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Chicago Medical Malpractice Attorney

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Sometimes the care you receive from a doctor or hospital can go terribly wrong. Let the 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. We have helped clients throughout Illinois.

How Common is Medical Malpractice?

Though we come to doctors in our most vulnerable state and expect the highest accepted standard of care in the medical profession, medical malpractice is all too common in the United States. One Johns Hopkins study reveals that over 250,000 deaths occur annually due to medical malpractice. This number now surpasses the third leading cause of death listed by the CDC which finds respiratory illnesses as the third leading cause of death. This discrepancy is likely due to reporting problems since medical errors are not classified separately on death certificates. The medical system designs its coding for bill collection rather than for data collection.

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.

Holding The Right People Accountable

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 goal is 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.

What is Medical Malpractice?

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 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 damages for your injuries through a medical malpractice action. In order to have a valid medical malpractice claim, the victim must show:

  • The victim was under the doctor’s care and the doctor owed them a duty of care;
  • The acceptable standard of care by which the doctor’s treatment was measured;
  • The doctor deviated from the standard of care; and
  • The doctor’s deviation was the proximate cause of the victim’s injury.

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.

The Most Common Examples of Medical Malpractice

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. 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 mistakes 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:

  • Prescription errors
  • Emergency room errors
  • Misdiagnosis missed diagnoses, and delayed diagnosis
  • Failure to treat or failure to order the proper tests
  • Prescription errors
  • Anesthesia errors
  • Childbirth injuries
  • Surgical errors
  • Lack of informed consent

While not as common, some of the most catastrophic medical malpractice 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 doctor 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:

  • Staffing shortages or reduced staffing
  • Lack of adequate training
  • Hiring failures
  • Not following established medical guidelines for preventing errors
  • Over-booking appointments, procedures, and surgeries

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.


What to Do If You’re the Victim of Medical Malpractice

It’s a traumatic experience to discover that the medical provider you trusted to help you 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:

  • Obtain your medical records from the facility where the malpractice occurred
  • See a trusted physician for a complete evaluation 
  • Explain what you’ve experienced to your trusted doctor and share your records
  • Tell your doctor about all of your symptoms and ask for a detailed medical report with the diagnosis, treatment plan, and prognosis
  • Follow all of your trusted doctor’s recommendations for treatment, attend every appointment, and fill every prescription
  • Keep a record of your medical bills
  • Keep a pain journal and also detail the way the injury interferes with your daily life
  • Avoid posting on social media
  • Gather your records and seek a consultation with a Chicago medical malpractice attorney
  • Direct all communications with the liability insurance company to your attorney

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.

How Much Time Do I Have to Make a Medical Malpractice Claim in Illinois?

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.

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What Damages Can I Claim in a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit?

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.

How Can a Chicago Medical Malpractice Attorney Help? 

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:

  • Thoroughly evaluating your medical condition before and after the malpractice incident
  • Determining liability for the injury which could belong to the medical provider, medical facility, medical staff, or medical device manufacturer.
  • Gather evidence establishing the four main elements of medical malpractice including showing a patient/doctor relationship, breach of the provider’s duty of care, a causal relationship between the breach of duty and your injury, and real damages resulting from the injury
  • Highlighting the economic and non-economic damages you’ve suffered
  • Hiring medical experts for testimony
  • Diligently ensuring prompt and precise filing of all paperwork
  • Drafting a strong demand letter to the provider’s liability insurance
  • Arguing aggressively on your behalf if the case comes to courtroom litigation

You need the legal representation of a malpractice attorney with years of experience navigating the complexities of medical malpractice laws in Illinois in order to gain full recovery for your damages.

Can a Medical Malpractice Claim Become a Wrongful Death Case?

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:

  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • Loss of earnings and benefits
  • Loss of companionship, guidance, and support

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.

Call Today For The Representation You Deserve

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 at (312) 509-8900 to learn more about how we can help. You can also email us.

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