medical malpractice attorney Chicago

Medical Malpractice Attorney Chicago


TorHoerman Law is experienced in helping those injured through no fault of their own in Chicago and surrounding areas.

Top Reasons for Medical Malpractice Lawsuit Were Failure to Diagnose or Delayed Diagnosis

Have you suffered an injury or loss due to a healthcare provider’s negligent actions?

We seek aid in healthcare professionals expecting safe treatment, accurate diagnoses, and quality care. But sometimes that’s just not the case. Misdiagnosis, inadequate care, and sub-standard treatment do occur, but malpractice laws protect patients from these incidents. If you believe that you have faced any of these situations, you can contact a medical malpractice lawyer to help you through the situation.

“Medical malpractice refers to professional negligence by a healthcare professional or provider in which treatment provided was substandard, and caused harm, injury or death to a patient. The error may have been because nothing was done (an act of omission), or a negligent act.”

Not all medical mistakes are considered malpractice. Doctors are human, they are expected to make some mistakes. To be considered malpractice, the situation must meet two criteria:

  • The healthcare provider performed under the expected standard of care.
  • The healthcare provider’s medical negligence or acts of omission resulted in a valid, serious injury.

The first step to any medical malpractice case is establishing an expected standard for care. To do so, your medical malpractice lawyer will refer to a third party medical professional who reviews the incident and determines whether malpractice occurred.

An experienced medical malpractice attorney Chicago from TorHoerman Law can help you navigate the legal process.

 

Medical Malpractice in Illinois

Analysis over a 10 year time period showed that public hospitals in Illinois paid victims’ families more than $180 million in wrongful death settlements, according to the Better Government Association. The analysis focused on problem areas at public hospitals – human error and lacking procedures causing debilitating injuries and deaths of patients.

In 2018, that number grew to $282.2 million, a 23.81% increase since 2014, according to Capson Insurance.

According to the True Cost of Healthcare, the number of medical malpractice claims in Illinois has dropped since 2010, but total costs of claims filed have risen dramatically.

Illinois Standards for Filing Deadline

In Illinois, you must file a medical malpractice lawsuit within two years of when you became aware of or should have been aware of, a healthcare provider’s negligent action. If the malpractice occurred to a patient under the age of 18, the statute of limitations is eight years, but a claim cannot be filed after the individual’s 22nd birthday.

Illinois Statute of Repose

Illinois “statute of repose” states that regardless of when you discovered that you were harmed by medical negligence, you cannot file a lawsuit if more than four years have passed.

Damages Awarded in Illinois

There is no set damage cap on medical malpractice claims in the State of Illinois which means a larger settlement may be sought, and potentially awarded, compared to other states. But, this was not always the case. In 2005, a damage cap was created in medical negligence cases. In 2010, the Illinois Supreme Court ruled the damage cap was unconstitutional thus establishing a basis for plaintiffs to receive the full compensation they are entitled to when harmed by the negligence of another.

However, Illinois does follow the “modified comparative negligence” rule. Essentially, if the plaintiff is found to be partially at fault for the malpractice, they can only receive the awarded settlement minus the percentage they were responsible for. In this case, 20% is used as an example, the plaintiff will only receive 80% of the awarded settlement because of their responsibility for 20% of the malpractice incident. Illinois is one of 22 states that prevents a plaintiff from recovering any amount of damages if found to be at fault for more than 50% of the incident in question.

 

Common Causes of Medical Malpractice

The point of contention for a medical malpractice case is whether a medical professional performed below the expected standard of care. If you believe that a medical professional has treated you below the expected standard, acted with medical negligence, or caused you further harm from treatment, you may be entitled to compensation for any damages you have incurred.

What constitutes medical malpractice?

  • Failure to recognize serious illness resulting in delayed diagnosis or misdiagnosis
  • Causing internal bleeding
  • Unexpected damage to the body during surgery
  • Surgical errors
  • Improper treatment
  • Birth injuries during a delivery
  • Premature death
  • Pharmaceutical error
  • Defective medication

Malpractice is not limited to just doctors; nurses, aids, pharmacists, hospitals, and even pharmaceutical companies can all be held accountable for malpractice. It is important to recognize the correct party at fault before taking any legal action for adverse effects that you suffered from medical care. If you have questions about who the correct party at fault is, your medical malpractice attorney Chicago can help to determine this by looking at evidence related to your claim.

 

Can I Sue My Doctor for Misdiagnosis?

A common question that we receive is whether a client can sue their doctor for misdiagnosis. In short, yes you can sue your doctor for misdiagnosis. However, this is a circumstantial situation. You must ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Did my doctor provide an improper diagnosis, and if corrected, was the mistake corrected within a reasonable period of time?
  2. Did the misdiagnosis directly result in damages such as increased medical costs, adverse health risks from medical treatment, loss of opportunity to properly address the actual medical issue, etc.?
  3. Did my doctor provide a secondhand opinion on my diagnosis? Did I seek a second-hand opinion, and if so, did the second opinion provide a correct diagnosis?

 

Birth Injuries Caused By Medical Negligence

According to the CDC, six out of every 1,000 births in the United States results in an injury. Injuries during birth can be disabling, even deadly, for the mother, child(ren), or both. In a medical malpractice claim, the lawsuit places negligence on the medical provider for acting carelessly, and that carelessness directly results in the injury or death.

While modern medicine and technology have transformed the healthcare industry, birth injuries can still be caused by human error. The most common injuries that occur are:

  • Preeclampsia occurs during pregnancy, but if not treated quickly and properly, it can lead to serious complications for the mother.
  • Erb’s palsy often occurs when “an infant’s neck is stretched to the side during a difficult delivery.”
  • Breech birth can cause an increase in birth defects.
  • Shoulder dystocia occurs when the infant’s shoulders because lodged in the mother’s pelvic area which can cause nerve damage and pain, claw-like hand appearance, and light paralysis of the affected limb of the baby.
  • Forceps injuries can occur during a type of assisted vaginal delivery known as forceps delivery. If not done correctly, injuries to your baby can occur.
  • Birth asphyxia often affects a baby’s brain due to the deprivation oxygen during the birth process.
  • Negligent c-sections can cause an array of birth injuries including fetal lacerations, infant breathing problems, among others. Injuries to the mother, such as infections, surgical injuries, or even anesthesia injuries, can occur. In 2010, more than 32% of deliveries in the United States were by C-section. It is important to discuss C-section safety with your doctor prior to the birth of your baby.

Those are only the most common injuries associated with medical negligence during labor and delivery. Unfortunately, there are many other injuries that can be caused by human error.

 

Pharmacy Errors

The pharmaceutical industry is now one of the largest American commerce industries in the market, serving the nearly 60% of the population now taking prescription drugs, daily. With the sheer volume of prescriptions being filled, pharmacy mistakes are inevitable. Pharmacy error is just like any other form of malpractice, and pharmacists can be held accountable for any damages that they cause from acts of omission.

As the pharmaceutical industry, has expanded, pharmacy mergers have become very common. Patient care has taken a back-seat to the focus on moving as many prescriptions as possible as the handful of active pharmacy corporations compete. Unlike the past, when your local pharmacist was familiar with his customer base and their medical histories, most pharmacists today do not know their customers, some never even meeting the people whose prescriptions they fill in person. These factors have led to an increase in pharmacist errors.

 

Common Pharmaceutical Mistakes

Just like any healthcare professional, pharmacists have a duty of care owed to their customer. It is their legal obligation to correctly fill your prescription in order to avoid:

  • Allergic reactions or other side effects – Pharmacists are expected to check your medical history in order to ensure there will be no adverse effects caused by your medication.
  • Drug interactions – Pharmacists have a duty to cross-reference any current prescriptions to avoid drug interactions.
  • Medication mix-ups – Pharmacists have a duty to provide the correct medication, including brand and dosage.

Pharmacists can be held accountable just like any other healthcare provider. The same rules and systems apply for claims against pharmacists as malpractice claims. The main attributing factor is making a direct and proximate connection between your injury and the pharmacist’s act of omission.

 

Can I Receive Compensation for the Injury I Sustained in a Medical Malpractice?

When a person, or party, is found responsible for causing an individual’s injury(s) because of medical negligence, that responsible party will then be held liable for paying any and all damages.

According to Investopedia, “Compensatory damages is money awarded to a plaintiff to compensate for damages, injury, or another incurred loss. Compensatory damages are awarded in civil court cases where loss has occurred as a result of the negligence or unlawful conduct of another party.”

You may be wondering, “What will the compensation cover?” This is a common question, but the answer varies based on the individual claim. Damages can include everything from medical bills to wages lost during your recovery time to emotional distress to the cost of prescription medication used to treat the injury to the cost of rehabilitation expenses.

Compensatory damages differ from punitive damages, though. Punitive damages “may compensate over and above any loss or damage incurred and are meant to provide an incentive against repeating the act that caused the plaintiff’s loss or damages.”

As part of your claim, your medical malpractice attorney Chicago will outline all of the damages you incurred as a result of your injury. If filing a lawsuit on behalf of another, the lawyer will calculate damages lost on their behalf, as well.

Most medical malpractice lawsuits will settle with the other party before going to trial. By some estimates, 80% to 92% of cases do settle prior to the scheduled trial.

 

Medical Malpractice Attorney Chicago, Illinois

At TorHoerman Law, we fight for those injured through no fault of their own. When you sought treatment for an illness or injury, you expected the best care possible. If you underwent surgery, you expected to awake better than you were before. In these cases, you expected to be treated with the utmost care, a standard meant to be upheld by all medical professionals. If you were not treated to that standard of care, you may have a valid medical malpractice claim.

If you are wondering what your next step should be, it is important to contact a medical malpractice law firm. Even if it is just for a case evaluation, a law firm can help you determine what damages you may be eligible to receive or investigate and determine fault. A medical malpractice lawyer can also help you put together a strong case, a very complex task for malpractice lawsuits.

Contact TorHoerman Law today to talk to our medical malpractice attorney Chicago team. Our office can be reached at 1-888-508-6752 or by email at info@thlawyer.com.

 

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For additional practice areas in Chicago, IL, see the following pages:

References

Belk, David. "Illinois Medical Malpractice Summary and Statistics." True Cost of Healthcare, True Cost of Healthcare, truecostofhealthcare.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/Illinois-Malpractice.pdf.

"Birth Asphyxia." Seattle Children's Hospital, www.seattlechildrens.org/conditions/airway/birth-asphyxia/.

"Breech Presentation - Breech Births." American Pregnancy Association, 29 Mar. 2016, americanpregnancy.org/labor-and-birth/breech-presentation/.

"Erb's Palsy (Brachial Plexus Birth Palsy) - OrthoInfo - AAOS." OrthoInfo, American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, orthoinfo.aaos.org/en/diseases--conditions/erbs-palsy-brachial-plexus-birth-palsy.

"Forceps Delivery." Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 15 Sept. 2018, www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/forceps-delivery/about/pac-20394207.

Hopkins, Madison, and Brett Chase. "The Cost of Malpractice Cases at Chicago's Two Public Hospitals: $160 Million-and Counting." Crain's Chicago Business, Crain Communications, Inc., 21 Dec. 2016, www.chicagobusiness.com/article/20161221/NEWS03/161229996/malpractice-costs-cook-s-stroger-university-of-illinois-hospitals-millions-bga.

Kagan, Julia. "Compensatory Damages." Investopedia, Investopedia, 18 Feb. 2018, www.investopedia.com/terms/c/compensatory-damages.asp.

Levy, Sandra, and Leslie Kane. "Medscape Malpractice Report 2017." Medscape, Medscape, 15 Nov. 2017, www.medscape.com/slideshow/2017-malpractice-report-6009206#17.

WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY

OUR HIGH ETHICAL STANDARDS HAVE NOT GONE UNRECOGNIZED

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Q. If I signed a consent form, does that mean I waive my rights?

A. Signing a consent form does not automatically waive your rights to a medical malpractice claim. Regardless of the information included in the consent form, substandard care is never acceptable. But, even then, the consent form may not have included all of the necessary information needed to evaluate the risks of the procedure or it may have been signed without a proper explanation. Regardless of the nature, it is important to know that a consent form does not waive your rights and you should talk to a medical malpractice attorney for further instruction.

Q. How much will it cost to file a medical malpractice lawsuit?

A. At TorHoerman Law, we operate on a contingency basis. Basically, you do not pay the firm until your case is won. If you have any questions about how contingency works or questions related to your medical malpractice claim, contact our office for a free, no-obligation consultation.

Q. Does someone who is not satisfied with the outcome of surgery have a medical malpractice claim?

A. There is no guarantee of medical results, and unsuccessful or unexpected results do not necessarily constitute medical malpractice. While an outcome may not be what you expected, it may not be a viable malpractice claim, and your legal team can help you navigate the legal process to determine further.

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