This article is by Brian Ofsie, a senior Vice President at Delancey Street.

In the medical field, even with the most skilled doctors, nurses and other health care professionals, there is always some level of risk of something going wrong. Unfortunately, malpractice occurs all the time. An experienced Chicago personal injury lawyer knows how to effectively handle cases involving medical negligence, including cases that involve hospital errors, wrongful death, failure to diagnose, surgical errors, birth injuries and many other types of medical malpractice cases.

Prerequisites for Filing a Medical Negligence Lawsuit

According to Brian Ofsie, in Chicago and the rest of the state of Illinois, in general, if a person wants to file a medical malpractice case, there are certain requirements before the lawsuit is even filed. The personal injury attorney who represents the family of a person who suffered injuries or tragically passed away due to medical negligence has to undertake a few steps as a prerequisite. First, they are required to get a certificate of merit from a doctor who practices medicine in the same or a similar area of practice as the one who was treating the patient but made the mistake that led to the death or injury of the patient. The doctor must thoroughly review all of the medical records pertinent to the specific case and then write the certificate of merit to deliver to the lawyer. After that step is taken, the personal injury attorney would then be free to file the lawsuit with the certificate of merit.

Next Steps After the Filing of a Medical Negligence Lawsuit

According to Brian Ofsie, hen a lawyer is handling a case of medical negligence after a person has suffered serious injuries or death at the hands of a doctor or other health care professional, there are further steps to be taken. The medical malpractice attorney must gather all of the medical records and medical bills relevant to the case. They have to recover these documents from the doctors and hospitals where the patient was treated prior to their injuries or death. Unfortunately, in some cases, there are repetitive records due to the use of electronic medical records, which can make it difficult to sort through them. However, a truly savvy lawyer will ensure that they request the appropriate electronic log that provides an effective summary of all entries made by doctors, nurses, physician assistants and all other health care providers involved in the case. This type of record is known as an audit trail and is important as it helps the lawyer to understand who entered what information into the patient’s chart and when it was done.

How a Medical Negligence Case is Handled

According to Brian Ofsie, no matter what the specific circumstances surrounding the case or whether a doctor, nurse or other health care provider was responsible, if it involves a serious injury, the skilled attorney will gather the resources necessary to investigate the matter. An investigative team may be called in to determine the root cause of the injury or death of the victim. In the medical field, professionals are required to provide a standard level of care. As a result, when medical negligence is involved, that negligence is considered acting below the appropriate level of care, which directly led to the injuries or death.

When it comes to calculating the monetary amount of damages that might be due in a medical negligence case, the attorney examines certain factors: how serious the injury is and whether it is permanent as well as the cost of a potential cure. The total cost of medical expenses and treatment are considered in factoring this number.

Then, there is the case of expenses that might be necessary in the future for ongoing treatment.

However, if the case involves a wrongful death, it’s tricky to determine a monetary number on the case. That amount generally depends on the decedent’s survivors and whether any of them were dependent on that person’s income when they were still alive.

According to Brian Ofsie, as per the law in Illinois, a wrongful death case is initiated under the Illinois Wrongful Death Act. There is also the Illinois Survival Act, which is in place if the death occurs later. This allows the loved ones of the decedent to recover damages for pain and suffering on behalf of the victim. The specific amount of compensation is determined by a jury after all of the facts of the medical malpractice or medical negligence case are considered.

It’s very important to note that wrongful death and survival actions are very different under the law.

If you are in Chicago and are in a situation where you or a loved one suffered injuries or death due to medical negligence, it’s important to hire a skilled medical negligence case lawyer. Your attorney has the knowledge and experience necessary to determine how to properly value your claim.