Identifying Medical Malpractice in Chicago | Staver
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Identifying Medical Malpractice in Chicago

Written by Jared Staver

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Jared Staver is a Personal Injury Lawyer based in Chicago, Illinois and has been practicing law for over 20 years.

Jared Staver

CATEGORY: Medical Malpractice

When a negligent doctor harms a patient, they may recover compensation through a medical malpractice claim or lawsuit. But, identifying medical malpractice can be difficult, especially if you aren’t extremely knowledgeable on Illinois medical laws.

How do you know if you’ve been a victim of medical malpractice? When can you take legal action against a healthcare provider? Where is the line drawn between a bad experience and medical malpractice?

Learn more about recognizing medical malpractice, the requirements for filing a claim or lawsuit, and how an experienced Chicago medical malpractice lawyer can help.

What Is Medical Malpractice?

Medical malpractice is a legal claim that a patient can bring against a medical professional or facility whose negligence or recklessness caused the patient harm. In cases where medical malpractice causes a wrongful death, surviving family members of the deceased patient may pursue compensation on their loved one’s behalf.

Examples of medical malpractice in Chicago include:

  • Failure to diagnose
  • Misdiagnosis
  • Surgical errors
  • Misuse of anesthesia
  • Failure to properly sterilize tools
  • Improper medication or dosage
  • Premature discharge
  • Sexual misconduct
  • Inadequate follow-up care

What Are My Rights as a Patient in Chicago?

The Medical Patient Rights Act explains what you are entitled to from your healthcare provider in Illinois. As a medical patient, some of the many rights you have include:

  • Informed Consent – You have the right to be informed by your provider about the potential risks, complications, benefits, and chances of success before you agree to undergo treatment.
  • Privacy – You have the right to confidentiality and privacy protection. You have the right to establish certain conditions under which your information can be disclosed.
  • Involvement – You have the right to be involved in every aspect of your health care. You even have the right to refuse treatments for any reason.
  • Billing Transparency – You have the right to ask questions and get a full explanation of your medical bills before your payment. You can ask for an itemized list of each charge and its meaning.
  • Comprehensive Care – You have the right to receive reasonable care consistent with medical standards and best practices. You can even ask the names of everyone involved in your care.

Illinois medical professionals guilty of violating these and other patients’ rights will be penalized under 410 ILCS 50/4. Note that a patient rights violation does not necessarily constitute malpractice.

However, if you sustain injuries because of the violation, you may be able to bring a medical malpractice claim against the negligent or reckless party.

Warning Signs of Medical Malpractice

Not every questionable action or bad decision made by a doctor is considered medical malpractice. Mistakes happen, even in the medical field. Errors don’t always warrant consequences.  You shouldn’t ignore your provider’s behaviors or any suspicions you may have.

Recognizing the possible signs of medical malpractice can be challenging. Some indicators that could suggest you are a victim of malpractice include:

  • Your treatment isn’t working as predicted, or it seems inappropriate for your condition.
  • Your provider didn’t explain the potential risks and complications of a treatment.
  • You don’t feel involved in the decision-making on your healthcare treatments.
  • Your provider responds to your questions with vague, contradictory, or rude responses.
  • You feel like your provider dismisses your health concerns.
  • The healthcare facility is extremely understaffed.
  • You are diagnosed with a serious disease after minimal, basic testing.
  • You receive a second opinion that differs from your provider’s diagnosis.

While they don’t automatically count as malpractice, these and other “red flags” could signal that your provider or facility is potentially negligent.

In the end, it is crucial that you trust your gut if you have any suspicions about a healthcare provider’s conduct. Consult with an experienced lawyer to determine whether you have a valid medical malpractice claim.

How Do I Know If I Have a Valid Malpractice Case?

Medical malpractice can be incredibly difficult to prove. Not only are providers partially protected by insurance, but there are also specific elements you must prove to file a claim or lawsuit against them.

There are four main elements of a medical malpractice case. If you can establish the following, you may be able to pursue a claim or suit against a physician or other healthcare provider in Illinois:

1. There Was a Provider-Patient Relationship

First, you must establish that a provider-patient relationship existed between you and the individual you are pursuing a claim against. This means the provider directly participated in your treatment, and you were officially a patient in their care.

You cannot pursue a medical malpractice claim if there was no provider-patient relationship. If a physician gives you informal advice when you aren’t seeking treatment or they haven’t accepted you as a patient, you cannot sue them for medical malpractice.

2. Your Provider Breached the Standard of Care

The medical standard of care is an important factor in malpractice cases. It is used to establish negligence.

Under the standard of care, all medical professionals must exercise the same degree of knowledge, skill, and ability as their counterparts would under similar circumstances. For example, a cardiologist must provide the same level of care that any reasonably careful cardiologist would in their position.

When building a medical malpractice claim, you must prove your provider breached the standard of care. This element often requires expert testimony from medical professionals in the same field as your provider. They can attest to your physician’s negligence or recklessness.

3. You Were Injured Due to Their Behavior

You will need to prove that your provider’s breach of the standard of care directly caused you harm. This may also require medical expert testimony. Other professionals can support your case, explaining how your provider’s negligence contributed to your injuries.

4. Your Injury Resulted in Damages

Finally, a medical malpractice claim involves proving your injuries resulted in damages. Damages are losses you’ve incurred and can be economic or non-economic. For example, you might have suffered any of the following damages as a result of medical malpractice:

  • Lost wages.
  • Diminished earning capacity.
  • Childcare expenses.
  • Household maintenance fees.
  • Medical expenses.
  • Loss of consortium.
  • Diminished quality of life.
  • Physical pain and suffering.
  • Mental anguish.
  • Reputational damage.
  • Disfigurement and scarring.

Contact a Chicago Medical Malpractice Attorney Today

Identifying medical malpractice in Chicago can be challenging to do alone. Pursuing a claim without legal help can result in significantly lower compensation and undue stress for you and your loved ones. If you suspect your healthcare provider’s negligence or recklessness resulted in your harm, the trusted Chicago medical malpractice lawyers at Staver are here to help.

Contact Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C., today at (312) 236-2900. You can schedule a free evaluation about your case and learn how our team can help you pursue compensation through an effective medical malpractice claim.

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(312) 236-2900
(312) 236-2900
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