Medical Malpractice

Medical Standard of Care

Did you seek medical help only to get worse? When you go to the emergency room or see a doctor for an ongoing problem, you want help. You’re asking the doctor to give you their attention and the best treatment available. But far too often, the doctor’s or hospital’s behavior isn’t what it should be. Many instances of carelessness go unnoticed. But in your situation, it led to your condition getting worse or a new injury.

Contact a medical malpractice attorney after being injured by a negligent doctor. We’ll talk with you about the medical standard of care in Illinois and how to prove medical malpractice. You can reach Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. at (312) 236-2900 or through our online form. We offer free, no-risk consultations.

What Is a Standard of Care?

A standard of care is an objective rule about how someone is meant to behave in a situation. A person’s conduct or failure to act could violate a standard of care and make them liable for any injuries they cause. The standard that applies to a person depends on the situation and their role. Professionals have a standard of care toward their clients or patients that differs from a motorist’s ordinary standard of care.

Illinois’ Medical Standard of Care

All professionals in Illinois must use the same degree of knowledge, skill, and ability as an ordinarily careful professional would exercise under similar circumstances. Another way to put the rule is that a doctor must have and use the knowledge, skill, and care ordinarily used by a reasonably careful doctor.

This standard of care compares professionals in the same field. A cardiologist must use the same degree of knowledge, skill, and ability that a reasonably careful cardiologist would use, while a dentist must use the same knowledge, skill, and ability as another dentist.

Who Does the Standard Apply to?

Illinois’ professional standard of care applies to all types of health care professionals, including doctors (M.D. and D.O.), specialists, dentists, and nurses.

What Defines “Reasonably Careful”?

Whether an action is something a reasonably careful doctor would do is a question for the jury. The law doesn’t define what actions are reasonable or not since this depends on the circumstances. There are infinite situations doctors can encounter. In each, they have to use their education and experience to make the best possible decision for their patients. The jury has to decide if the doctor did or didn’t make the best possible decision.

Illinois’ Health Care Institution Standard of Care

Health care institutions, like hospitals and clinics, also have a standard of care. They have to do what other reasonably careful institutions would do under the circumstances. The law doesn’t say what is or isn’t reasonable. It’s up to you to provide evidence regarding what is reasonable or unreasonable for a hospital or other facility under the circumstances. Then, the jury has to review the evidence and decide.

A Violation of the Standard of Care Is Negligence

If a doctor’s actions or failure to act did not align with what a reasonably careful doctor in that area of practice would do, then they are negligent. A violation of a professional standard of care is more commonly known as malpractice. But to recover compensation, you have to prove more than a violation of the standard of care. The doctor’s negligence has to directly cause you harm, too.

Proving a Violation of the Medical Standard of Care

It is up to the jury to decide whether the doctor or other medical professional in your case violated the standard of care. You want to provide evidence that the professional didn’t use the degree of knowledge, skill, and care they should have. The best way to do this is to show the jury what a reasonably careful doctor would have done under the circumstances is expert testimony. You want at least one doctor who practices in the same area of medicine to testify regarding what would have been the appropriate thing to do under the circumstances.

Expert testimony is essential for your claim, not only to prove your allegations but also to have a valid lawsuit. Illinois law requires you to consult a qualified health care professional about your claims unless it would mean you couldn’t file the lawsuit before the statute of limitations ran.

Your medical malpractice attorney also might put forth evidence regarding approved methodologies or recommendations by respected medical organizations. You might be able to show that your doctor didn’t adhere to the recommended best practices that applied to your situation.

Not All Complications Are a Breach of the Standard of Care

A tough aspect of medical malpractice claims is that not all side effects or complications are the result of negligence. Medicine is a science, but it’s not perfect. Even when doctors and other health care professionals uphold the standard of care and do everything right, you can experience a negative outcome. An initial diagnosis might be incorrect, a treatment might not be effective, or you might react poorly to a prescription.

Just because you experienced a complication doesn’t mean your doctor was negligent. That’s why it’s critical that you talk with a medical malpractice attorney if you suspect negligence. You need a professional analysis of whether your doctor violated the medical standard of care or not. If there’s evidence to support a medical malpractice case, then an attorney can represent you in a claim against the doctor and their employer.

Do You Have Questions About Medical Malpractice?

If you believe you’ve been the victim of medical negligence in Illinois, contact Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. We have years of experience investigating and analyzing medical malpractice allegations. We’ll carefully review the doctor and hospital’s conduct and determine whether there’s evidence of a violation of the medical standard of care. If we believe you have a valid claim, we’ll talk with you about moving forward with a medical malpractice lawsuit.

To schedule your free consultation, use our online form or call (312) 236-2900.

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