Understanding Your Medical Malpractice Claim
Early in the process of receiving medical care, you may feel mistreated or neglected. Unfortunately, this feeling does not always rise to the level of medical malpractice. Considering this, it is helpful to keep the following issues in mind regarding Illinois medical malpractice.
Understanding Medical MalpracticeFirst and foremost, it is important to determine what your applicable Statute of Limitations is. A Statute of Limitations refers to the longest period of time that a plaintiff has before he or she must file a lawsuit. For medical malpractice cases in Illinois, the Statute of Limitations is up to two years. This means that if you are injured on January 1, 2018, you must file your lawsuit by January 1, 2020. If you miss this deadline, you will never be able to file your lawsuit.
Medical Malpractice occurs when: (1) a physician/nurse/surgeon/hospital or other healthcare entity; (2) breaches the "standard of care" when treating a patient; and (3) causes injury or death. This means that a healthcare provider has agreed to treat and/or diagnose you, but that they failed to appropriately do so and caused you harm. If this is true, then a case of medical malpractice may exist. However, it is important to further understand the "standard of care."
It is important to note that a medical professional must be more than simply negligent or careless. Instead, their actions must fall below the "standard of care." The "standard of care" is the generally accepted set of standards and practices that similar medical professionals would abide by when treating a similar patient under similar circumstances. A violation of that "standard of care" must exist for there to be medical negligence.
Common Types of Medical Malpractice: (1) Failure to diagnose your condition; (2) Misdiagnosis, i.e. providing the wrong diagnosis; (3) Misread or disregarded lab or imaging results; (4) Surgical errors, i.e. operating on the wrong limb or harming tissue during the surgery; (5) Premature discharge; or (6) Improper medication or improper dosage. This list is by no means exhaustive and medical malpractice can come in a variety of forms.
What You Can Do.The first step, if you believe you are a victim of medical malpractice, is to request all of your medical records from the hospitals and healthcare providers who injured you. This should be easily accomplished by visiting or calling your healthcare providers and filling out the appropriate HIPPA authorizations forms. Once you have received those medical records it is of the utmost importance that you call a local medical malpractice attorney and set up a meeting as soon as possible.
In order to file medical malpractice claims in Illinois, you or your attorney must locate an expert in the same branch of medicine as the defendant This expert must agree that a case of medical malpractice exists. Additionally, the expert must agree and provide a report demonstrating why he agrees. This requirement exists because Illinois has enacted a statute which requires an expert report to be filed with your lawsuit. The requirement is often difficult and costly to accomplish as the average medical expert will charge $300-$600 per hour to review your case. Thus, it is better left to an attorney well versed in medical malpractice cases with the ability to pay experts.