Medical negligence or malpractice in Illinois is defined as a healthcare provider’s deviation from the standard of care that leads to patient harm. This standard refers to the generally accepted procedures and practices that all medical practitioners in similar situations would follow.
If a provider’s negligence leads to an injury or worsens the patient’s condition, they may be held liable. This includes doctors, nurses, hospitals, or any other healthcare entity.
What Is NOT Medical Malpractice?
Not every undesirable outcome in healthcare is a result of medical malpractice.
For instance, if a patient undergoes a high-risk surgical procedure and is fully informed of the associated risks, but despite all precautions, still experiences a negative outcome, this would not necessarily constitute a medical malpractice incident.
It’s when the practitioner’s negligence or deviation from the accepted standard of care contributes to the adverse result that it becomes a case for medical malpractice.
Who Can Be Sued in Medical Malpractice Lawsuits?
In medical malpractice claims, practically any licensed healthcare provider can be held accountable. This range of potential defendants is vast, and includes, but is not limited to, doctors, nurses, physical therapists, pharmacists, dentists, and even entire healthcare facilities like hospitals or clinics.
The medical professionals involved often correspond to their field of licensure, such as a cardiologist who holds a specialty license in heart care. Moreover, the National Practitioner Data Bank considers health care providers under 108 different types of practitioners, each holding a specific license in their respective field
It’s important to note that the liability in a medical malpractice case isn’t limited to individuals but can extend to healthcare institutions if the negligent acts were committed by their employees.
Who Cannot Be Named in a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit?
While most licensed healthcare providers can be subject to a medical malpractice lawsuit, certain parties are typically exempt.
For instance, manufacturers of medical products aren’t considered providers and thus, can’t be named in such lawsuits. Instead, harm due to faulty medical products usually falls under the area of product liability and personal injury law.
What Are the Most Common Medical Malpractice Injuries?
Medical malpractice injuries can vary greatly, depending on the nature of the negligence and the specific medical care involved. However, certain types of medical professional injuries and suits tend to be more common than others. Here are the top five:
Failure to Diagnose, Misdiagnosis, or Delayed Diagnosis: This is one of the most common types of medical malpractice complaints. In Johns Hopkins research, “795,000 Americans suffer serious harm from diagnostic error annually. Missed stroke is the #1 cause.”
Childbirth Injuries: Many injuries that occur during childbirth, including brain injuries like cerebral palsy and seizure disorders, fractured bones, and nerve damage, can be traced back to medical negligence.
Medication Errors: Medication errors can involve the wrong medication in the initial prescription, dispensing, administration, or monitoring of a medication.
Anesthesia Errors: These are often more dangerous than surgical mistakes. Even a minor error by an anesthesiologist can result in serious injury, brain damage, or death.
Surgery Errors: These can include performing an incorrect or unnecessary surgical procedure, operating on the wrong body part or patient, leaving medical equipment inside the patient, or causing postoperative complications.
If a Patient Dies, Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in Illinois?
In Illinois, a wrongful death claim can be filed by the personal representative of the deceased’s estate. These representatives can include the deceased’s spouse, parent (if the deceased is a minor), or adult child.
The damages recovered in wrongful death cases are for the exclusive benefit of the surviving family members, spouse, and next of kin.
What Does a Medical Malpractice Lawyer Have to Prove in Malpractice Cases?
To establish a case of medical malpractice, medical malpractice lawyers must prove four key elements.
Establish Duty of Care – Demonstrate that there was a patient-doctor relationship.
The Healthcare Provider Breached this Duty – Show that the medical professional deviated from the standard of care.
The Patient Sustained an Injury – Prove that the injury was caused by the substandard medical care.
Prove a Direct Causal Link – Show the direct link between the breach of duty and the injury suffered.
Most medical malpractice cases end with a settlement negotiated with malpractice insurance companies and not in court.
What Kinds of Compensation Could Be Awarded in Medical Malpractice Settlements?
In a medical malpractice settlement, the plaintiff may seek compensation, including:
Medical Bills: Covers costs incurred for necessary medical treatment and rehabilitation and include future medical expenses.
Lost Wages: Compensates for income lost and other lost earnings due to inability to work.
Pain and Suffering Damages: Monetary value for physical pain and mental anguish.
Loss of Enjoyment: Recompense for inability to enjoy day-to-day activities or hobbies.
Loss of Consortium: Compensation for impact on the victim’s relationship with their loved ones.
What Determines My Medical Malpractice Claim Worth?
The value of a medical malpractice claim is determined several factors that determine how much compensation you might receive. These factors include:
The extent and severity of the patient’s injuries due to medical errors, taking into account permanent injuries.
The economic damages of the personal injury, such as current medical expenses, future medical bills, and lost wages.
The level of negligence or misconduct by the healthcare provider.
The non-economic damages of the harm on the patient’s quality of life, including physical pain, mental suffering, and more.
What Type of Medical Malpractice Cases Win the Largest Settlements?
Cerebral palsy and spinal cord injury cases often win the largest medical malpractice claims and settlements due to the severity and lifelong impact of these conditions.
There isn’t a definitive medical malpractice settlement formula. Each case is unique, thus making seeking legal advice critical for understanding your potential settlement value.
How Can a Medical Malpractice Attorney Help Me?
The Kryder Law Group, LLC Accident and Injury Lawyers conducts thorough investigations into the incident, gathers and analyzes all relevant medical records, and negotiates with the insurance company and insurance adjuster. If your case goes to trial, our law firm will represent you and seek maximum compensation for your injuries caused by a negligent doctor or other healthcare provider.
Find Out What Your Case May Be Worth
We assist in determining the economic damages and non-economic damages you suffered and meticulously build a strong case to establish negligence, negotiating with the insurance company for a fair settlement for you.
Throughout the process, we maintain open, compassionate communication, ensuring that your voice is heard and your rights are upheld.