Were You Harmed By A Medical Professional?
Medical malpractice is all too common in the United States. According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the United States, accounting for approximately 10% of deaths in this country each year.
If you were harmed by a medical provider’s mistake, you may have the right to pursue compensation for extra medical bills, lost wages, pain, and other losses you or your family experienced because of the mistake.
How Can Our Chicago-based Medical Malpractice Attorneys Help?
Our Chicago-based medical malpractice attorneys can assist you with your medical malpractice claim by:
- Investigating the cause of your injuries and identifying all responsible healthcare providers
- Explaining how the claims process works
- Describing the various laws that apply to your case
- Explaining your legal rights and answering questions you have throughout the process
- Collecting medical records and other strong evidence for your case
- Working with new healthcare providers to ensure you get the help and support you need
- Handling communication with the insurance company and other parties
- Consulting with medical experts to connect the medical provider’s mistake and your injuries
- Negotiating for fair compensation on your behalf
How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Chicago Medical Malpractice Attorney?
Some people are worried about the cost of hiring a medical malpractice attorney that they quickly give up on the idea of seeking justice and accountability and shoulder the financial burden a careless healthcare provider subjected them to. You do not have to do that. When you work with our team, you can get qualified lawyers on the case without having to pay any fees upfront. We only get paid out of any award we are able to secure for your claim, meaning you’ll never owe us anything unless we win. This allows you protect your rights without jeopardizing your financial future.
What Is Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice occurs when a healthcare provider deviates from the accepted medical standard of care, causing injury to a patient in the process.
What Is the Standard of Care in a Medical Malpractice Case?
The definition of medical malpractice is incomplete without a strong understanding of the term standard of care. In an Illinois medical malpractice case, the standard of care is the degree of care that another healthcare provider in the same area and specialty would have provided under the same circumstances.
Healthcare providers in Illinois are expected to provide patients with an acceptable level of care that corresponds to their level of education and skill. If they stray from this established standard, they can be held responsible for the harm they cause. It is often necessary to receive testimony from expert witnesses about what other, similarly-situated healthcare providers would have done under the circumstances.
Common Types of Medical Malpractice
There are many different types of medical malpractice. Some of the most common forms of medical malpractice in Chicago include:
- Healthcare provider negligence – A healthcare provider such as a doctor or nurse may breach their duty of care to a patient by misdiagnosing a patient or failing to obtain informed consent before beginning a medical procedure.
- Hospital negligence – Hospitals can be held responsible for the actions of their employees, as well as their own negligence, such as negligent hiring, poor training, or failing to implement safety protocols to protect patients.
- Defective medical equipment – In some instances, medical devices or equipment may fail or harm patients. In these situations, the product manufacturer may be responsible for harm. The hospital may be responsible if it failed to properly maintain the equipment or device or knew about the dangers and still used the problematic item.
- Medication errors – Medication errors occur when a pharmacist or other medical professional incorrectly administers medication, provides the wrong type or method of medication, or fails to check possible adverse effects with other medications the patient takes.
- Surgery errors – Surgeons or their staff may make mistakes during surgery, such as tearing an organ. Research found nearly 10,000 so-called surgical “never events” including leaving a foreign object in a patient, wrong site surgery, and wrong patient surgery over the course of two decades.
- Misdiagnosis – A doctor may misdiagnose a patient if they misinterpret test results, fail to recognize common symptoms of a particular condition or mistake the condition for another one. These errors can be doubly harmful to patients because they are not receiving the care they need and they are receiving other treatment which might be ineffectual or even harmful to them.
- Delayed diagnosis – A delayed diagnosis can occur when a healthcare provider takes longer than necessary to determine an accurate diagnosis for a patient. The patient’s condition may worsen or the patient may have to undergo more invasive treatment because of the delay.
- Lack of informed consent – Doctors are generally required to obtain your informed consent before beginning medical treatment. Informed consent means that you understand the nature of the medical treatment being considered, the potential risks, and the alternatives.
Who Can Be Held Responsible in a Medical Malpractice Claim?
Many different healthcare providers can be held responsible for medical malpractice. Some types of medical providers who are named in medical malpractice claims include:
- Nurse practitioners
- Physicians’ assistants
- Surgical centers
- Birthing centers
- Medical groups
What Causes Medical Malpractice?
It is important to understand that medical malpractice is preventable. Doctors and other healthcare providers are expected to act within their elevated degree of skill and knowledge. The key to a medical malpractice claim is determining whether the provider complied with the standard of care. Because the focus is on this compliance, a healthcare provider can still be held accountable if they cause harm as a result of an innocent mistake. Common mistakes can include:
- Being distracted – Healthcare providers may get distracted or may not pay as much attention as necessary, which can cause them to misinterpret test results, fail to input important information in the patient’s medical record, ignore safety protocol, or miss important symptoms.
- Drug or alcohol impairment – Healthcare providers are not immune to drug or alcohol addictions. They may rely on substances to deal with the stress of their job or personal lives. Because they often have easier access to these substances, they may suffer more from these issues than people in other industries.
- Fatigued decision-making – Many healthcare workers work 12 or more hours per day, often in consecutive days. This can make getting sleep difficult. Fatigued healthcare providers can make mistakes because their cognition is impacted similarly to how it is affected by alcohol.
- Understaffing – Medical facilities may be overwhelmed with patients and understaffed. This can make it difficult for the providers to catch every problem.
- Communication mistakes – When a patient is passed off to other medical providers, information may get lost in the process. This is even more likely to occur in a fast-paced environment, such as the emergency room.
A lawyer can help identify the factors that may have contributed to your substandard care and work to hold the responsible parties accountable for their careless actions.
What Types of Injuries Can Medical Malpractice Cause?
The potential injuries that medical malpractice can cause depend on several factors, including the patient’s age, medical history, and condition, as well as the nature and timing of the mistake. Some injuries that may result from medical malpractice may include:
- Organ failure
- Heart attack
- Hemorrhagic stroke
- Internal bleeding
- Disfiguring injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Deep vein thrombosis
- Pulmonary embolism
- Loss of pregnancy
- Birth injuries
- More advanced-stage of cancer
- Allergic reaction, including anaphylactic shock
What Compensation Can be Recovered in a Medical Malpractice Claim?
The compensation recoverable in a medical malpractice claim depends on each unique situation. You may be able to seek compensation for the following losses you may have suffered:
- Additional medical expenses you incur to undo the healthcare provider’s damage
- Medical expenses you can reasonably anticipate needing in the future
- Lost wages and employment benefits
- Reduced earning capacity
- Home modifications to accommodate any disability you may have suffered
- Permanent disability
- Disfigurement and/or scarring
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of consortium
- Shortened life expectancy
Time Limit for Filing a Medical Malpractice Claim in Illinois
In Illinois, there are specific rules that govern how long you have to take certain types of legal action. These are known as statutes of limitations. The statute of limitations for most personal injury cases, including medical malpractice claims, is two years. This generally means that you only have two years from the date of injury to file a lawsuit against the medical provider responsible for your injuries. If this deadline passes and you haven’t filed a lawsuit against the wrongdoer, you can lose your right to seek compensation, regardless of how straightforward liability is.
However, medical malpractice claims are often more complicated than other types of personal injury cases. One major difference is that in medical malpractice claims, the statute of limitations may not begin until you discover the injury. This means that even if you were harmed by a medical provider, the clock may not start to tick until you found out about the injury and that it was a result of medical malpractice. More specifically, the statute of limitations begins when you should have “reasonably discovered” the basis of your medical malpractice claim.
To further complicate the matter, Illinois has a statute of repose which sets an outer limit on the amount of time you have to file a lawsuit against the healthcare provider. This law states that you must file your lawsuit within four years after the date of treatment, regardless of when you discovered the injury and medical malpractice. However, if the injured patient is a minor, the minor has until their 22nd birthday to file the claim. There are other exceptions to these time limits, including if the medical provider is continuing to provide negligent care or committed fraud.
As you can see, these rules can be complicated. Seeking out guidance from a skilled Chicago-based medical malpractice attorney can help ensure you do not miss any important case deadlines.
Contact a Knowledgeable Chicago-based Medical Malpractice Attorney
If you suffered because of a healthcare provider’s mistake or negligence, you should not have to shoulder the financial burden. The Chicago-based medical malpractice attorneys at Rapoport Weisberg & Sims P.C. are here to help.
Our compassionate lawyers and support staff work closely with injury victims. We know how much a healthcare provider’s mistake can negatively impact your life. We are here to make things right. We are ready to fight for the compensation you deserve. Call us today at (312) 445-9160 to arrange your free consultation.