Medical malpractice occurs when the negligent acts of a doctor, nurse or other licensed medical professional result in an injury to or death of a patient. In order to successfully pursue a medical malpractice case, it first must be established that the doctor “deviated from the standard of care.” In other words, it must be established that the doctor failed to act as a reasonable physician would in the medical community.
Establishing a medical error for Illinois cases
Just how a physician should have acted is an issue of great debate in most medical negligence cases. In an attempt to refine what the specific error was in a particular case, the Illinois Legislature has passed 735 ILCS 5/2-622 in the Illinois Code of Civil Procedure. Referred to by my judges and lawyers as a 2-622 affidavit, every medical malpractice lawsuit initiated in Illinois courts must be accompanied by an affidavit signed by the attorney filing the lawsuit and written report, prepared by a licensed physician.
In order to comply with the statute, section 2-622 sets forth:
That the affiant has consulted and reviewed the facts of the case with a health professional who the affiant reasonably believes: (i) is knowledgeable in the relevant issues involved in the particular action; (ii) practices or has practiced within the last 6 years or teaches or has taught within the last 6 years in the same area of health care or medicine that is at issue in the particular action; and (iii) is qualified by experience or demonstrated competence in the subject of the case; that the reviewing health professional has determined in a written report, after a review of the medical record and other relevant material involved in the particular action that there is a reasonable and meritorious cause for the filing of such action; and that the affiant has concluded on the basis of the reviewing health professional’s review and consultation that there is a reasonable and meritorious cause for filing of such action.
The report of the of the reviewing physician which must be attached to the affidavit, must adhere to the following:
- A single written report must be filed to cover each defendant, including defendants who are named at a later time;
- For individual defendants, the written report must be from a medical professional licensed in the same profession, within the same class of license, as the defendant;
- For non-individual defendants (i.e. hospitals, practice groups, etc.), the written report must be from a licensed doctor qualified to testify regarding the standard of care applicable in the case;
- Must identify the profession of the reviewing doctor, as well as the doctor’s name, address, current license number, and state of licensure;
- Must identify the “reasons for the reviewing health professional’s determination that a reasonable and meritorious cause for the filing of the action exists”.
Only after the negligence of a physician / medical institution has been established can the damages attributable to the negligence must be evaluated. Certainly, there are physician errors that result in catastrophic consequences for the patient and their family. However, given the large hurdle the Illinois Legislature has put into place just to file a medical malpractice case it is important to consider the overall value of a case prior to the commencement of a case.
Prosecuting medical mistakes
Medical malpractice cases remain some of the most vigorously defended personal injury cases. A team of researchers a team of researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital analyzed 10,056 resolved medical malpractice cases from 2002 to 2005. Their findings published in the Archives of Internal Medicine paint a fairly ominous success rate for those pursuing a medical malpractice lawsuit. Amongst the findings:
- 79.6% of medical cases that went before a jury resulted in a ‘not guilty’ finding for the accused doctor
- The mean time to resolve a medical negligence case was 19 months, with many litigated cases taking upwards of 3 years to progress through the court system
- Many lawsuits were dismissed by the court. Depending on the type of case, some dismissal rates were close of 60% of the filed cases
For an individual or family considering a medical malpractice case in Chicago or different jurisdiction in Illinois, it important to be mindful of the litigation environment. It is important to have a team of medical malpractice lawyers who have both the experience and stamina to see to it that your medical malpractice case gets the legal attention and expenditure of resources necessary to be successful.
Succeeding in medical negligence cases
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers has the experience, resources and commitment necessary to successfully pursue the most complex medical malpractice cases. We invite you to arrange an appointment to discuss your case with a Chicago medical malpractice lawyer without charge or obligation to you.
We would honor the opportunity to discuss the following types of medical malpractice cases with you:
- Cerebral palsy
- Birth injuries
- Anesthesia errors
- Surgical errors
- Hospital negligence
- Medication errors
- Wrongful death
Our office has successful prosecuted the most complex medical malpractice cases. We are proud of our victories for our clients. However, we are most proud of the fact that we have earned the respect of our colleagues in the legal community enough that they frequently refer their cases to our office due to our track record for excellent results and integrity. Call us today to discuss your case. 888-424-5757