A special type of pain follows learning that you’ve been harmed by the doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals you’ve entrusted to heal you. Serving Chicago and surrounding cities, our top medical malpractice lawyers understand the suffering and the need to find justice when you are the victim of medical negligence.
Why You Need the Top Medical Malpractice Attorney for Hospital and Physician Errors
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 places medical errors as the third leading cause of death behind heart disease and cancer.
Rarely does a physician or hospital come forward and acknowledge that an error was made. Consequently, uncovering situations where medical errors were made can be difficult.
The Chicago medical malpractice attorneys at our law firm are committed to uncovering the truth when it comes to medical malpractice committed by a doctor or hospital in Illinois. With more than $30 million in recoveries for clients in medical malpractice cases over the past two years, our firm has the experience needed to assist you and your family.
Complete our online intake form for a free case review and it will be sent to a skilled medical malpractice attorney. Chicago residents can count on us to work hard on your case.
Illinois Law Regarding Medical Malpractice Cases
When a patient is injured due to the negligent care of a physician or other medical professional, they may be entitled to file a lawsuit against an individual or the company that they work for. Regardless of the context, the following must be proved by the plaintiff (party bringing the lawsuit) or the case will be dismissed:
- A doctor/patient relationship existed.
- The doctor owed the patient a duty of care.
- The doctor breached their duty of care owed to the plaintiff.
- The doctor’s breach of care was the proximate cause of the plaintiff’s injuries.
- The plaintiff has suffered some type of physical, economic, or emotional damages as a result of the doctor’s conduct.
In order to establish liability, you need to establish that the party you are suing “deviated from the standard of care.” In other words, when presented with the facts and circumstances of the case, a competent professional working in their field would have acted differently.
Illinois law requires all medical malpractice lawsuits to have a report from a consulting physician setting forth the deviations made by the medical professional who is being sued. (See 735 ILCS 5/2-622.)
Furthermore, Illinois has a strict statute of limitations that applies to medical negligence cases. You must file your case within the prescribed time frame or your case will be dismissed and you will not receive any financial compensation. Generally, medical malpractice cases must be filed within two years of the incident or the date that the malpractice was discovered, but not more than four years from the date of the alleged incident. For cases involving minors, a lawsuit must be initiated within eight years from the date of the incident or before the minor turns 22 years old. (See 735 ILCS 5/13-212.)
Why You Need an Experienced Medical Negligence Attorney
According to an article from Law Bulletin Media that evaluated medical malpractice cases tried in Illinois from 2009-11, just 112 of 382 cases that went to trial resulted in a verdict in favor of the plaintiff.
Put another way, just 29.3% of med mal lawsuits that went to trial resulted in a financial recovery for the person bringing the case. The overwhelming majority of cases were decided in favor of the doctor or hospital.
Consequently, it is important that you retain a law firm with a proven track record of successfully prosecuting these cases. Having the best medical malpractice lawyers in Illinois working on your case means your attorneys will know how to evaluate your case as well as how similar cases are defended.
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC has experience handling high-stakes health care negligence cases in Chicago and beyond. Our medical malpractice attorneys have a unique combination of trial skills and knowledge of medicine to ensure that the most favorable case is presented at the time of trial.
We are intentionally selective with the cases that we accept, so we can invest the necessary time and resources needed to fully prepare all aspects of the case. This includes using our in-house nurses as well as consultations with leaders in the fields of medicine and rehabilitation.
We are also skilled in negotiation and are successful in obtaining favorable results during arbitration, mediation, or direct conferences with defense lawyers or insurance adjusters.
While there is no guarantee, we are confident that thanks to the experience and dedication of our medical malpractice lawyers, Chicago clients will have improved odds of success.
Common Types of Malpractice Cases
Misdiagnosis or Initial Failure to Diagnose a Condition
An example of this is when a doctor fails to perform the needed tests to rule out a form of cancer and it progresses into later stages because of the failure to diagnose it earlier. 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.
Examples of diagnosis errors may include:
- Misread X-rays, MRIs, or other diagnostic tests
- Misinterpretation of test results
- Failing to run necessary testing
- Failing to ask the patient about their symptoms or medical history
- Failing to recognize obvious symptoms
When a patient is injured or dies as a result of care directly or indirectly provided by an anesthesiologist or a medical professional under their direction, the provider may be held responsible for damages. 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 drug
- Failing to monitor a patient during surgery
- Failing to monitor a patient post-surgery
- Problems intubating a patient
- Failing to monitor vital signs
- Using the incorrect dosage of a drug
- Failing to screen patients for allergic reactions
- Use of faulty equipment
- Administering incompatible drugs
Emergency Room Errors
Emergency room physicians may be overworked or pressured to treat patients with critical injuries. Unfortunately, this high-pressure environment gives rise to a number of errors, which may result in permanent injury or death.
Examples of emergency room errors involve:
- Failing to diagnose an illness
- Failing to order crucial diagnostic tests
- Medication errors
- Failing to diagnose a heart attack
- Failing to diagnose a stroke
- Failing to diagnose a cervical fracture
- Failing to call in a specialist
- Misreading tests or X-rays
- Extreme delays in treatment
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 of surgical errors include:
- Cutting an organ or bowel accidentally
- Leaving objects inside the body
- Nerve damage
- Performing the wrong surgery
- Surgery on the wrong body part
- Unsanitary equipment
- Infection at the surgery site
When nurses, physician assistants, technicians, or other workers employed by a hospital 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 situations considered to be 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
- Failing to conduct background screening for staff
- Failing to sanitize medical or surgical equipment
These injuries are often the result of inattention, such as when a nurse doesn’t monitor the child’s vital signs for indications of distress or symptoms such as jaundice go unnoticed after birth. OB/GYN 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
- 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 liability against 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
- Failing to test equipment
Medication and Dosing Errors
These injuries are usually 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. Other errors include the administration of the wrong dose or medication 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.
Examples of medication errors in a hospital setting include:
- Administering the wrong medication
- Administering the wrong dosage of a medication
- Switching medications between patients
- Administering incompatible medications
- Failing to screen for allergies
If you have been injured and are unsure of whether you have a case, a Chicago medical malpractice lawyer at our firm would like the opportunity to review your case without any cost or obligation to you. Knowing your legal options and rights can put your mind to ease by assuring you that whatever action you’ve elected to take was well-informed.
Severity of Injuries Related to Medical Errors
While errors may be made in a variety of medical settings, from a litigation perspective, the only cases that make economic sense to pursue are those involving serious, life-changing injuries. Although a situation involving a temporary injury may be painful and inconvenient, a legal case may not make sense if the expense of litigation is equal to the amount of the likely recovery. Our Chicago medical malpractice lawyers can advise you on the best course of action.
According to Diederich Healthcare’s 2013 Medical Malpractice Payout Analysis, which is based upon data from the National Practitioner Data Bank, most medical malpractice lawsuits involve injuries related to:
- Death (31% of lawsuits)
- Significant or major permanent injury (37%)
- Quadriplegic, brain damage, lifelong care (12%)
- Minor permanent injury (8%)
- Major temporary injury (7%)
- Minor temporary injury (3%)
- Emotional injury only (1%)
Damages Available in Medical Malpractice Cases
Plaintiffs in these cases are entitled to recover financial compensation based upon their economic and non-economic losses. Despite attempts to impose limits on the amount of compensation an injured party can recover, the Illinois Supreme Court has rejected caps on medical negligence cases. See Lebron v. Gottleib Hospital, 237 Ill.2d 217 (2010).
The following are the primary types of damages recoverable:
- Medical Expenses: Any type of expense related to medical care, hospitalization, surgeries, physical therapy, nursing, medication, and medical devices is recoverable. In the case of a person who will require ongoing care for catastrophic injuries, these damages are recoverable as well.
- Wage Loss: When a person cannot return to work due to injury, they may make a wage loss claim to recover compensation. This includes recovery of benefits such as insurance and retirement plan contributions.
- Pain and Suffering: A person harmed due to medical malpractice may recover compensation for the immediate and ongoing pain related to their condition. This encompasses physical and emotional pain.
- Loss of Enjoyment of Life: When an injury prevents a person from doing the activities they enjoyed prior to the incident, the person may recover damages for their loss. An example would be the inability to participate in sports if their injuries prevented them from doing so.
- 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 (and was expected to provide to them in the future). Funeral expenses are also recoverable. A family may also recover damages for the loss of companionship when pursuing a wrongful death case.
- Loss of Consortium: The spouse of a person seriously injured or killed due to medical negligence may recover damages related to their loss of marital benefits. Examples of loss of consortium damages include loss of affection, loss of emotional support, and loss of sexual relations.
How Our Attorneys Can Help Your Chances of Winning Your Case
From the time our office is retained by a family in a medical malpractice case, we start working to present the most favorable case to a judge or jury hearing the matter. Our lawyers regularly prepare medical negligence cases by doing the following:
- Reviewing medical records, including surgical reports, diagnostic films, laboratory testing, discharge notes, and autopsies
- Preparing chronologies and charts with our in-house nurse
- Evaluating who the responsible parties are
- Determining the most favorable jurisdiction where the lawsuit can be filed
- Researching the parties involved in the case
- Evaluating the case from a settlement perspective
I am incredibly pleased with the outcome of my family’s malpractice case involving a large medical facility. We were treated with compassion and respect throughout the process. Equally important, I feel like we got a superior result for our case with a mediator.
In addition to having some of the most experienced Chicago medical malpractice attorneys you can find, our team has access to doctors, surgeons, and other medical professionals from across the country who can help determine whether negligence is to blame for your injuries. These same experts can provide compelling testimony should your case make it to trial and will greatly increase your chances of a successful recovery. We can also connect you with the medical resources that you will need to facilitate your physical recovery so that you begin receiving the care you deserve right away.
When it comes to establishing damages in health care negligence cases, our top medical malpractice lawyers have experience working with nationally recognized experts in the fields of economics, life care planning, nursing, vocational training, and grief counseling. We are mindful of the immediate and long-term impact of your case on your family and always work to ensure that the strongest possible case is presented to the jury hearing the matter.
Get a Free Consultation With Experienced Medical Malpractice Attorneys Today
Our track record of success and attention to the needs of our clients has made Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC one of the most trusted firms in Illinois. If you are need of an experienced medical malpractice lawyer, Chicago residents should contact us today to get more information about how we can help you recover the compensation you deserve for your injuries from medical or physical therapy malpractice and to arrange a risk-free consultation with a highly qualified Chicago medical malpractice lawyer. Unless our attorneys are able to secure damages on your behalf, our services will be completely free of charge.