Were you injured while being treated or seen by a doctor? Do you suspect that your doctor’s negligence may be to blame? You may be able to file a medical malpractice claim to collect compensation for your injuries.
The best way to receive full compensation is by working with a medical malpractice attorney. An experienced lawyer with Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates can help protect your rights and seek justice on your behalf.
Read on to learn more about this type of claim and how a medical malpractice lawyer in Chicago can help.
What counts as medical malpractice?
Medical malpractice occurs when a doctor, nurse, or other health professional fails to meet a certain standard of care, and that failure or negligence ends up injuring or causing the death of a patient.
The role of negligence
As we’ll discuss below, negligence is a legal concept that determines when and to what extent a party is liable for an injury and associated costs.
Negligence has four parts: duty, breach, causation, and damages. The patient and their attorney must prove these in order to be eligible for compensation. Your attorney can help you apply legal concepts to the unique facts and circumstances of your injury so you can recover the damages you deserve.
To recover compensation for a medical malpractice injury, the patient must prove that substandard or inadequate medical care led to the injury.
Common types of medical malpractice
Below are some of the most common medical malpractice accidents that lead to injury, but it is by no means a complete list.
Diagnosis and misdiagnosis errors can have disastrous effects. For example, when cancer is not effectively diagnosed early on, it can be far more difficult to treat.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) defines a medication error as “any preventable event that may cause or lead to inappropriate medication use or patient harm while the medication is in the control of the healthcare professional, patient, or consumer.”
Medication errors can happen from an incorrect prescription by a doctor, an incorrectly filled prescription by a pharmacist, or handing off of the wrong prescription by a pharmacy technician.
Surgeries are inherently dangerous activities, which means doctors and assistants must follow a very strict standard of care. Surgical errors like wrong-site surgery can occur when they fail to do so.
Medical malpractice is not limited to doctors and nurses – hospital administration may also be held liable for negligence. Hospitals have a duty to provide a safe environment for patients and sufficient resources for employees to do their jobs in a way that meets the standard of care.
What you’ll need to prove
To collect compensation for your medical malpractice injury, you’ll need to prove the source of your injury and the damages that it involves, and then pursue the collection of what you may be entitled.
Fully measuring your damages requires evidence, and your attorney helps you collect the evidence needed to prove your case and collect what you deserve. If your medical malpractice lawyers in Chicago can prove each of the following elements, you may be able to receive damages to cover the costs associated with your injuries.
The first element of negligence is duty, which is an obligation or a relationship that leads to a party being responsible for the injuries of another. For duty to be established, there must be a professional relationship. This means that you must be the patient of a doctor or other medical service provider.
Breach of duty
The duty of a doctor, nurse, or other health professional is to provide you with a quality of service that meets the “standard of care.” When the doctor or health professional fails to meet the standard of care, and their failure causes your injury, they have breached their duty.
The next thing you and your attorney will have to prove is “causation,” or proof that the health professional’s breach of duty directly caused your injury.
Determining causation generally requires expert opinions and follow-up appointments to collect evidence to determine what influenced your injuries.
For example, you were admitted into a hospital for a procedure, and after the procedure, you ended up with a blood infection.
If the infection was caused because you stepped on a rusty nail a week before the procedure, then the injury was not caused by the procedure and no compensation would be available.
However, if the doctor who was tasked with performing the procedure made a mistake and dropped a tainted tool into a wound and caused a blood infection, then they have caused your injury.
Damages are the medical costs associated with your injuries in both the short- and long term.
This includes the immediate bills after your injury like emergency medical care and corrective measures, as well as long-term costs like medication, treatment, and rehabilitation. You and your family should not have to pay any medical costs linked to your malpractice injury.
Beyond medical costs, you are also entitled to compensation for your lost wages and work benefits as well as any impact on your earnings ability in the long term. If your injuries make it so that you cannot return to work, or cannot return to a position that pays as well as before, you are entitled to the difference.
Your damages cover the change in your earnings ability from the time of your injury through your working life.
How much compensation you may receive depends on the severity of your injuries
The amount of your medical damages is determined through follow-up appointments with medical experts who consider the future costs and implications of your present injuries. An occupational expert then takes this medical information and applies it to your ability to work.
Naturally, the more severe an injury, the more intense and costly the treatment. Measuring the amount of damages that you are entitled to requires the scheduling of follow-ups from experts, collection of other evidence, and plugging all this into a claim.
Your claim must be drafted in such a way that if the insurance company refuses to be reasonable, you can still bring a lawsuit to collect on your damages. Your Chicago medical malpractice lawyer from Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates can handle all of this for you.
Deadline for filing a medical malpractice claim in Illinois
To bring a claim for your injuries, you must file it within a certain amount of time. The legal term for this is a “statute of limitations.” In Illinois, the statute of limitations for medical malpractice is generally two years, although there are specific situations where the deadline may be extended.
If you do not bring your medical malpractice claim within this period of time, you lose your ability to ever do so, which means that you and your family will be responsible for covering the costs associated with your injuries.
When you have been injured due to medical malpractice in Illinois, there is a reporting mechanism for your claim through the Medical Malpractice Claims Reporting system.
This report could provide you with useful evidence for the best possible outcome, and your medical malpractice attorney will put it to work on your behalf in order to maximize your settlement.
Your medical malpractice lawyer handles everything for you
Calculating your damages from the injury from the time of the injury through the remainder of your life can be difficult. That’s why it’s important to work with an attorney as soon as possible after your injury; they’ll help ensure that the best possible outcome is achieved.
Your attorney will get to work collecting evidence on your behalf and letting the insurance company know that they will be taking over all communications and negotiations concerning your settlement.
Communicating with insurance
The insurance company has full-time teams of claim analysts and lawyers working to deny your claim if they can or pay you as little as possible. Working with a medical malpractice lawyer ensures that you are not taken advantage of by the insurance company.
Cost of hiring a medical malpractice lawyer in Chicago
Your initial case consultation is free, and if we take your case, you pay nothing out-of-pocket, ever.
Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates takes cases on contingency, which means that we only get paid if we win your case. Our fee is taken from a portion of the earnings that we’ll agree upon before getting started.
Injured by a doctor or other health professional? Call Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates today
Having a Chicago medical malpractice lawyer on your claim means that you can focus on recovering from your injuries and getting your life back in order while your lawyer handles everything else. The dedicated Chicago personal injury lawyers with Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates are standing by to provide a risk-free, cost-free consultation on your case.
Call us at (800) 985-1819 to discuss your injury and explore your options.