages in a Chicago Medical Malpractice Lawsuit
If a medical malpractice claim is successful and you are awarded damages, the monetary compensation will depend on the severity of your illness or injury, i.e., spinal cord injuries, brain damage, etc. Common types of damages that may be recovered include:
Punitive damages refer to compensation awarded in addition to compensatory damages. These types of damages are not intended to compensate the plaintiff, but rather to punish the defendant for their negligence and in some cases, to deter similar conduct in the future. Medical malpractice damages are generally only awarded in cases of gross negligence or intentional wrongdoing and can vary widely depending on the situation.
Compensatory damages are the most common type of damages awarded in medical malpractice cases and are intended to compensate the plaintiff for losses such as medical cost/bills (including hospital stays and prescription drugs ), lost of wages, pain, and suffering, loss of consortium (loss of companionship or support) and emotional distress. These damages are calculated based on the severity of the injury and any economic losses suffered.
In some cases, compensatory damages may also include future medical expenses. In cases where the plaintiff is expected to incur additional medical expenses in the future as a result of the medical malpractice, these expenses may be included in a claim for damages. Future medical expenses refer to any additional costs associated with necessary medical care, such as doctor’s visits, prescription drugs, physical therapy, or any other related costs.
Additionally, damages for future medical expenses may also include costs related to any necessary care the plaintiff may need due to their injuries, such as nursing care, home health aides, or even modifications to their home.
Non-economic damages are intended to provide compensation for intangible losses such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, mental anguish, or loss of enjoyment of life. These types of damages are more difficult to calculate but may be awarded in addition to compensatory and/or punitive damages. Usually, a judge or jury will consider the severity of the injury and any physical, emotional, or psychological pain suffered by the plaintiff in order to determine an appropriate amount.
How Long Do I Have to File a Chicago Medical Malpractice Lawsuit?
In the state of Illinois, a medical malpractice lawsuit must be filed within two years of the date that you knew or should have known about your injury. This is known as the “Statute of Limitations”, and any claim made outside of this time limit will likely be dismissed. Therefore, it is important to contact an experienced medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible to discuss the details of your case.
It is important to note that there are certain exceptions to the Statute of Limitations, such as when the injured party was a minor at the time period of the incident or if a permanent injury was caused by a foreign object left in a patient’s body. In these cases, a medical malpractice attorney can provide advice on how to proceed.
It is necessary to mention that medical malpractice claims can be complex and costly to pursue. In most cases, a Chicago medical malpractice lawyer will serve as your advocate in court, helping you seek financial compensation for damages suffered due to the negligent action of another. They can help you understand the legal process, protect your rights, and fight for justice.
Medical Malpractice Statistics
According to a study published in BMJ, approximately 40,500 adults in intensive care units die every year because of misdiagnosis.
With an estimated cost of nearly $55 billion per year, medical malpractice is a problem of epidemic proportions.
Only 2% of victims of medical malpractice file claims for compensation.
According to a 2002 study by Healthgrades, about 195,000 deaths in hospitals in the U.S. were because of potentially preventable medical mistakes.
According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, over 106,000 patients die every year because of the negative effects of their medication.
The Institute of Medicine reports that medication errors are the most common medical errors, approximately 1.5 million people suffer injuries from these mistakes every year.
The Benefits of Hiring a Medical Malpractice Lawyer
Navigating the legal system can be complicated, costly, and overwhelming, which is why it’s best to hire an attorney who is well-versed in medical malpractice law. They will have a thorough understanding of the laws and regulations surrounding your case, as well as the resources available for victims of medical malpractice in Chicago. As such, they can protect your rights, offer valuable advice, and help pursue the justice you deserve.
Furthermore, an experienced attorney will investigate the details of your case in order to build a strong argument for why the healthcare professional should be held responsible. They will examine the medical records, speak to witnesses, and consult medical experts when necessary in order to make sure you have the best possible chance of receiving a positive outcome.
Additionally, where a legal action is instituted, your attorney will fight on your behalf, making sure that your case is heard and you receive the fair compensation you deserve. They will negotiate with the defendant’s insurance company to make sure that any settlement offer is fair and just, and they can represent you in court if necessary.
Schedule a Free Consultation With an Attorney Today
Medical malpractice is a serious issue that affects many people each year, but the victims of this negligence have the right to fight for justice and fair settlement. More than 250,000 people in the United States die each year due to medical malpractice, and with the help of a Chicago medical malpractice lawyer, those affected can seek legal recourse for the harm suffered.
By working with a knowledgeable and experienced legal team at Ktenas Injury Attorneys, you can be sure that your case will be taken seriously, and that you will have the best chance of achieving a positive outcome. Don't wait to seek help if you have been the victim of medical malpractice. We’re here to help you understand your legal options and will work with you every step of the way to ensure that you receive the maximum amount of compensation for your injuries. Contact us today at (312) 300-2515.