A healthcare professional who is careless with your health has betrayed your trust and put your life in danger. Hold the right person financially accountable with the help of a Chicago medical malpractice attorney.
Injuries, illnesses, and deaths are the tragic results of medical malpractice. To make matters worse, medical malpractice is preventable, so every person hurt by a healthcare professional’s careless actions could have been spared that suffering if the doctor, nurse, dentist, pharmacist, hospital, or other medical provider had simply followed protocol.
But when medical negligence injures you or makes you sick, that doesn’t have to be the end of the story. You don’t have to be left with the pain and financial burden of your injury. You can fight back by filing a medical malpractice claim, which, if successful, could win you the compensation you need to move forward with your life.
However, taking on wealthy doctors and hospitals with teams of lawyers at their disposal will lead you to more than a few roadblocks as you pursue compensation. That’s why it’s important to arm yourself with the experience and knowledge of a Chicago medical malpractice lawyer. To get started, reach out to Lane & Lane, LLC today.
Defining Medical Negligence
Put simply, medical negligence occurs when a doctor or other healthcare professional violates the “standard of care.” This standard involves the widely accepted rules and practices for treating patients in similar situations to yours.
Because you are, presumably, not an expert in medical procedures and practices, you may not know whether your healthcare provider violated the standard of care before injuring you or making you sicker. Still, to recover compensation for your Chicago medical malpractice claim, you will have to prove that your healthcare provider was at fault, according to Illinois law.
This is one of the key ways a Chicago medical negligence attorney can help you. Because of our years of experience with medical malpractice claims, we will be able to tell you whether you have a viable case, what your next steps should be, and how likely you are to be successful.
Medical Negligence Cases Common in Chicago
With its abundance of hospitals and other healthcare facilities, Chicago sees more than its fair share of medical malpractice claims. In truth, medical malpractice is a broad term—it encompasses almost any type of negligent behavior by a medical provider that injures you.
However, some types of medical negligence cases are more common than others. The following are some common types of negligent medical behaviors that lead to malpractice claims in Chicago:
- Misdiagnosis – When doctors fail to use their years of training to identify the correct health problem and instead diagnose you with something you don’t have, your true condition can worsen. That’s an injury you can be compensated for.
- Missed Diagnosis – Similar to misdiagnosis, missing a health problem altogether when you complain of symptoms that warrant action could constitute medical negligence if you are harmed by the doctor’s failure to diagnose you with anything or prescribe treatment.
- Anesthesia Errors – Giving you the wrong anesthesia medication, prescribing too much, or administering too little can lead to extreme pain at best and death at worst.
- Improper Prescriptions – If your doctor or pharmacist failed to recognize that a medication you had been prescribed was unsafe for you, you could hold them financially accountable. This type of medical malpractice claim often includes drug interactions, improper doses, medication allergies, and other problems.
- Surgery Errors – In some of the worst surgical errors, surgeons have amputated the wrong limb or completed life-altering surgery on the wrong patient. From these all the way down to more minor surgical errors that injure you, you deserve compensation.
- Birth Injuries – During birth, newborns and their mothers can be injured if doctors and other healthcare professionals are not giving the procedures their full attention.
- Serious Infections – As treatment-resistant infections become a more widespread problem, preventable infections become more of a threat to patients’ health. If your infection could have been prevented, you might have a viable medical malpractice claim on your hands.
These are just a few of the different types of medical malpractice cases that are frequently seen in Chicago. If you’ve been injured or fallen ill due to a different kind of medical error that was not discussed above, reach out to your Chicago medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible to discuss the details of your case so we can determine whether we can move forward with a claim.
Who Is Responsible for My Medical Injuries?
It can sometimes be difficult to determine who should be held accountable for your injuries or illness in a medical malpractice case because there are often multiple healthcare professionals responsible for caring for and treating you. The good news is that nearly any medical provider can be brought to justice for their negligence, including the following:
- The hospital
- Physician assistants
- Certified nursing assistants
- Home health aides
- Doctor offices
In some cases, more than one of these individuals or entities could have contributed to your injuries. We will be prepared to hold each of them accountable for their part in the suffering you’ve endured as a result of their negligent actions.
What Happens if You Contributed to the Medical Mistake?
Many survivors of medical malpractice believe that if they played a part in the cause of their injuries, they’ll no longer be able to seek the compensation they need to move forward with their lives.
Fortunately, this isn’t always the case. Illinois practices modified comparative negligence when determining fault, which means you can still pursue your claim if you are partially responsible for the cause of your injuries. For instance, maybe you tried to fight through the pain you were feeling or didn’t following your aftercare instructions to the letter.
If a medical error is still the primary cause of your condition, you’ll have a case. But your final award will reflect your portion of liability, as it will be deducted from your compensation. Let’s say you were found to be 10 percent responsible, and the defendant was ordered to pay you $500,000 for your damages. You should expect to come away with a total of $450,000—10 percent less than the award.
Illinois’ Statute of Limitations and How It Applies to Your Medical Negligence Claim
Making sure your claim is filed before the statute of limitations runs out is of utmost importance. Failure to get your claim filed in court within this time will mean that the courts can bar you from seeking the compensation that is rightfully yours.
For medical malpractice cases in Chicago—and across Illinois—the statute of limitations is two years from the date the injury occurred or was discovered. When we refer to cases where a discovery was made, we mean that in some cases, the injury or medical error isn’t discovered until a later date than the date the incident happened.
For example, if you’re suffering from stomach pain years after a surgery on your abdomen, and it is subsequently determined that a surgical instrument was left in your body, the statute of limitations would likely begin running from the date you discovered the surgical instrument was left in your body.
Compensation for Victims of Medical Malpractice in Chicago
The compensation you stand to receive for your Chicago malpractice claim should cover every hardship you’ve faced because of your healthcare provider’s negligence. That can include economic damages, which reflect your financial losses, and non-economic damages, which reflect the damage to your mental health and lifestyle.
Although damages vary from one victim to the next, the following are some of the more common medical negligence damages in Chicago claims:
- Medical expenses stemming from the injury you sustained
- Income you lose because you’re stuck in recovery
- Loss of household services
- Future wages you will lose because your injury renders you unable to work
- The damage to your earning capacity, including promotions, bonuses, and retirement accounts
- The cost of therapy, whether physical, emotional, or both
- Reduced quality of life
- Pain and suffering
- The loss of companionship and love
- Scarring and disfigurement, often from surgical errors
- Mental anguish
- The loss of enjoyment of life
- Wrongful death
When you meet with your Chicago medical malpractice claim lawyer, you will go over all the available evidence, including your medical records. Your attorney will ask you questions about how your injuries have affected your life. Don’t leave anything out—after all, you want to make sure every damage you’ve suffered is accounted for in the end.
There is a possibility that you’ll be awarded punitive damages in your Chicago medical malpractice claim. Medical errors simply can’t happen, and when the judge finds that the medical professional in question was reckless, egregiously negligent, or malicious, they may award punitive damages as a form of punishment.
Hopefully, others in the medical profession will think twice before making the same mistakes the defendant did in your case.
Chicago Medical Malpractice FAQ
Because medical malpractice is a complicated area of the law, we know victims tend to have a lot of questions. We’re always happy to help. Read on for the answers to several of the most common questions we receive at our firm.
Is there a cap on the amount of compensation I can receive?
If you had asked us several years ago, we would have said yes. However, a 2010 Illinois Supreme Court decision reversed the past $500,000 cap on non-economic damages for medical malpractice claims.
Now, there’s no cap on non-economic damages like pain and suffering, scarring and disfigurement, reduced quality of life, loss of consortium, and more for medical malpractice claims. Of course, your claim should also cover your economic damages, which may include medical bills, lost wages, and others.
You can be sure that your medical malpractice attorney in Chicago will account for every way your life has been influenced by your injuries so you are able to achieve full compensation for all you’ve been through.
Will I have to go to court for my Chicago medical malpractice case?
You may be able to avoid going to court, although sometimes going to court is the best way to get the most out of your claim. Before bringing your case to court, we’re going to do everything we can to obtain a fair settlement from the insurance company.
The doctor’s office, hospital, and/or physician in your case will likely have been protected by medical professional liability insurance designed specifically for cases like yours. Our goal will be to get the insurance company to see reason and give you the compensation you’re entitled to.
However, it isn’t always that easy, and the insurance company is likely to try to settle for far less than you deserve. When this happens to you, you can expect us to bring your case before a judge and jury so you can be awarded a sum that will meet your needs.
How does the concept of informed consent apply to my claim?
Informed consent means you agreed to a medical procedure or treatment after being informed by your doctor about the risks of that procedure. This can include anything from surgery to medications. If your physician failed to inform you of risks, it can be grounds for a medical malpractice suit, as you did not give your informed consent prior to the procedure or treatment.
Contact an Experienced Chicago Medical Malpractice Attorney
Medical malpractice hurts countless Chicago residents every year, and each one of those victims deserves compensation for the suffering they’ve had to endure through no fault of their own. If you believe you are one of those victims, don’t hesitate to get in touch with Lane & Lane, LLC as soon as you can.
To schedule a free consultation with a Chicago medical malpractice lawyer, fill out the form at the bottom of this page or give us a call directly at 312-332-1400. We’re ready to work for you as you seek the compensation you deserve.