What Illinois Laws Govern Amputation Cases?

The specific laws that might govern your amputation case depend on the type of lawsuit you file. Here is an overview of the laws surrounding the main categories of cases:

  • Negligence: If you file a negligence lawsuit for the circumstances that gave rise to your amputation, then you are claiming that the other party did not act as other reasonable parties would have in the situation-that he or she failed to live up to the standard of ordinary caution. Williams v. Conner, 228 Ill. App. 3d 350, 364 (5th Dist., 1992). Here is the definition according to the Illinois Civil Jury Pattern Instructions:
“the failure to do something which a reasonably careful person would do, or the doing of something which a reasonably careful person would not, under circumstances similar to those shown by the evidence.” Illinois Pattern Jury Instructions Civil Second No. 10.01.

Illinois Pattern Jury Instructions Civil Second No. 21.02 provide the fundamental elements of a negligence action:

“First, that the defendant acted or failed to act in one of the ways claimed by the plaintiff as stated to you in these instructions and that in so acting, or failing to act, the defendant was negligent; Second, that [the plaintiff was injured] [and] [the plaintiff's property was damaged]; Third, that the negligence of the defendant was a proximate cause of [the injury to the plaintiff] [and] [the damage to the plaintiff's property].”

Put simply, the defendant must have breached a duty to the plaintiff and this breach mush have been the cause of injury and damages, namely an amputation. Thompson v. County of Cook, 154 Ill. 2d 374, 382 (Ill. 1993)

  • Medical Malpractice: If you are harmed due to medical negligence and need an amputation, your lawsuit must allege the following elements: 1) a doctor or other healthcare person or entity 2) breached a standard of care when treating or consulting you 3) and that breach resulted in your amputation. This is essentially a negligence action in the medical context. Standard of care represents what most healthcare providers would have done in the circumstances. Additionally, treatment includes any action or inaction by healthcare personnel that affects the patient in a material way such as diagnoses, consultations, surgeries, and medication recommendations. Obviously, these become very fact intensive investigations but the general structure of the case and legal framework remains the same.

  • Product Liability: If you are injured from a defective product and need an amputation, your lawsuit might not at all resemble a negligence or medical malpractice action. This is because it would rely on completely different laws. The laws of products liability require you to establish that a product was sold in the ordinary course of business, that the product was defective, and that the defect caused you injuries, namely an amputation. Tiffin v. Great Atl. & Pac. Tea Co., 18 Ill.2d 48, 62 (1959).

Hopefully, this gives you a better sense of the legal framework surrounding several of the most prevalent kinds of forms your amputation case might take.

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