Chicagoans put their faith in doctors, nurses, and hospital administrators at the times when we are most vulnerable. We do so with an expectation that they will provide sound and reasonable care and treatment. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. In situations where a medical care provider’s deviation from industry standards causes new injury or exacerbation of a preexisting condition, victims may have legal options of which they should be aware.
Medical malpractice lawsuits may concern frequent causes of harm in the medical field such as failure to diagnose, surgical errors, and treating without obtaining informed consent. These lawsuits can recover damages for victims that may include compensation for additional medical care costs, loss of income, and pain and suffering.
To learn more about how you can seek monetary remedies after you were harmed by medical malpractice, reach out to the dedicated Chicago medical malpractice attorneys at Rhatigan Law Offices. To get your first case assessment free of charge, call us today at (312) 578-8502.
Common Forms of Medical Malpractice in Chicago
All medical care professionals in Illinois owe a duty of care to their patients. Medical care providers can violate this duty and incur liability in a variety of circumstances. Our medical malpractice attorneys have provided several examples below of some example situations where a medical malpractice lawsuit could arise.
The operating table is the place where the patient is the most vulnerable to physician mistakes, as they are usually under general anesthesia and cannot communicate with the doctor or confirm their course of treatment. You would be surprised to discover just how often surgeons perform a different operation than the one that the patient needed. Other surgical errors may include improper sutures, unnecessarily risky methods, and surgical equipment being left inside the patient’s closed incision.
Patients who receive prescription medication may not be able to tell the difference between their medication and a different one just by visual appearance. If a pharmacist fills a prescription with the wrong medication or even the wrong dosage of the right medication, the consequences could be devastating. Patients must also be made aware of the side effects of medications, and prescribing physicians must take care to avoid prescribing a medication that could cause an adverse reaction with other medications that the patient is taking.
Doctors go through rigorous education programs and spend years learning about medicine before being allowed to practice. The same cannot be expected of a patient. Doctors are responsible for providing an adequate description of their treatment plan and making sure that the patient both understands it and agrees to it. This includes accurately disclosing the potential risks and side effects of the treatment or procedure if it works, as well as the probability that it does not work.
Misdiagnosis or Failure to Diagnose
Not every situation where a physician fails to identify the cause of a patient’s symptoms is grounds for a medical malpractice suit. However, if the physician ignored or disregarded critical symptoms, failed to run appropriate labs or tests, or otherwise should have identified the diagnosis through use of standard industry practices, they could incur liability for the resulting harm. Even if a doctor ultimately arrives at the right diagnosis, the patient’s condition could deteriorate in the additional time that should not have been wasted.
Calculating Damages for a Chicago Medical Malpractice Lawsuit
Through a medical malpractice lawsuit, the victim may recover compensation for both their economic and non-economic harms. For a complete understanding of what your case may be worth, it is important to discuss the particulars of your case with a Chicago medical malpractice lawyer.
Economic damages include direct financial losses to the patient, such as additional medical expenses necessary to cure the damage done. They may also include loss of income from any time you are forced to miss at work as a result of the malpractice, as well as any decrease in earning capacity if your condition prevents you from working as you had previously.
Non-economic damages, on the other hand, compensate the medical malpractice victim for the pain and suffering that they have and will likely experience as a result of the harmful incident and development or exacerbation of their health condition. These damages are harder to quantify but nonetheless impactful on those who have to deal with the consequences of medical malpractice.
In previous years, Illinois law placed a cap on what a plaintiff could obtain in noneconomic damages for medical malpractice. However, in 2010, the Illinois Supreme Court determined this cap to be unconstitutional. Following the Court’s decision, no statutory caps on damages applied in the medical malpractice context. This means that you can get exactly what you deserve in financial remedy from a Chicago medical malpractice lawsuit.
In certain situations, medical malpractice victims may be entitled to additional compensation by way of punitive damages, which are based on the conduct of the defendant rather than the harm to the victim. Courts will only choose to award punitive damages if they determine that the defendant’s harmful actions were intentional or so highly negligent as to constitute recklessness. An example of a situation that might call for punitive damages might be where a surgeon operates on a patient while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Punitive damages may be substantial where available, which is why our Chicago medical malpractice lawyers will always advise our clients of whether a court might consider awarding punitive damages in their case.
Get a Free Case Assessment from the Chicago Medical Malpractice Lawyers at Rhatigan Law Offices Today
When you reach out to the dedicated Chicago medical malpractice attorneys Rhatigan Law Offices by calling (312) 578-8502 right now, you can receive your initial medical malpractice case assessment for no charge.