Chicago Surgical Error Lawyer

Suffering from injury or harm due to a surgical error or complication? A surgery gone wrong can be traumatic for you and your loved ones. Working with Chicago Medical Malpractice Lawyers is the first step towards getting compensation for your pain. We’ll work with you to assess your case and the circumstances surrounding it and advise you on all available legal options. Our attorneys understand surgical error cases and will take on every aspect of your claim, ensuring that your needs and those of your family will be taken care of in a timely manner.

Chicago Surgical Error Lawyer

Chicago Surgical Error Lawyers: Suffering After A Surgery Gone Wrong?

A surgical error or complication can be a devastating medical mistake, with severe consequences for the patient and their loved ones.

While surgical procedures are generally safe, mistakes can and do occur  — and when warranted, those errors may result in a valid medical malpractice claim. 

Research and medical literature suggest that surgical errors leading to patient injuries happen in approximately 0.5% to 1% of all surgical procedures performed. However, the likelihood of a surgical error varies widely based on the complexity of the surgery, the experience of the surgical team, and other factors.

Certain types of surgeries carry a higher risk of errors than others.

For instance, complex procedures involving multiple surgical teams or intricate anatomical structures may have a heightened likelihood of complications or errors.

Emergency surgeries or those performed on critically ill patients also tend to pose a greater risk of adverse outcomes due to the urgency and complexity of the situation.

Contact Chicago Medical Malpractice Lawyers for a free consultation today.

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Why Are Surgical Complications So Harmful?

Surgical complications can be particularly harmful due to their potential to exacerbate existing health issues, prolong recovery time, and even result in long-term disabilities or death

Surgical complications can directly affect a patient’s health by causing additional trauma to the body.

Complications such as excessive bleeding, infection, or organ damage can lead to systemic complications and compromise the patient’s overall well-being.

Complications often necessitate additional medical interventions, such as extended hospital stays, further surgeries, or prolonged courses of antibiotics.

These can prolong the recovery process and increase the physical and emotional burden on patients and their families.

Furthermore, some surgical complications and medical errors can result in long-term disabilities or impairments.

For example, nerve damage during surgery may lead to loss of sensation or function in affected areas, while complications such as blood clots can cause permanent damage to organs or tissues.

Surgical complications can also significantly increase healthcare costs, both for the patient and the healthcare system as a whole.

Extended hospital stays, additional procedures, and ongoing medical care to manage complications all contribute to higher healthcare expenses.

Then there is the emotional toll for patients and their loved ones.

Anxiety, depression, and feelings of uncertainty about the future are common among patients who experience complications during surgery.

In severe cases, surgical complications can be life-threatening.

Complications such as sepsis, massive bleeding, or organ failure can result in death if not promptly recognized and treated.

This all adds up to a profound impact on quality of life.

Chronic pain, limited mobility, and other long-term consequences of complications can affect one’s ability to perform daily activities and participate in enjoyable activities. 

How Common Are Surgical Errors That Lead To Patient Injuries?

The prevalence of surgical errors that lead to patient injuries can vary depending on various factors such as the type of surgery, the complexity of the procedure, the experience of the surgical team, and the quality of the healthcare facility.

While surgical errors are generally considered rare, they still occur with some frequency.

According to research studies and medical literature, it’s estimated that surgical errors leading to patient injuries occur in a range of 0.5% to 1% of all surgical procedures performed.

However, it’s important to note that this statistic can vary widely depending on the specific type of surgery and the definition of what constitutes a surgical error.

Additionally, certain types of surgeries may carry a higher risk of errors than others.

For example, complex procedures involving multiple surgical teams or delicate anatomical structures may have a higher likelihood of complications or errors.

Similarly, surgeries performed in emergency situations or on critically ill patients may carry a higher risk of adverse outcomes.

Healthcare providers and regulatory agencies continually work to improve patient safety and reduce the incidence of surgical errors through measures such as implementing standardized protocols, enhancing communication among surgical teams, conducting regular safety audits, and providing ongoing training and education for healthcare professionals.

Despite these efforts, surgical errors remain a concern, emphasizing the importance of transparency, accountability, and continuous quality improvement in healthcare systems to minimize the risk of harm to patients undergoing surgical procedures.

Are Surgical Errors Preventable?

While surgical errors cannot be entirely eradicated, many are preventable through rigorous adherence to established protocols, ongoing training and education for healthcare professionals, and a culture of safety within healthcare institutions. 

Strategies such as preoperative checklists, effective communication among surgical team members, and standardized procedures can help mitigate the risk of errors. 

Additionally, regular safety audits, thorough preoperative assessments, and continuous quality improvement efforts play crucial roles in identifying and addressing potential areas of concern to enhance patient safety and minimize the occurrence of surgical errors.

That said, surgical errors do occur and if you believe you have suffered a preventable surgical error in Chicago, Illinois or the surrounding areas, then you should contact a medical malpractice attorney to establish a claim and get compensation.

Our Experience With Surgical Error Lawsuits

We’re a Chicago-based law firm specializing in medical malpractice with extensive experience representing clients in cases involving a Chicago surgical error. 

Our surgical errors lawyers at Chicago Medical Malpractice Lawyers have successfully litigated numerous cases where patients suffered harm due to misdiagnosis, securing compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. 

Our expertise in this area often involves collaborating with medical experts to uncover negligence and advocate for their clients’ rights. 

We focus on clients in Chicago, Illinois, and the surrounding areas, and offer free consultations to hear your case.

Some examples of our medical malpractice lawsuit cases we’ve handled include settlements of $1.25 million for an undisclosed negligent failure.

What Is Considered A Surgical Error?

A surgical error refers to any preventable mistake that occurs during a surgical procedure, resulting in harm to the patient.

These errors can encompass a wide range of issues that can have serious consequences for the patient, ranging from temporary discomfort to permanent disability or even death. 

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Why Do Surgical Errors Occur?

Surgical errors can occur due to various factors, including human error, mechanical failures or malfunctions, or medication errors.

Unfortunately, each surgical error is a complex interplay of various elements. 

Communication errors within the surgical team often play a significant role, as unclear instructions or missed critical information can lead to misunderstandings and mistakes during procedures. 

Moreover, the demanding nature of surgical work can exacerbate issues such as fatigue and stress, impairing judgment and performance, particularly in high-pressure situations.

Inexperienced staff or surgeons may also contribute to errors due to a lack of proficiency or familiarity with certain procedures, highlighting the importance of ongoing training and mentorship within surgical teams.

Equipment malfunctions can further compound the risk of errors, underscoring the necessity of regular maintenance and quality assurance protocols.

Poor preoperative planning or inadequate assessments may leave surgical teams ill-prepared, while distractions in the operating room can divert attention from crucial tasks. 

Additionally, systemic factors such as time pressures and conflicts among team members can undermine patient safety.

Addressing these issues requires a comprehensive approach that prioritizes effective communication, ongoing training and education, robust protocols and procedures, and a culture of safety and collaboration within healthcare institutions.

Contact an experienced surgical error attorney for a free consultation today.

Types Of Surgical Complications Or Errors

Surgical errors encompass a range of mistakes including wrong-site surgery, instrument or sponge retention, anesthesia errors, and postoperative complications, each potentially resulting in harm to the patient.

Wrong-Site Surgery

Wrong site errors surgery (wrong part) refers to a surgical procedure performed on the incorrect part of the body, such as operating on the wrong limb or organ. 

This serious medical error can lead to unnecessary harm to the patient, including additional surgeries, complications, and emotional distress.

According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, approximately 1 in every 112,000 surgeries involves a wrong surgery or wrong-site error.

Wrong Procedure

When a surgical complication is deemed to be a wrong procedure, it refers to a surgical intervention different from what was planned or indicated for the patient (including incorrect patient records), potentially leading to unintended consequences, further injuries, and harm.

A surgical team performing the incorrect surgical procedure or unnecessary surgery on the wrong body part or even the wrong patient can result from miscommunication, inadequate preoperative verification processes, or failure to adhere to established surgical protocols.

Objects Left In The Body During Surgery

Objects left in the body during surgery, also known as retained surgical items, refer to surgical instruments, sponges, or other foreign objects inadvertently left behind in a patient’s body after a surgical procedure. 

Retained or leaving surgical tools or a surgical instrument can lead to serious complications such as severe infection, pain, organ damage, and the need for additional surgeries to remove the retained items.

This error occurs in every 5,500 to 7,000 surgeries, according to a study reported in the National Library of Medicine.

Medication Errors

Medication errors during surgery are mistakes in the administration, dosage, or type of medication given to a patient before, during, or after a surgical procedure, potentially leading to adverse reactions, complications, or compromised patient safety. 

Medication errors during surgery are reported to occur in approximately 1 in every 20 anesthetic administrations, as per a study published in Anesthesia & Analgesia.

Infections

Preventable infections are considered a surgical error when patients develop postoperative infections due to lapses in infection control measures, inadequate sterilization procedures, or breaches in surgical site hygiene.

Surgical site infections occur in an estimated 2 to 5% of surgeries, varying based on the type of procedure and patient factors, as noted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

These dangerous infections can lead to prolonged recovery times, increased healthcare costs, and potential complications for patients.

Preventable Falls During Surgery 

Preventable falls during surgery refer to incidents where patients sustain unintended falls from the operating table or other surfaces during a surgical procedure, which can result in injuries such as fractures, head trauma, or complications related to anesthesia.

Anesthesia Errors

Anesthesia errors involve mistakes in the administration, dosage, or monitoring of anesthesia during a surgical procedure, potentially leading to complications such as respiratory distress, cardiovascular instability, or adverse reactions, endangering patient safety.

These types of surgical errors happen in approximately 1 in every 200 to 300 anesthesia cases, with major anesthesia complications happening in around 1 in every 10,000 to 100,000 cases, as reported by the American Society of Anesthesiologists.

Nerve Damage

Nerve damage refers to serious injury or trauma to nerves during a surgical procedure, which can result in temporary or permanent loss of sensation, motor function, or chronic pain for the patient, potentially impacting their quality of life and requiring additional medical intervention for management.

Blood Clots

Blood clots refers to the formation of abnormal blood clots, known as thrombosis, as a complication of surgery, which can obstruct blood flow and lead to serious complications such as deep vein thrombosis (DVT), pulmonary embolism (PE), or stroke, posing significant risks to patient health and necessitating prompt medical intervention.

Injury To Adjacent Structures 

Serious injuries to adjacent structures (in the context of surgical errors or complications) refers to unintended damage or trauma inflicted on nearby tissues, organs, nerves, or blood vessels during a surgical procedure, which can result from surgical instruments, manipulation, or inadequate visualization, potentially leading to complications such as bleeding, infection, or impaired function, and requiring additional medical intervention for management.

Post-Operative Complications

Post-operative complications involve adverse events or health issues that arise following a surgical procedure, such as infections, failure to address excessive bleeding, patient’s vital signs, or organ dysfunction.

They can be potentially considered surgical errors when the type of complications indicates lapses in post-operative care or management.

Poor Wound Closure

A poor wound closure falls into the surgical error realm when it results from inadequate technique, improper materials, or failure to address factors such as tension or contamination during the closure process, potentially leading to complications such as wound dehiscence, infection, or impaired healing.

Failure To Obtain Informed Consent 

Failure to obtain informed consent can be considered a surgical error when a patient undergoes a surgical procedure without fully understanding the risks, benefits, alternatives, and potential complications, violating their right to make an informed decision about their medical care and potentially leading to legal and ethical ramifications for the healthcare provider.

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What Steps Should I Take Following Surgical Complications or Errors?

If you’ve experienced surgical complications or errors, there are several important steps to take after you’ve sought immediate medical attention. 

  1. Document Your Experience. Keep detailed records of your symptoms, medical treatment received, and any communication with healthcare providers regarding the complications or errors. This documentation can be valuable if you decide to pursue further action.

  2. Communicate with Your Healthcare Provider. Discuss your concerns and any complications with your surgeon or healthcare provider. They may be able to provide explanations, additional treatment, or referrals to specialists as needed.

  3. Consider Seeking a Second Opinion. If you’re uncertain about the management of your complications or errors, consider seeking a second opinion from another qualified healthcare provider. A fresh perspective can help clarify your options and potential courses of action.

  4. Report the Incident. If you believe that the surgical complication or error resulted from negligence or misconduct, consider reporting the incident to the appropriate authorities, such as your state’s medical board or healthcare regulatory agency. This can help ensure accountability and prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future.

  5. Consult Legal Advice. If you believe you’ve experienced harm due to surgical negligence or errors, consult with a qualified medical malpractice attorney to discuss your options. They can provide guidance on your legal rights and potential avenues for seeking compensation for damages.

  6. Seek Emotional Support. Dealing with surgical complications or errors can be emotionally challenging. Don’t hesitate to seek support from friends, family members, or mental health professionals who can provide emotional support and guidance during this difficult time.

Contact a Chicago surgical error attorney for a free consultation today.

Who Is Liable For Surgical Errors?

Determining liability for a Chicago surgical error can be complex and depends on various factors such as the specific circumstances of the case, the nature of the error, and applicable laws and regulations.

Generally, liability for surgical errors may fall on parties that include but are not limited to:

  • Surgeons. Surgeons can be held liable for errors that result from negligence, incompetence, or failure to adhere to the standard of care expected of a reasonable medical professional. This includes mistakes made during the surgical procedure itself, such as wrong-site surgery or damage to adjacent structures.

  • Other Healthcare Providers. Liability may also extend to other members of the surgical team, and other medical professionals such as anesthesiologists, nurses, or surgical assistants, if their actions or omissions contribute to the surgical error or complication.

  • Hospitals and Healthcare Facilities. Hospitals and healthcare facilities may be held vicariously liable for the actions of their employees, including surgeons and other healthcare providers. Additionally, hospitals can be held directly liable for issues such as inadequate staffing, lack of proper equipment, or failure to maintain a safe surgical environment.

  • Manufacturers of Medical Devices or Equipment. In cases where a surgical error results from the malfunction or defect of a medical device or equipment used during the procedure, the manufacturer of the device may be held liable under product liability laws.

  • Informed Consent Issues. If a surgical error occurs because the patient did not provide informed consent or was not adequately informed of the risks associated with the procedure, liability may fall on the healthcare provider who failed to obtain proper consent or provide sufficient information.

Determining liability often requires a thorough investigation and review of medical records, expert testimony, and legal analysis.

It’s essential to consult with a qualified medical malpractice attorney who can evaluate the details of your case and advise you on your legal rights and options for seeking compensation for damages resulting from surgical errors.

Are Surgical Errors Considered Medical Malpractice?

Yes, surgical errors constitute medical malpractice when they result from negligence, incompetence, or failure to adhere to the standard of care expected of a reasonable medical professional.

Medical malpractice refers to situations where a healthcare provider’s actions or omissions deviate from the accepted standard of practice, leading to harm or a serious injury to the patient.

Surgical errors, such as wrong-site surgery, anesthesia errors, or leaving foreign objects inside the body, can all be grounds for a surgical malpractice claim if they result from a breach of the duty of care owed to the patient. 

Victims of surgical errors may be entitled to compensation for damages such as medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, and other related losses. 

That said, proving medical malpractice requires demonstrating that the healthcare provider’s actions or omissions fell below the standard of care, and that this breach of duty directly resulted in harm to the patient.

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How Is A Surgical Error Claim Proven?

Proving a surgical error claim typically involves several key steps and considerations, starting with consulting medical malpractice lawyers with experience successfully winning settlements in your jurisdiction.

  • Establishing Duty of Care. The first step in proving a surgical error claim is to establish that the healthcare provider owed a duty of care to the patient. This duty requires the healthcare provider to adhere to the standard of care expected of a reasonable medical professional under similar circumstances.

  • Demonstrating Breach of Duty. The claimant must then demonstrate that the healthcare provider breached this duty of care by failing to meet the applicable standard. This may involve showing that the provider’s actions or omissions deviated from accepted medical practices or guidelines.

  • Establishing Causation. To succeed in a surgical error claim, the claimant must establish a causal link between the healthcare provider’s breach of duty and the harm suffered by the patient. This requires demonstrating that the surgical error directly resulted in the patient’s injuries or damages.

  • Gathering Evidence. Proving a surgical error claim often involves gathering extensive evidence, including medical records, surgical notes, expert testimony, and other documentation relevant to the case. This evidence may help establish the standard of care, demonstrate the breach of duty, and establish causation.

  • Expert Testimony. Expert testimony from qualified medical professionals is often crucial in proving a surgical error claim. Medical experts can provide opinions on whether the healthcare provider’s actions constituted a breach of the standard of care and whether these actions directly caused the patient’s serious injuries.

  • Legal Proceedings. If a settlement cannot be reached, the claimant may need to pursue legal action through the court system. During legal proceedings, both parties will present evidence and arguments to support their respective positions, and a judge or jury will ultimately decide the outcome of the case.

Successfully proving a surgical error claim requires careful preparation, thorough documentation, and often the assistance of experienced legal professionals who specialize in medical malpractice suit litigation.

If I Die Due To A Surgical Error, Can My Family Make A Claim?

Yes, if you die due to a surgical error, your family may be able to make a claim for wrongful death.

Wrongful death claims allow surviving family members, such as spouses, children, or parents, to seek compensation for the loss of their loved one’s life and the resulting financial and emotional damages. 

To pursue a wrongful death claim related to a surgical error, your family would need to demonstrate that the surgical error directly contributed to your death and that the healthcare provider’s negligence or misconduct was a proximate cause of the fatal outcome. 

Wrongful death claims are complex legal matters and may require the assistance of experienced attorneys who specialize in medical malpractice and wrongful death litigation.

How Long Do I Have To File A Lawsuit After A Surgical Error?

The time limit for filing a lawsuit after a surgical error, known as the statute of limitations, varies depending on the jurisdiction and the specific circumstances of the case. 

In most states in the United States, the statute of limitations for a medical malpractice claim ranges from 1 to 3 years from the date of the injury or the discovery of the injury. 

There may be exceptions and variations to these time limits based on factors such as the age of the patient at the time of the injury, the type of injury, and the laws of the state where the claim is being filed. 

It’s important to consult with a qualified attorney in your area as soon as possible after a surgical error to understand the applicable statute of limitations and ensure that your legal rights are protected.

Waiting too long to file a lawsuit may result in the claim being barred by the statute of limitations, preventing you from seeking compensation for your injuries.

Is There A Statute Of Limitations On Surgical Error Lawsuits in Illinois?

Yes, in Illinois, there is a statute of limitations on surgical error lawsuits, as with other medical malpractice claims.

The statute of limitations for medical malpractice lawsuits in Illinois is generally 2 years from the date on which the claimant knew or should have known about the injury, or 4 years from the date of the alleged act or omission that caused the injury, whichever occurs first. 

However, there are exceptions and nuances to these time limits, so it’s crucial to consult with a qualified attorney who is familiar with Illinois medical malpractice laws to understand how the statute of limitations applies to your specific case.

How Long Does It Take To Receive Compensation For A Surgical Error Claim?

The time it takes to receive compensation for a surgical error claim can vary widely depending on various factors, including the complexity of the case, the extent of the injuries or damages involved, the willingness of the parties to negotiate a settlement, and the legal procedures involved.

In some cases, a settlement may be reached relatively quickly, resulting in prompt compensation and paid medical bills for the claimant.

But if the case proceeds to litigation, the process can be more protracted, potentially taking several months or even years to resolve. 

Appeals or other post-trial motions may further extend the timeline for receiving compensation. 

Maintain realistic expectations about the timeline for resolving a surgical error claim and to work closely with experienced medical malpractice attorneys who can guide you through the process and advocate for your best interests.

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Definitions And Background Information On Surgical Error Lawsuits

  1. What is considered a surgical error? 

    A surgical error is any preventable mistake or deviation from the standard of care during a surgical procedure, potentially resulting in harm to the patient.

  2. What are the most common surgical errors?

    The most common surgical errors include wrong-site surgery, retained surgical items, anesthesia errors, and postoperative complications.

  3. How long do you have to sue for a surgical error?

    The time limit to sue for a surgical error, known as the statute of limitations, varies by jurisdiction but typically ranges from 1 to 6 years from the date of the incident or discovery of the error.

  4. Can you sue a doctor or surgeon for making a surgical error?

    Yes, you can sue a surgeon for making a surgical error if you believe their actions or omissions deviated from the accepted standard of care, resulting in harm or injury to you.

  5. Can you sue a hospital for a surgical error?

    Yes, you can sue a hospital or health care providers for a surgical error if you believe the hospital’s negligence, such as inadequate staffing, improper training, or failure to maintain proper safety protocols, contributed to the error or caused you harm.

  6. Can you sue an emergency room for a surgical error?

    Yes, you can sue an emergency room for a surgical error if the error occurred within the emergency room setting and was the result of negligence or malpractice on the part of the emergency room staff, including physicians, nurses, or other healthcare providers.

  7. What are surgical error malpractice settlements?

    Surgical error malpractice settlements are financial agreements reached between a patient or their family and the healthcare provider or institution responsible for the error, compensating the patient for damages resulting from the surgical mistake.

  8. What happens if a surgery goes wrong? Can I sue?

    If a surgery goes wrong due to negligence or malpractice, you may have grounds to sue the healthcare provider or institution responsible for the error to seek compensation for damages.

  9. Will a confirmed surgical error automatically lead to a valid legal claim against the health care provider?

    While a confirmed surgical error plays a significant role in establishing a legal claim against a healthcare provider, it does not automatically guarantee a valid claim.

    The claimant must still demonstrate that the error resulted from negligence or malpractice, breached the standard of care, and directly caused harm or injury, which often requires gathering evidence, expert testimony, and legal analysis to support the claim.

  10. If I die as a result of a surgical error, will my claim die with me?

    If you die as a result of a surgical error, your claim may be pursued by your estate or surviving family members through a wrongful death action, depending on the laws and regulations governing such claims in your jurisdiction.

  11. How long do I have to file a lawsuit for a surgical error, and how long is it likely to take before I receive compensation?

    The time limit to file a lawsuit for a surgical error varies by jurisdiction, typically ranging from 1 to 6 years, and the duration until receiving compensation can vary significantly based on factors such as the complexity of the case, negotiations, and potential trial proceedings.

  12. Does Illinois apply any limits on medical malpractice damages?

    Yes, Illinois imposes a cap on non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering, in medical malpractice cases, which was set at $1,000,000. 

    However, this cap does not apply in cases where the plaintiff suffered catastrophic injuries, such as permanent disability or disfigurement, or in cases of wrongful death.

    Additionally, Illinois does not impose caps on economic damages, such as medical expenses and lost income, in medical malpractice lawsuits.

  13. How much can I sue for in a surgical error lawsuit?

    The amount you can sue for in a surgical error lawsuit depends on factors such as the extent of your injuries, the impact on your life, and the specific circumstances of the case. 

    Damages sought may include compensation for medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, disability or disfigurement, and other related losses, with potential limits on non-economic damages depending on the jurisdiction.

  14. What to do if you have suffered due to a surgical error?

    If you’ve suffered due to a surgical error, seek immediate medical attention for any injuries or complications.

    Additionally, if you feel that you have a case, consult with a medical malpractice attorney in your jurisdiction to understand your legal rights and determine if pursuing a claim for compensation & future medical bills is appropriate.

  15. How do you prove a surgical error?

    Proving a surgical error typically involves gathering medical records, obtaining expert testimony, and demonstrating deviations from the standard of care that directly resulted in harm or injury to the patient.

  16. How many surgical mistakes are there per year?

    The number of surgical errors per year is difficult to determine precisely due to variations in reporting practices, definitions of surgical errors, and differences in healthcare systems worldwide.

    However, studies and estimates suggest that surgical mistakes occur in 0.5% to 1% of all surgeries performed.

  17. My doctor & medical team made a surgical error. Now what?

    If you believe your doctor made a surgical error, it’s important to prioritize your health and seek immediate medical attention for any complications or injuries. 

    Next, consider consulting with a medical malpractice attorney in your area who can evaluate your case, help you understand your legal options, and guide you through the process of pursuing a claim for compensation if appropriate. 

    Keep detailed records of your medical treatment and any relevant information related to the anesthesia error to support your potential claim.

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Find Out If You Have A Surgical Error Case In Chicago, Illinois

Do you think you have a medical malpractice lawsuit based on a surgical error or mistake that occurred in Illinois?

If you are located in Chicago or the surrounding areas, contact our Chicago surgical error attorneys at Chicago Medical Malpractice Lawyers.

Book a free case evaluation with our surgical error attorneys today.