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What is Medical Malpractice?
Think of the trust you place in your doctor or other medical professional. This is one of those rare cases where you are literally placing your life in the hands of another person. Most doctors take that obligation seriously and treat their patients with professionalism and skill.
However, even doctors can make a mistake. And when the mistake takes place during a high-stakes medical procedure, an innocent patient can suffer a catastrophic personal injury. Even more tragically, tens of thousands of Americans lose their lives every year as the result of avoidable medical errors.
Our experienced medical malpractice lawyers can help you with your difficult, complicated case. If you've suffered an injury as a result of medical malpractice in the Chicago, Illinois area, please call the Sklare Law Group today at (312) 759-1616 for a free consultation.
Why Do Medical Malpractice Accidents Occur?
Medical malpractice occurs because of negligence. While anyone is capable of moments of carelessness, it can be deadly in certain professions. The medical field is just such a profession.
Doctors and healthcare workers provide an immeasurable benefit to society. They change and save lives every day. But when it comes to making a mistake because of carelessness, the stakes are high. Administering the wrong medication, removing the wrong limb, failing to diagnose a terminal illness - all of these examples of negligence are quite dire for the person affected by them.
What Are the 4 Legal Elements of a Medical Malpractice Case?
A medical malpractice case must show that the doctor or other medical professional acted negligently, and that the negligence led to the victim’s injury, illness, or death. Negligence includes 4 basic elements:
- A professional medical duty of care was owed to the patient
- The medical professional breached/violated that duty of care
- The breach of care injured the patient
- This led to damages such as expensive medical bills, lifelong disability, worsened medical condition, and pain and suffering
An experienced attorney knows how to investigate these complex situations for liability. Hospitals, clinics, private practices, and other medical businesses tend to have powerful insurance companies and well-established policies for dealing with medical mistakes. You need equally savvy representation who won’t back down to powerful opponents.
Examples Of Medical Malpractice
Every medical malpractice lawyer has to have an uncomfortable conversation with a grieving family at some point in their careers. The law recognizes that medicine is a complex, tricky practice, and whenever you're dealing with a sick or injured person, there's a chance that a tragic result might occur.
And not every tragic result is a case of medical malpractice. Sometimes, a medical professional can do everything right, but tragedy still results. In these cases, there is no medical malpractice claim to be pursued.
However, medical professionals are expected to adhere to certain "standards of care" in diagnosing and treating their patients. A standard of care is a widely accepted procedure that a reasonable medical professional would be expected to follow in a specific circumstance. Medical malpractice law is based around these standards: Violating one of them could be a cause for a medical malpractice claim.
Specific examples of medical malpractice include:
What Types of Injuries Can Result From Medical Malpractice?
Medical negligence can lead to virtually any kind of physical trauma, illness, mental trauma, or other type of injury you can imagine. The specifics of each victim’s situation really are unique. Typically, a medical malpractice case handled by our attorneys involve catastrophic physical injuries, such as:
- Erb’s palsy
- Cerebral palsy
- Brachial plexus
- injury Scarring and disfigurement
- Brain injury
- Spinal cord injury
- Nerve damage
- Worsened medical condition
- Cancer that progresses without diagnosis or treatment
- Unnecessary amputation
- Severed artery
- Heart attack
The injuries in medical malpractice cases tend to be lasting and catastrophic. They may involve very expensive medical followup, medical monitoring, the need for expensive adaptive equipment or changes to the home, invasive surgery, as well as tremendous pain, suffering, and mental anguish.
Who Can Be Held Responsible in a Medical Malpractice Case?
The liable party can be held responsible for medical errors resulting in injuries. Examples include:
- Hospitals, urgent care centers, or health clinics
- Nursing homes
Each case is different. The experienced attorneys at Sklare Law will review the details of your injury to determine who is responsible.
How to Prove Medical Malpractice in Court?
Our attorneys first want to get to know your situation so we can provide individualized guidance for your situation. Not all medical malpractice cases go to court. They may settle or get resolved in other negotiations.
In general, your attorneys must prove the 4 elements of medical negligence discussed above in order to pursue justice on your behalf. This could involve the following:
- Interviewing witnesses and other medical staff
- Obtaining records, documentation, reports, medical charts, video footage, or other items that could serve as evidence Negotiating with insurance companies and hospital administrations
Our attorneys must first review the details of your injury and what caused it, before we can begin to build a strategic case. While a claim may go to court or be resolved outside of court, we are personally committed to obtaining the best possible results for you and your family.
How Long After Medical Malpractice Can You Sue?
Although a timeline to file applies to your claim, you must call our attorneys to find out if you are still eligible to pursue justice. These deadlines are established by law, called the statute of limitations. Each state has one, including Illinois. While the deadline may seem cut and dry, it becomes complex when it comes to medical malpractice. There are a number of scenarios that may be an exception to the standard statute of limitations deadline, including when the injury, illness, or death is discovered to be connected to negligence.
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What Financial Costs Might a Person Suffer Due to Medical Malpractice?
Financial impacts of these catastrophic injuries include:
- Medical bills
- Rehabilitative therapy costs
- Occupational therapy costs Costs associated with wheelchairs, home modifications, nursing care, or other services or equipment needed to live with the injury or illness
- Loss of income from being unable to perform your former job duties
- Costs associated with job retraining
- Costs of ongoing and lifelong medical care or therapy of various kinds
In addition to these financial costs, there are other “non-economic” costs to a person’s life, such as pain, suffering, mental anguish, depression, and loss of enjoyment of life.
If the victim of medical malpractice died as a result of their injuries, illness, or the medical error directly, then the family of the deceased may be able to pursue compensation for funeral expenses, burial or cremation costs, medical bills resulting from the medical malpractice, and various other damages.
Schedule A Consultation Today
Does your case qualify for a medical malpractice claim? Answering this question requires both skill and experience. Medical malpractice cases are exceptionally complex – they involve difficult questions of both law and medicine.
Our medical malpractice lawyers have been grappling with these questions for decades. You can trust us to make a sound, reasonable recommendation as to the wisdom of legal action.