A medical malpractice case generally involves a person who is harmed or injured in receiving medical treatment. When a doctor or healthcare provider fails to provide treatment within the accepted standard of care, they may be held liable for the injuries they caused.
Medical Malpractice Law
If you or a loved one is injured as the result of negligent medical care, you may bring a civil court claim for damages caused by the healthcare provider's action or inaction. If the judge or jury finds that the doctor did not provide acceptable care, you may be compensated for the injury or death that resulted. Medical malpractice cases can often be complicated, involving many health care providers, insurers and hospitals.
One of the biggest issues when it comes to medical malpractice cases is that it may be difficult to know when a doctor did something wrong. Most people are unaware of what standards of care doctors, nurses and surgeons are supposed to provide. Additionally, even simple medical procedures may have a patient see multiple doctors, nurses, physician's assistants, anesthesiologists, and technicians. It may be difficult to know who was responsible for the injury.
Another reason medical malpractice cases can be complicated is that the injury may not be immediately or readily apparent. It could take weeks, months, or even years before the extent of a medical malpractice injury comes to light. You may not even think to connect the injury to medical care received years before.
Medical malpractice attorneys who regularly handle these complex medical cases understand the legal process involved. They make sure the individuals or groups involved will be held responsible for their mistakes, so that you can get the compensation you deserve. This includes conducting a thorough investigation into your case, including consulting with medical professionals and experts in their field.
Statute of Limitations
The statute of limitations is the timeframe that limits when you can file a medical malpractice claim. When the time is up for you to be able to file a claim is not necessarily a simple question. It may depend on when the injury was discovered, when treatment began, or even when treatment ended. In most cases, a medical malpractice should be filed within two (2) years of the date that the injury was discovered, or should have been discovered. If the individual who was injured was a minor (under 18) at the time of the medical treatment, they may have a longer period to file a claim.
The specifics of when an injury was, or should have been discovered can be complicated. Your Illinois medical malpractice attorney will be able to discuss the specific timing of your case with you, and help to make sure you file your claim in time to get compensated for your injuries.
Filing a Medical Malpractice Case
As part of filing a medical malpractice case, you will need to name the defendants who may have had some part in providing negligent medical care. It could be a single doctor or the combination of multiple health care providers that were responsible for the injury. In most cases, your medical malpractice attorney will identify a number of parties, including individual doctors and nurses, and organizations including hospitals.
A doctor, nurse, therapist or other health care professional has a duty to use the knowledge, skill and care ordinarily used by a reasonably careful professional in that position. The failure to do something that a reasonably careful health care professional would do, or by something a reasonably careful health care professional would not do under similar circumstances is considered professional negligence.
The decision of whether the doctor or health care professional acted negligently in your case is up to the jury. However, in the majority of cases, medical malpractice claims do not get all the way to trial. Instead, the parties will settle the case before it goes to a jury. The decision to settle, and how much of a payment to settle for may depend on the strength of your case, the evidence available, who the injured party is, and a number of other factors.
If the case does go to trial, the jury is in charge of deciding how a reasonably careful doctor would act under similar circumstances to your case. This is not based on the juries specialized medical knowledge, but rather based on the evidence presented to them by your lawyer, and by the the defense's lawyers.
In presenting your case to the jury, your medical malpractice attorney will introduce expert witness testimony from a qualified medical expert, other witness testimony, testimony from the parties involved, medical records and other admissible evidence. If the jury rules in your favor, they may then come to an amount to award you for your injuries.
Damages in a Medical Malpractice Case
The damages, or award that goes to the injured party, can be based on monetary and non-monetary losses. Monetary losses can include medical expenses for past treatment, current treatment, and even future medical care needs. If the injury results in a permanent disability, damages could include care for lifelong treatment. Monetary damages could also include lost wages if the injured person is not able to return to work. Non-monetary damages include an award for things like pain and suffering, or loss of consortium.
The monetary damages in a medical malpractice case can vary greatly. A minor injury may only result in recovery of a couple thousand dollars in medical bills. If the malpractice results in death or serious permanent injury, if the doctor's treatment was especially egregious, or where the patient was a child who is now facing a lifetime of medical complications, the damages can be in the millions.
Medical Malpractice Lawyers
If you suspect that a loved one has been harmed by the medical negligence of a doctor or healthcare provider, you should speak with an experienced attorney who understands complex medical malpractice issues. Our attorneys have successfully handled medical malpractice cases for our clients throughout the state of Illinois. If you have suffered a physical or emotional injury as the result of improper medical care, contact your experienced Illinois medical malpractice attorneys. At Benassi & Benassi, we are committed to getting our clients the justice they deserve, so they can move on with their lives.