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Wrongful Death & Medical Malpractice

Medical providers hold a unique position of trust. We share with them the most intimate details of our lives and health and rely upon them to make us well when we’re unable to do that for ourselves. We trust them to be experts and to have the right answers when we’re in sick or in pain. In some circumstances, we literally put our lives in their hands.

When a medical provider makes a mistake or fails to provide the level of care he or she is supposed to give, that breach of trust can have devastating results. A study published in the Journal of Patient Safety in September 2013 found that anywhere from 210,000 to 400,000 people die in the United States each year as the result of preventable medical malpractice. That’s hundreds of thousands of people leaving behind shocked family members grieving a loss that could have been avoided.

What is Medical Malpractice?

Malpractice happens when a doctor, nurse, hospital, nursing home, or other health care provider harms a patient by violating the standard of care for that patient’s treatment. The standard of care generally is the course of action that a reasonable medical provider would have provided under the same circumstances.

Some circumstances that might be considered malpractice include:

  • Misdiagnosis of a medical condition
  • Failure to diagnose medical condition
  • Failure to treat a medical condition
  • Providing the wrong treatment, such as the wrong medication, for a condition
  • An unreasonable delay in treating a condition

What You Can Do

When your loved one dies because of a health provider’s malpractice, Illinois law allows a representative for the surviving spouse or next of kin to file a wrongful death lawsuit against a person, corporation, or any other entity that may bear liability. The Wrongful Death Act at 740 ILCS 180/ says you may be able to recover damages such as:

  • Economic losses, including lost wages
  • Loss of your relationship with your loved one
  • Loss of services provided by your loved one in your household or for your family
  • Grief and suffering

Not every instance of malpractice is something for which a patient or the patient’s family can recover damages. You have to be able to prove that harm was suffered and that the harm was caused by the malpractice.

How a Lawyer Can Help

Medical malpractice cases are complex and can involve a lot of technical information. In Illinois, to file a lawsuit alleging medical malpractice requires sworn written testimony known as an affidavit by another medical provider saying that the provider you’re suing violated the standard of care. A lawyer experienced in handling wrongful death cases involving medical malpractice will be well-versed in who the leading experts are in the particular field of medicine to question and how to find a qualified expert to provide an affidavit in your case.

A good medical malpractice lawyer will know how to gather all of the relevant information, including medical records, and how to read and evaluate documents to determine the likelihood of a beneficial outcome in your case.

Our Chicago wrongful death lawyers can negotiate with insurance companies, hospitals, or any other responsible parties to try to obtain a settlement without going to court. If a lawsuit is filed, the lawyer can represent your interests at the trial and seek the best possible result for you. Please call us at for a free consultation.