December 15, 2016 Medical Malpractice Lawyer Helping Clients Throughout the Chicago Area Medical malpractice, also known as medical negligence, can take many different forms and can occur in many different healthcare fields. When plaintiffs suffer injuries as a result of a healthcare provider’s negligent behavior, that injured plaintiff deserves to seek compensation for her injuries. Should you worry about the risks of medical malpractice when you visit your physician or enter the hospital for a routine procedure? According to a recent report from Johns Hopkins Medicine, medical errors are currently the third-leading cause of death in the country, and about 10 percent of all fatalities in the U.S. are the result of a medical mistake. As such, it is extremely important to understand how medical malpractice may have played a role in your recent personal injury. If you believe you sustained an injury caused by medical negligence, you should discuss your case with an experienced Chicago medical malpractice lawyer as soon as possible. You will need to file your claim within a certain period of time to maintain your eligibility for damages, and we can help you to get started today. Understanding the Elements of a Medical Malpractice Claim Medical malpractice laws vary from state to state, but generally the core elements of a claim tend to be similar across states. Under Illinois law (735 ILCS 5/2-622), a plaintiff must show the following: The physician (or other healthcare provider) owed a duty of care to the plaintiff through a doctor-patient relationship; The physician deviated from the standard of care (which can be proven be showing what the standard of care is among the medical community in that doctor’s area and field); and The plaintiff’s injury resulted from the physician’s deviation from the standard of care. In other words, a medical malpractice claim rests on the plaintiff being able to prove that the healthcare provider did not perform his or her job in a way that lives up to the standards set by other members of the medical community, and because the physician did not live up to that standard of care, the plaintiff suffered an injury. What do we mean when we describe a standard of care among the medical community? Typically, standards of care differ depending upon the geographic area in which the physician practices, as well as the physician’s specialty. So, for instance, the standard of care may be different among cardiologists in the Chicago area as compared with the standard of care among pediatricians. A plaintiff will need to show what the standard of care looks like, and this is often proven through expert testimony. How Long Do I Have to File a Medical Malpractice Claim? It is very important for anyone thinking about filing a medical malpractice claim to initiate a lawsuit as soon as possible. In Illinois, the statute of limitations for a medical negligence lawsuit is governed by 735 ILCS 5/13-212. What is a statute of limitations? In short, it is the amount of time that a plaintiff has—typically from the date of the injury—to file a claim. How long do you have to file a medical malpractice lawsuit? As we mentioned, typically the statute of limitations begins ticking as soon as the injury happens. The statute says that a plaintiff has two years from the date of injury to file a lawsuit. However, medical malpractice cases can look a little bit different from other personal injury issues. Indeed, sometimes a victim of medical malpractice does not know she has been injured until months or years later when, for instance, another doctor discovers that the pain she is experiencing is caused by a sponge that was left inside of her during a previous surgery. Or, for example, a person might not know that a doctor misdiagnosed her until, years later, she receives a proper diagnosis along with a shorter life expectancy as a result of the original doctor’s misdiagnosis. As a result of the nature of malpractice injuries, Illinois law allows a plaintiff to file a claim within two years from the date that she discovered the injury. However, this “discovery rule” still has a four-year statute of repose, which simply means that, if the plaintiff uses the discovery rule to file a claim within two years from the date of discovering the malpractice, she still must file her lawsuit within four years of the date that the alleged incident took place. Common Types of Medical Malpractice We handle a wide variety of medical malpractice claims, including but not limited to: Surgical error; Misdiagnosis; Delayed diagnosis; Medication error; Childbirth injury; and Anesthesia error. Plaintiffs may be able to file a medical malpractice claim against numerous parties, including but not limited to: Surgeon; Physician; Nurse; Hospital staff; Hospital itself; Pharmacist; and Dentist. Contact a Chicago Medical Negligence Lawyer If you sustained an injury caused by a healthcare provider’s negligence, you should discuss your options with an experienced Chicago medical malpractice attorney. A member of our team can speak with you today. Contact the Finn Law Firm for more information.