We Protect Clients Against Negligent Health Care Providers
Doctors, nurses, and other health care professionals take an oath to provide the best possible care to the patients they are treating. However, health care providers are capable of making mistakes. When mistakes happen and the patient’s health has been compromised in some way, they may wish to pursue a medical malpractice lawsuit against the doctor, nurse, or the facility where they received treatment.
It is important to understand that not every medical mistake is considered malpractice. The process of filing a medical malpractice lawsuit can be complicated and overwhelming, particularly when a patient is recovering from an injury, illness, or other health issue. An experienced medical malpractice lawyer will work closely with the patient, determine whether negligence was involved, and recommend the best course of action.
What is Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice occurs when a health care provider’s negligent treatment of their patient results in an injury or a serious health complication. It occurs when the health care provider fails to uphold a reasonable standard of care, which results in some type of injury or illness.
In extreme cases, medical malpractice can result in a wrongful death. In fact, according to a study from researchers at the Johns Hopkins Medical School, medical mistakes are the third leading cause of death. In order for a claim to be considered medical malpractice, it must meet the following requirements:
- There was a violation of the standard of care. The medical standard of care is the type and level of care that a reasonably skilled health care professional with a similar background would provide under comparable circumstances. All patients should expect their health care providers to meet the standard of care at all times. If the patient can prove that there was a breach in the standard of care, they may be able to establish that the doctor or nurse responsible for their care was negligent.
- The breach of care resulted in an injury. In order to have a valid medical malpractice claim, the patient must be able to prove that the injury was caused by the health care provider’s negligent behavior. If the injury was not caused by negligence or the negligence did not cause an injury, it will not qualify as a valid medical malpractice case.
- The injury resulted in damages. The injured patient must be able to prove that they suffered significant financial damages from the injury or health complication that was caused by medical negligence. Depending on the nature and severity of the injury, the recovery amount can vary significantly.
A skilled medical malpractice lawyer will advise the patient about whether the cost of pursuing the case is likely to be greater than the recovery amount.
What are the Most Common Types of Medical Malpractice?
Any time a patient’s health is compromised by a health care provider’s negligent actions, they may pursue a medical malpractice lawsuit. The following are examples of medical negligence that can lead to a malpractice lawsuit:
Part of delivering the standard of care involves ensuring that the patient’s condition is diagnosed properly, accurately, and in a timely fashion. The following are examples of diagnostic errors:
Misdiagnosis: This occurs when the health care provider makes an incorrect diagnosis. For example, if a doctor diagnoses a patient with intestinal problems when the patient is actually suffering from a heart attack, this can have serious or even fatal consequences. If the doctor failed to conduct a thorough examination or did not take the patient’s heart attack symptoms seriously, the patient may have a valid malpractice claim.
Missed Diagnosis: This occurs when the doctor fails to diagnose an illness or disease and gives the patient a clean bill of health.
Delayed Diagnosis: This occurs when the physician makes the correct diagnosis but only after a significant delay, which could allow the illness or injury to progress. For example, if a health care provider saw symptoms of a heart attack or stroke but failed to provide immediate treatment, the delay in treatment can cause serious health complications.
There are risks associated with all surgeries, but when a surgeon makes a mistake that is preventable, the patient may have grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit. The following are examples of common surgical errors:
- Foreign object or surgical instrument left inside the patient’s body.
- Surgery performed on the wrong patient.
- Surgery performed on the wrong body part.
- Nerve damage.
Anesthesiologists are responsible for administering the precise amount of medication to ensure that the patient does not feel pain during a medical procedure. They also monitor patients’ vital signs throughout their procedures and adjust their needed medications.
Anesthesia errors can be devastating if too little medication is administered, resulting in the patient feeling pain but is unable to speak. Too much anesthesia can cause brain damage and other serious health complications.
Examples of medication errors include prescribing the wrong medication, the incorrect dosage, or prescribing a medication that the patient is allergic to or that interacts with another drug the patient is currently taking. All of these errors can lead to serious health complications.
Even in healthy pregnancies, problems can arise that may jeopardize the health of the baby. While some problems are unavoidable, others are the result of negligent mistakes or oversights. Common examples include brachial plexus injuries, brain injuries, fractures, and delayed deliveries.
How Do I Prove Medical Malpractice?
In order to prove that a health care provider was negligent, the patient must collect as much evidence as possible. Examples of evidence that can help build a strong case include copies of medical records, doctor notes, and witness testimonies. In Illinois, a patient who is filing a medical malpractice lawsuit must also file an affidavit of merit which states that the plaintiff has consulted with a health care professional who meets certain requirements. The affidavit must also include a written statement from the health care professional that there is reasonable and meritorious cause for a lawsuit. A health care professional must understand the medical issues associated with the case and have experience in the subject matter of the lawsuit, as well as practice in the same area of medicine.
Another important factor to consider when pursuing a medical malpractice lawsuit in Illinois is the statute of limitations. Patients must file the claim within two years of when they became aware of the health care provider’s negligent action. In addition, according to the state’s statute of repose, if more than four years have passed since the malpractice occurred, the patient is barred from filing a lawsuit, even if they were injured. There are a few exceptions to the statute of limitations rule, including the following:
- Minors under the age of 18 years old have up to eight years to file a malpractice lawsuit, but they must file the claim before they turn 22 years old.
- If important information was withheld by the health care professional in order to conceal proof of negligence, the statute of limitations is five years from the day the cause of the injury was discovered.
- If the patient’s injury caused them to be disabled and unable to file a medical malpractice claim, the statute of limitations does not start until they are physically able to proceed with the lawsuit.
What Damages am I Entitled to in a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit?
Injuries caused by medical negligence can be physically, emotionally, and financially devastating. Depending on the nature and severity of the injury or illness, the recovery process can take weeks, months, or even years. The costs associated with a medical injury or illness can accumulate very quickly.
Patients who have been injured or their health compromised in any way while under the care of a medical professional may be eligible for the following damages:
- Medical Expenses: These costs include hospitalization, follow-up medical appointments, prescriptions medications, physical therapy sessions, additional surgeries, medical equipment, and travel for specialist appointments.
- Lost Wages: If the injury prevents the patient from returning to work for an extended period of time, they may receive compensation for current and future lost earnings.
- Pain and Suffering: This provides compensation for the physical and emotional pain and distress caused by the injury.
- Wrongful Death Benefits: This provides compensation for the surviving family if the health care provider’s negligence resulted in a fatality. Compensation may cover funeral costs, medical debt, loss of economic support, and loss of companionship.
- Punitive Damages: These are meant to punish a health care provider for behavior that is considered particularly egregious. In Illinois, punitive damages may not exceed three times the damages awarded in the lawsuit.
For help receiving the right amount of damages in a medical malpractice lawsuit, a victim should retain a lawyer as soon as possible.
Settlement Medical Malpractice
Settlement Medical Malpractice
Settlement Medical Malpractice
The outcome of an individual case depends on a variety of factors unique to that case. Case results do not guarantee or predict a similar result in any similar or future case.
Illinois Medical Malpractice Lawyers at The Cates Law Firm, LLC Seek Justice for Victims of Medical Malpractice
If your health has been compromised because of a negligent medical professional, do not hesitate to contact one of our Illinois medical malpractice lawyers at The Cates Law Firm, LLC. We will conduct a thorough investigation and determine whether negligence was involved in your case. Our dedicated legal team will walk you through every step of the claim process and address all of your questions and concerns. We will secure the maximum financial compensation you deserve for your injuries. For a free consultation, call us at 618-277-3644 or complete our online form.Located in Swansea, Illinois, we serve clients throughout St. Louis, Belleville, East St. Louis, Edwardsville, Granite City, Waterloo, Chester, Carbondale, St. Clair County, Madison County, Monroe County, Randolph County, and other regions throughout Southern Illinois.