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Sometimes the care you receive from a doctor or hospital can go terribly wrong. Let the Chicago personal injury lawyers at Smith LaCien LLP, help you untangle the truth and find out if your case was handled properly by your medical providers, or if the harm could have been prevented. Our law firm has helped clients throughout Illinois with their medical malpractice claims.
When we seek out help from medical professionals, we expect to be taken care of. When they act in a negligent manner, it can have a massive impact on all areas of your life. Their carelessness can result in catastrophic injuries that leave you suffocating under medical bills or unable to work. We can help you hold the negligent party accountable. You and your loved ones deserve justice, and we are here to accomplish that.
Many people never think they will find themselves in this situation. When they are, they aren’t sure what legal rights they have. We can explain all of the options you are facing and discuss what is in your best interest. Our legal team is determined to make sure that you have the information needed to make the right decision for your future. We will hold the nurses, doctors, and medical facilities accountable for their unnecessary mistakes. We will act as your fiercest advocate from beginning to end.
Not only can a medical malpractice attorney help you to know from the outset if you have grounds for a medical malpractice case or if your claim meets the definition of medical malpractice, but your attorney can also help to investigate your claim and craft a compelling case through the following:
You need the legal representation of a Chicago medical malpractice attorney with years of experience navigating the complexities of medical malpractice laws in Illinois in order to gain full recovery for your damages.
Approximately 15,000 to 18,000 medical malpractice lawsuits are filed annually. The CDC reports approximately 208 deaths from preventable medical malpractice mistakes daily and evidence suggests that many more instances of medical malpractice go unreported. Some studies suggest as many as 1 in 3 patients experience a medical mistake and most never realize it. It’s only when the error causes egregious harm that victims seek recompense through a medical malpractice lawsuit.
When you are under the care of a medical professional or health care facility, you trust that they will treat you according to the expected standard of medical care in your case. When your doctor or health care facility fails to meet the standard of care in your treatment and that failure causes injury, they can be held liable for medical malpractice.
If you have been a victim of medical malpractice, you may seek financial compensation for your injuries through a medical malpractice action. In order to have a valid medical malpractice claim, the victim must show:
An acceptable standard of care is key to assessing the doctor’s actions in a medical malpractice case. In assessing the standard of care, the defendant’s actions will be viewed in light of the actions that a doctor with similar skills and experience in good standing would use in a similar case.
When medical providers deviate from the accepted standards and it causes injury, malpractice cases often result. Sadly, medical malpractice is now widely recognized as the third leading cause of death in the United States, and your case may require the help of a wrongful death lawyer in Chicago. Medical errors may be mistakes of omission, such as failing to get informed consent or failing to strap a patient to a gurney. Other medical negligence situations are errors of commission such as leaving a surgical tool or piece of gauze inside a patient.
Some of the most common examples of medical malpractice include:
While not as common, some of the most catastrophic medical negligence cases are surgical errors such as wrong-patient, wrong-site, and wrong-side surgeries.
Similarly, birth injuries are often catastrophic and devastating, causing life-long injury to a child. Going over your case with a Chicago birth injury attorney is the first step to ensuring justice and fair compensation for medical malpractice.
While a medical professional may be entirely at fault for the error due to misjudgment, carelessness, or mistakes, medical malpractice is most commonly caused by administrative failures such as:
Regardless of the circumstances leading to the malpractice incident, medical providers and facilities must be held accountable for mistakes that cause great harm to patients in their care. Speak to an experienced medical malpractice attorney in Chicago from our law firm today.
It’s a traumatic experience to discover that the medical provider you trusted to help you and your family members to heal or overcome an illness or accident actually caused you further or greater harm, but by keeping a cool head you can help protect your physical and financial health to maximize your recovery to the best possible extent. If you suspect that you’re a victim of medical malpractice, taking the following steps can help:
It may feel intimidating to have to deal with a lawsuit while you’re recovering from a medical malpractice injury but by taking the above steps you can help ensure that you get the most from your claim.
Proving medical malpractice requires demonstrating that the medical provider’s actions were negligent and that their negligence caused you to suffer injuries with related damages. The injury victim (plaintiff) in medical malpractice cases has the burden of proving the provider (defendant) liable for damages by using evidence to do the following:
If a doctor casually tells an acquaintance at a cocktail party that it looks like they have a rash, and that person later learns that they have skin cancer, the acquaintance cannot sue the doctor for malpractice because no doctor/patient relationship existed at the time the exchange occurred. A malpractice claim requires evidence that a doctor had an obligation to treat the patient at the industry-accepted level of care because a professional relationship was in place at the time the malpractice incident occurred.
All medical providers have a special duty of care to treat patients at the level of care expected by the medical community or the way a reasonable provider would have under the same circumstances. Proving that the provider breached this duty requires consulting with medical experts to show that the doctor acted negligently by failing to diagnose and treat the patient correctly or promptly within the guidelines of the medical community.
The investigation into the malpractice incident must clearly demonstrate how the doctor’s negligence directly caused the injury. If something else caused harm to the patient during the time the patient was under the doctor’s care—for example, if the patient took an illegal, or unprescribed medication and suffered an ill effect—then the doctor did not commit malpractice because something other than the doctor’s care caused the injury.
To recover compensation, the injury victim must be able to prove that they’ve suffered damages due to the injury. Typically, this requires showing evidence such as medical bills to demonstrate expenses, employer statements proving lost work days, and the testimony of medical experts to highlight the amount of pain and suffering associated with the type of injury and for how long the patient is likely to continue to experience pain and suffering until they reach maximum physical recovery.
If you have suffered an injury as a result of substandard care by your doctor or other health care professional, you have a limited time to take legal action. Under Illinois law, a medical malpractice action must be brought within two years after the date on which the victim knew or should have known of their injury or death related to medical error. However, regardless of when a victim becomes aware of their injury, no medical malpractice action can be brought after four years from the date of the medical error that caused the victim’s injury or death.
In a medical malpractice action, you may make claims for your economic and noneconomic damages. Your economic damages are tangible losses such as past and future medical expenses, lost wages, and other tangible losses that can be objectively determined. Noneconomic damages are intangible losses such as pain and suffering, loss of consortium, and disability.
Prior to 2010, there was a limit on the amount of non-economic damages that a victim could claim. Those limits have been declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court of the State of Illinois. Now, there is no cap on the number of damages a victim of medical malpractice can claim. Nevertheless, the value of the damages in your claim must be supported by sufficient evidence.
Smith LaCien LLP understands how important it is to get you full compensation for your damages and we will work tirelessly to achieve the results you deserve. We are leaders in the field of medical malpractice and have obtained major verdicts and settlements for our clients, including a $20 million settlement for a college student who suffered brain damage while undergoing heart surgery. Contacting the Chicago brain injury attorneys at Smith LaCien LLP can help you determine how much you could be entitled to.
The majority of medical malpractice claims are resolved through an out-of-court settlement from the provider’s malpractice insurance. Only if the insurance company fails to provide ample compensation for the injury or seriously underestimates the value of the claim does the case proceed to court in a lawsuit.
Because the types of injuries caused by medical malpractice vary greatly in severity, the amount of compensation also varies, depending on the cost of medical expenses related to correcting the malpractice injury, the amount of time away from work during the patient’s recovery, the level of pain and suffering caused by the injury, and whether or not the malpractice injury caused permanent disability, impairment, or disfigurement.
Illinois has some of the highest average settlement amounts in the U.S. for malpractice injuries. The average settlement amount is over $700,000. Over $180 million has been paid to malpractice claimants in Illinois in the past decade. Does this mean your case is worth $700,000 or more? Possibly, but not necessarily. The evidence in the case and a careful calculation of your damages by your Chicago medical malpractice attorney will give you a better idea of the settlement you might expect.
The settlement amount depends on the following factors:
A consultation with your attorney will give you a better idea of the amount of compensation that could be available for your unique claim.
The overwhelming majority of personal injury claims—including medical malpractice claims—settle out of court through a skilled medical malpractice attorney’s strong, evidence-backed negotiations with the provider’s malpractice insurance company. Only if the insurance company fails to compensate a valid claim or offers an unacceptably low settlement amount does the case proceed to a courtroom in a malpractice lawsuit. If litigation in court occurs in your case, you may be required to testify about your injury and the related damages. A Chicago medical malpractice attorney from Smith Lacien, LLP will gladly defend your rights and best interests in court if required to maximize your compensation.
Illinois state law allows wrongful death claims against the responsible party when medical malpractice causes the death of a loved one. The personal representative of the deceased’s estate brings the wrongful death claim in medical malpractice cases in Chicago. This is typically the surviving spouse but may also be a parent in cases of the wrongful death of a minor child or an adult child without a surviving spouse. Medical malpractice cases that result in wrongful death bring some additional damages such as:
These are often in addition to damages such as medical expenses and emotional anguish. While recovering financial damages cannot bring back a loved one or undo the harm, it can help the family members left behind to move through their grief and anguish with fewer financial worries.
Many people use the terms “medical negligence” and medical malpractice” interchangeably, but there are subtle differences in the meanings of the terms and how they’re viewed in a claim. Proving medical malpractice requires showing that the doctor or medical provider acted negligently by not treating the patient at the industry-accepted level of care; however, there are differences in the way an attorney, the insurance company, and a judge treat a case depending on whether or not it’s medical negligence or malpractice.
The main difference between the two types of claims depends on the provider’s intent:
Mistakes in the medical field have serious and sometimes grave consequences. Even if a doctor’s mistake was unintentional, if they did not treat the victim the way another reasonable medical professional would have under the same circumstances, they are liable for damages.
If you believe you are a victim of medical malpractice, it is important to contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the higher the chance that these medical professionals will take advantage of more innocent victims. Call our office in Chicago today for a free consultation at (312) 509-8900 to learn more about how we can help. You can also email us.
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