Medical malpractice is when a doctor or healthcare specialist causes harm to a patient by failing to perform their medical duties competently.
Medical malpractice laws vary by state and are guided by general principles. There are also different sets of rules that apply to numerous medical malpractice cases. This detailed article guides you on when you should sue for malpractice and hire a medical malpractice attorney.
What Do You Need for Your Malpractice Claim?
If you are thinking of suing for medical malpractice or hiring a malpractice lawyer in Chicago, you require the following basics for your claim:
Proof That There Was a Doctor-Patient Relationship
You must demonstrate that you and the doctor you are suing had a physician-patient relationship and that you met the doctor and interacted on medical grounds. You cannot, for example, sue a doctor you overheard giving misinformation to another person elsewhere. However, you can prove a doctor-patient relationship occurred if the doctor met and treated you.
Proof That the Doctor Was Negligent
You cannot sue a doctor simply because you are dissatisfied with your treatment or the results. Instead, you must prove that the doctor made a mistake in your diagnosis or treatment. To sue for malpractice, you must demonstrate that the doctor harmed you due to incompetence. In this case, the incompetence must be an act that a competent doctor would not have done under similar circumstances.
A medical negligence claim frequently concerns whether the doctor was reasonably skilled and cautious when executing their duty. Every state, including Illinois, requires a patient to present a medical expert detailing the proper medical care standard to prove that there was negligence. This also elaborates on how the doctor in question deviated from this standard.
Proof That the Doctor’s Negligence Caused Your Injury
Many medical malpractice cases affect patients who are already ailing or injured, making it hard to distinguish whether the treatment administered by the doctor was the one that caused them harm. If, for instance, a colon cancer patient dies during treatment, it is difficult to determine whether the patient died of the colon cancer illness or due to medical malpractice. Therefore, you must demonstrate that the damages you suffered occurred due to the doctor’s negligence when it comes to medical malpractice cases.
You may manage to prove that the doctor acted below expected medical care standards. You, however, cannot sue the doctor without clearly showing how the doctor’s malpractice directly affected you.
Medical malpractice can affect you in the following ways, and you can use these ways to prove that the doctor’s actions caused you direct harm.
- physical discomfort
- lost employment and earning capacity
- mental agony
- additional medical expenses
Requirements for Medical Malpractice Cases
Medical malpractice is governed by different rules depending on the jurisdiction.
Here are the basic malpractice rules you should understand:
- You Must File Your Case as Soon as Possible After the Injury. Most state laws require that you file a medical malpractice claim within six months to two years after the incident. This period of case filing is known as the “statute of limitations.” Failure to file your lawsuit within the legal time limit leads to the dismissal of the case even though all your claims are right. The state also influences when the timer begins to tick. For example, there are states where the clock starts ticking when the negligent act occurs, while in others, it begins ticking when the patient discovers the injury.
- Special Review Panels for Medical Malpractice. There is a medical malpractice panel in Chicago, Illinois, where patients are first expected to submit their malpractice claims. This expert panel listens to arguments and testimonies, examines the evidence, and finally determines whether there was medical malpractice. A malpractice review panel decision does not substitute an actual medical malpractice lawsuit and cannot award you any damages. It is, however, a stage that the patient must go through before going to court. After that, the review panel presents the findings in court, and courts often use the panel’s findings to determine whether a case should proceed to trial.
- Damage Awards are Limited. In Illinois, the law limits the amount of money a medical malpractice patient can be awarded due to malpractice.
- Requirements for Special Notice. Before filing any malpractice claim, some states require the patient to provide the doctor with notice of the claim in a basic description form.
- Expert Witnesses. Expert testimony from a qualified person is important in a medical malpractice case. The expert testimony or an expert affidavit is presented during the malpractice review panel sessions before the trial begins. Different states have different regulations on the qualifications of a person who can give expert medical testimony.
In most cases, however, this person should be a professional in the medical field at hand. Some cases, however, do not require expert testimony, for instance, when a surgeon leaves a surgical towel inside a patient after surgery.
Contact a Malpractice Lawyer for Legal Aid in Chicago, Illinois
Various rules regulate medical malpractice in Illinois. When presenting your case, your proof must clearly show that you had met the doctor in question, that the doctor was incompetent when treating you, and that the treatment offered harmed you. Get a professional medical malpractice lawyer to guide you through this delicate legal battle.