We place our trust in medical professionals every day for routine physicals, advice, prescriptions and sometimes even life-saving surgeries. We rely on medical professionals to find answers to challenging medical questions and to help us stay healthy. Errors can be devastating physically, emotionally and financially.
A medical mistake can cost you thousands of dollars in additional medical care, resulting in long-term disability and pain, or even the loss of a loved one. A groundbreaking study conducted by Johns Hopkins University found that more than 250,000 people die each year in the United States due to errors made by hospitals and doctors in an inpatient or outpatient setting. This statistic places medical errors as the third leading cause of death. Nevertheless, it is unusual for a physician or hospital to come forward and acknowledge an error and as a result the majority of errors require the services of a medical malpractice attorney in Chicago to recover compensation.
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC :: A Chicago Medical Negligence Law Firm Committed to Holding Doctors & Hospitals Accountable for Errors
If you or a loved one has been the victim of medical malpractice due to the negligence of a doctor or hospital in Illinois, it can be difficult to know where to turn. The Chicago medical malpractice attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC are committed to uncovering the truth and discovering the facts about medical mistakes.
With more than $30 million in recoveries for clients in Illinois medical malpractice cases over the past two years, our Chicago-based medical negligence law firm has the experience needed to assist you. Your family can count on our law firm to help begin to guide you through the difficult process. For a free case review, please complete our online intake form.
Chicago Medical Malpractice Law FAQs
Below you will find questions and answers commonly encountered by families after a loved one has suffered an injury or died due to medical negligence. Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC is deeply committed to holding physicians and medical facilities accountable when a patient is harmed. Should you have additional questions, we welcome you to contact a Chicago medical malpractice lawyer in our office for complimentary evaluation of your legal rights and options.
In Illinois, What do You Need to Prove in a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit?
In Illinois, the plaintiff in a medical malpractice case must prove that:
- a doctor-patient relationship existed;
- the doctor owed the patient a duty of care;
- the doctor breached that duty owed to the plaintiff;
- the doctor’s breach of care was the proximate cause of the plaintiff’s injuries; and
- the plaintiff suffered some physical, economic, or emotional damages as a result of the doctor’s conduct.
It is essential to establish that the medical professional being suing, "deviated from the standard of care," and that a competent professional would have acted differently, given the circumstances. Illinois law requires all medical malpractice lawsuits to have a report from a consulting physician setting forth these "deviations from the standard of care." See 735 ILCS 5/2-622. For more information on the applicable laws, contact medical malpractice lawyers Chicago at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC.
How Does the Illinois' Jury Pattern Instructions Define the Task of Proving Negligence in Medical Malpractice Lawsuits?
In an action for medical professional negligence, the plaintiff must prove by expert testimony that the defendant physician failed to conform to the applicable standard of care, unless the alleged negligence is grossly apparent or is obvious to a layman. Addison v. Whittenberg,124 Ill.2d 287, 529 N.E.2d 552, 124 Ill.Dec. 571 (1988); Purtill v. Hess, 111 Ill.2d 229, 242; 489 N.E.2d 867, 872; 95 Ill.Dec. 305, 310 (1986); Walski v. Tiesenga, 72 Ill.2d 249, 381 N.E.2d 279, 21 Ill.Dec. 201(1978); Borowski v. Von Solbrig, 60 Ill.2d 418, 328 N.E.2d 301 (1975). See 735 ILCS 5/2-1113 (1994).
What Damages are Available in a Medical Malpractice Case in Illinois?
The primary damages available in an Illinois medical malpractice case include medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, wrongful death, and loss of consortium. The amount of damages recoverable often depends upon the severity of the injury. However, a plaintiff can recover both economic and non-economic damages. Despite attempts to impose limits on this amount, the Illinois Supreme Court has rejected caps on medical negligence cases. See Lebron v. Gottlieb Hospital, 237 Ill.2d 217 (2010).
- Medical Expenses: Any expense related to medical care, hospitalization, surgeries, physical therapy, nursing, medication, and medical devices is recoverable.
- Wage Loss: When a person cannot return to work due to injury, they may file a wage loss claim to recover compensation, including insurance and retirement plan contributions.
- Pain and Suffering: A person harmed due to medical malpractice may recover compensation for the immediate and ongoing pain (both physical and emotional) related to their condition.
- Loss of Enjoyment of Life: When an injury prevents a person from doing the activities they enjoyed before the incident (such as the inability to participate in sports), a person may recover damages for that loss.
- Wrongful Death: The family of a person fatally injured due to medical negligence may pursue a claim for the loss of financial support that the deceased provided, as well as funeral expenses and damages resulting from the loss of companionship.
- Loss of Consortium: The spouse of a person seriously injured or killed may recover damages related to their loss of marital benefits, such as the loss of affection, the loss of emotional support, and the loss of sexual relations.
Can I Pursue a Medical Malpractice Claim for a Poor Surgical Outcome?
Whether or not you can pursue a medical malpractice claim for a poor surgical outcome depends on many factors. An undesirable surgical outcome is not always a reliable indicator of medical malpractice. Even if complications arose, your doctor may have still provided care according to reasonable and acceptable standards.
A consultation with a personal injury attorney who specializes in Chicago medical cases can help you identify whether a malpractice claim is appropriate, given the circumstances. A lawyer will conduct a thorough and comprehensive investigation, review your medical records and take appropriate action, if deemed necessary.
If I Pursue a Chicago Medical Malpractice Claim, who Would be Involved in my Case?
Your Chicago medical malpractice attorney would likely add numerous defendants to your case, including, but not limited to:
- Lab Technicians
- Physical and Occupational Therapists
- Hospitals, medical centers, and doctors' offices, such as North Shore Evanston Hospital, Advocate Lutheran General Hospital, University of Chicago Medical Center, Rush University Medical Center, John Stroger Hospital and Loyola University Medical Center.
How can I Find out if my Doctor has Been Previously Named in a Medical Malpractice Case in Illinois?
To find out whether your doctor has been named in an Illinois malpractice case, check the website for the Illinois Medical Board. This website will identify whether the physician, surgeon or other healthcare provider has ever lost a medical malpractice claim or lawsuit. For additional information on medical negligence lawsuits contact a medical malpractice attorney Chicago at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC.
Illinois Board of Professional Regulation
Medical Disciplinary Unit - James R Thompson Center
100 W. Randolph St., Suite 9-300
Chicago, IL 60601
(312) 814-4580; (312) 814-6910 (complaints)
If I Suspect my Medical Records are Incorrect or Have Been Falsified, how can I Proceed?
It is not uncommon to read medical records that fail to tell the entire truth about the level of care provided or the patient's condition. Medical records can be incorrect for several reasons that range from benign to nefarious. Sometimes, errors are due to dictation software, typos or illegible handwriting. An erroneous record is not the surest way to identify falsified documents or an intentional cover up. While advancements in technology and improvement in electronic medical record keeping have minimized such problems, incorrect data still exists.
An experience medical negligence attorney can evaluate your medical record and advise you if there are errors or omissions. Ultimately, if your records were falsified, we can retain forensic experts who can look at the paper records or computer metadata to evaluation their veracity.
Did I Waive my Legal Rights When I Signed a Medical Consent Form?
No, you never give up your legal rights by signing a consent form. A consent form was provided to acknowledge that you understood the known risks associated with undergoing specific treatments, procedures, and surgeries. It does not allow a healthcare provider to offer a substandard level of care as established by the medical community. You still have the legal right to seek financial compensation before the statute of limitations expires.
What are the Requirements of an Informed Consent Form?
Informed consent is a bedrock principle in modern medical care. The idea is that patients have the right to make informed decisions about the kind of care that they receive. Consequently, medical professionals must inform patients of certain specifics, such as the type of procedure being formed, the types of potential risks, the alternatives that exist, and the potential benefits.
What is not Required for Informed Consent?
Informed consent is not needed for a doctor for routine matters such as taking your vitals or obtaining your height and weight. In addition, if a doctor cannot obtain informed consent due to an emergency situation, then he/she will not be liable for treatment rendered. If the patient is a child, the doctor or other professional need not seek informed consent from the child, but rather parent or guardian.
In Illinois, how Long do I Have to File Medical Malpractice Lawsuit (Statute of Limitations)?
You must file an Illinois medical malpractice lawsuit within two years from the incident, or the date that the malpractice was discovered, but not more than four years from the time of the alleged incident. For cases involving minors, a lawsuit must be initiated within eight years from the date of the event or before the minor turns 22 years old. (See 735 ILCS 5/13-212.) If your suit is not filed within these time limits, your case will be dismissed.
In some situations, the statute of limitations may be tolled (put on hold) when a person is under a disability. In these situations, the general statute of limitations don't apply. As with all procedural requirements, it is important to discuss your situation with an attorney who can advise you of how the law applies to your situation.
What Will Happen During the Initial Consultation Meeting With a Medical Malpractice Attorney?
The initial consultation meeting is one of the most important meetings of any case. We will get to know each other and begin to plan the case strategy that will shape our investigation, research, and correspondence. We will decide what laws and precedent afford the most relief. We will prepare you for exactly what to expect, bring, and remember going into the meeting.
How can I Predict if my Chicago Medical Malpractice Lawsuit Will Settle or go to Trial?
Ultimately, whether your malpractice lawsuit settles or goes to trial depends on you, and your attorney. Following is a list of questions that can guide you to an informed decision:
- Did you need another procedure to fix what the first procedure
- Did you suffer a disability, scar, or other injury because of the incident?
- Did the defendant violate the relevant standard of care?
- Did the doctor/hospital have the relevant experience, training, and resources?
- Did the doctors change their diagnosis over time?
How Much Does it Cost to Hire Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers to Represent Me in a Chicago Medical Malpractice Lawsuit?
Our attorneys are paid on a contingency fee, which means that none of our clients pay upfront for our services. If we take an Illinois medical negligence case, we will accept the responsibility to spend the time and resources needed to pursue recovery of damages for our client. We only are paid for our services if and when we have obtained a financial award for our client.
What are Some Common Types of Medical Malpractice Lawsuits?
Some of the most common medical malpractice suits include errors in diagnosis, anesthesia errors, hospital errors, birth injuries, medical device liability, and errors with medications and dosages.
- Diagnosis Errors: According to recent data from the federal government's National Practitioner Data Bank, 33% of medical malpractice claims allege an error relating to diagnosis, with many of these resulting in catastrophic injury or death. Diagnosis errors include misread x-rays, MRIs, or other diagnostic tests, misinterpretation of test results, failure to perform necessary testing, failure to ask a patient about symptoms or medical history and failure to recognize obvious symptoms.
- Anesthesia Errors: According to the National Practitioner Data Bank, anesthesia error cases comprise 3% of the medical malpractice cases filed. Examples of anesthesia errors may include administering the wrong medication, failing to monitor a patient during surgery or post-surgery, problems intubating a patient, failing to monitor vital signs, using an incorrect dosage of medication, failing to screen patients for allergic reactions, using faulty equipment, and administering incompatible drugs.
- Emergency Room Errors: Emergency room errors may occur when physicians are overworked or overtaxed. Unfortunately, this high-pressure environment gives rise to numerous errors, which may result in permanent injury or death. Examples of emergency room errors include failing to diagnose an illness, failing to order crucial diagnostic tests, medication errors, failing to diagnose a critical condition, failing to call a specialist, misreading tests or X-rays, or extreme delays in treatment.
- Surgical Errors: While unforeseen issues may be encountered during a surgical procedure, the manner in which the surgeon, operating room staff, and anesthesiologists respond is based upon relatively standardized protocols. According to the National Practitioner Data Bank, surgical error cases comprise 24% of the medical malpractice cases filed. Examples can include cutting an organ or bowel accidentally, leaving objects inside the body, nerve damage, performing the wrong surgery or surgery on the wrong body part, unsanitary equipment, or an infection at the surgical site.
- Hospital Errors: When hospital workers make errors, the facility may be held accountable for their negligence under the legal theory of vicarious liability. In situations where there is a systemic problem with the care provided to patients due to a hospital's failure to train or screen staff, there may be similar liability exposure. Examples of hospital negligence may include administering the wrong drug or an incorrect dosage, failing to transfer the patient to a different facility, failing to perform diagnostic testing, using defective medical equipment or using it improperly, dropping patients, failing to protect patients from physical or sexual harm from staff, visitors, or other patients, and failing to conduct background screening for staff.
- Nursing Home Negligence: Nursing homes are medical facilities that have a legal duty to provide quality care to each patient. When nursing homes fail to adequately staff their facilities or train staff, they can be held accountable under the law. Common types of Chicago nursing home negligence lawsuits include: pressure sores, falls, fractures, brain injuries or physical abuse.
- Birth Injuries: Birth injuries can often be the result of inattention, such as when a nurse doesn't monitor the child's vital signs for indications of distress or when symptoms such as jaundice go unnoticed after birth. Obstetrician/gynecology malpractice may also be premised upon failure to perform a needed surgery, such as a cesarean section, or even misdiagnosing a condition. According to the National Practitioner Data Bank, obstetrics cases comprise 11% of the medical malpractice cases filed. Examples of birth injuries related to labor and delivery malpractice include cerebral palsy, brain damage, Erb's palsy, fetal death, spinal cord damage, shoulder dystocia, broken bones, nerve damage, internal bleeding, and injuries to the mother including excessive bleeding or death.
- Medical Device Liability: When operative devices or implants fail to perform their intended purpose or are the cause of bodily injury, you may have the right to bring a case against the physician, facility, or manufacturer. Examples of the liability of a medical device company could include: failing to inform the patient or hospital about problems with equipment, defects in the manufacturing process, failing to sanitize equipment, and failing to test equipment.
- Medication and Dosing Errors: These injuries are often the result of the failure of a physician to ensure that the medications being prescribed will not interact with the patient's current medications or diet. Another common medication error involves the administration of the wrong dose or medicine by the attending nurse during a hospital stay or at a nursing facility. According to the National Practitioner Data Bank, medication error cases comprise 4% of the medical malpractice cases filed. Other examples of medication errors in a hospital setting include: administering the wrong medication, administering the wrong dosage of a medication, switching medicines between patients, administering incompatible medications, and failing to screen for allergies.
Get Legal Help From Experienced Chicago Medical Malpractice Lawyers Today
After a loved one has suffered an injury or untimely death due to a medical professional, you are likely faced with concerns about your legal rights and options. The Chicago medical malpractice attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC have successfully guided many families through Chicago medical malpractice cases. While we cannot assure you of a successful outcome, our law firm is committed to taking the steps necessary to prosecute your case to the fullest extent of the lawsuit in Illinois.