Thousands of medical errors are made every year in the U.S. In fact, a 2016 study from Johns Hopkins Medicine suggested that medical errors were the third leading cause of death in the country. When doctors or other hospital staff act negligently, their actions or lack thereof can have severe or even fatal consequences. The patients who suffer these consequences deserve fair compensation.
Medical malpractice is a legal cause of action used to recover damages when a healthcare professional, through a negligent act or omission, causes injury to a patient. Medical malpractice is a field of personal injury law. However, medical malpractice cases involve unique elements that are not always easy to prove. Our Naperville medical malpractice lawyers can help injured patients gather evidence and build their case.
If you or a loved one has been injured because of a healthcare professional’s negligence, get help from our Naperville medical malpractice lawyers by calling the Rhatigan Law Offices at (312) 578-8502 for a free case review.
Elements of a Medical Malpractice Case in Naperville
Plaintiffs in Naperville medical malpractice cases must satisfy four basic elements for their case to succeed. Each element may involve different types of evidence and specific sets of rules. Accordingly, establishing each element to a medical malpractice claim can be complicated. Our Naperville medical malpractice lawyers can help victims prove each of the following elements in their medical malpractice claim:
Duty of Care
Plaintiffs in medical malpractice cases must establish that a professional relationship existed between and themselves and the healthcare professional who caused their injury. However, a doctor who is not acting in a professional capacity does not form a doctor-patient relationship. For instance, a doctor who gives someone harmful advice will sitting next to them on an airplane will not be held liable for medical malpractice.
Establishing a doctor-patient relationship is required to show that a duty of care existed. Doctors owe a duty to administer appropriate care according to established standards of practice. Patients who undergo treatment at a medical facility do not expect to become more sick or develop new conditions because of the treatment.
A breach of the duty care involves the negligent act or omission committed by a healthcare professional. In a medical malpractice case, evidence must show that a healthcare professional failed to fulfill their duty of care to a patient. The duty of care is breached when a doctor, surgeon, or other medical professional fails to act in accordance with established standards of practice. For example, a surgeon operating on the wrong body part is a clear example of a breached duty of care in a medical malpractice case. At trial, plaintiffs will need another medical expert to concur that the standard of care was breached. Our Naperville medical malpractice lawyers can help collect evidence to prove a healthcare professional breached their duty of care.
A healthcare professional’s negligent actions have to be the cause of injury in order to recover damages. If the doctor did something wrong, but it did not actually contribute to your injuries, you cannot claim damages for it. Similarly, if the doctor would have been unable to treat you properly even if they did everything right, their breach of duty cannot be deemed a “cause” of the negative outcome.
The last element of a medical malpractice lawsuit is damages. Victims of medical malpractice must prove that they suffered injury because of the healthcare professional’s negligence. Damages such as medical bills and lost wages may be easy to establish. However, other damages like emotional distress can be more difficult to prove. Our Naperville medical malpractice lawyers will help you assemble evidence of your damages so you can prove how much your case is worth in court.
Common Examples of Medical Malpractice in Naperville
Medical malpractice can come in many forms. A healthcare professional may be held liable for medical malpractice for either acting negligently or for failing to act when medical standards dictate they should have acted. However, some types of medical malpractice are more common than others. The following are common examples of medical malpractice cases our Naperville medical malpractice lawyers can handle:
Misdiagnosis or Failure to Diagnose
Medical malpractice cases involving misdiagnosis or a failure to diagnose are some of the most common. A healthcare professional’s misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose must cause injury through improper medical care, delayed treatment, or lack of treatment to be considered medical malpractice. For example, a physician can often be held liable for medical malpractice if they fail to diagnose a patient’s heart attack, leading the patient to dye after they get home from the emergency room..
Medical malpractice often occurs where a doctor has mistakenly prescribed a harmful medication to a patient. For instance, a doctor may be sued for malpractice if they fail to check a patient’s chart for allergies before prescribing medication, causing the patient to suffer a severe allergic reaction.
Another common form of medical malpractice in Naperville involves surgical errors. Surgical errors can range from severing a nerve to operating on the wrong body part. Our Naperville medical malpractice lawyers can assist victims in determining if a surgical error occurred in their case.
Lack of Informed Consent
In Chicago, healthcare professionals have a duty to warn patients of the material risks associated with any procedure or treatment. Without having full information about their treatment and its risks, patients may agree to harmful procedures they would not otherwise have agreed to. Naperville patients may have a valid claim for medical malpractice if they suffered an expectable injury during treatment by a doctor who failed to explain the risks involved. Victims should consult with our Naperville medical malpractice lawyers to determine whether their physician failed to obtain informed consent.
Medical Malpractice Statute of Limitations in Naperville
The statute of limitations is governed by state law and establishes time limits for filing a legal action. Under 75 ILCS 5, medical malpractice cases in Illinois must be filed within two years of the date the victim discovered or should have discovered their injury. However, medical malpractice cases cannot be brought more than four years after the date the malpractice occurred, regardless of when the victim discovered or should have discovered their injury. Unless the injured party was under 18 at the time, then they have 8 years to file or until they reach 22 years old, whichever comes first.
Furthermore, relevant evidence may become harder to gather over time. Important documents can be lost and crucial details of cases are forgotten. Our Naperville medical malpractice lawyers can help victims file their case in a timely manner.
If You Have Been Injured Because of a Healthcare Professional’s Negligence, Our Lawyers Can Help
If you believe you have a valid claim for medical malpractice, get help from experienced Naperville medical malpractice attorneys by calling the Rhatigan Law Offices at (312) 578-8502 for a free case review.