Central DuPage Hospital is part of Northwestern Medicine, which is connected to Northwestern University. Central DuPage Hospital’s commitment to patient safety recently earned it an A grade from The Leapfrog Group, an independent hospital safety rating organization.
For hospitals, a commitment to patient safety is a must. Yet no hospital provides perfect care at all times. Sometimes, a mistake is harmless or easily corrected. In some cases, however, a mistake has severe or even deadly consequences.
Medical malpractice occurs when a hospital or other healthcare provider gives care that falls below the standard of care. If you suspect medical malpractice harmed you or a family member, reach out to an experienced Illinois medical malpractice lawyer to learn more.
How do I know if I was injured by medical malpractice?
Medical malpractice cases are evaluated according to the “standard of care.” The standard of care is the care that a “reasonably prudent medical professional” would have provided in the same situation. When the care a patient actually receives falls below the standard of care, the hospital or healthcare professional who provided it may be liable for negligence.
In a hospital malpractice case, the first thing an injured person and their lawyer must do is demonstrate that the standard of care was violated. Then, the injured person and their lawyer must show that the negligence caused the injured person’s injuries or illness.
In some cases, causation is easy to demonstrate. In other cases, proving that a hospital’s negligence caused harm can be more complicated. Medical malpractice lawyers specialize in understanding cause and effect and in explaining the relationship to a court.
The injured person and their lawyer must also show that the injuries caused damages that a court can address. Unfortunately, courts cannot fix every outcome of medical negligence. A court cannot restore a person to health, for instance. Nor can a judge bring a loved one back to life.
Yet courts aren’t helpless to protect injured patients or their families, either. If a hospital is found to have breached the standard of care in a way that caused harm, a court may order the hospital to compensate the injured person or their family for losses like:
- Medical bills for help required to treat the injury caused by medical negligence,
- Lost wages, if the injured person lost time from work due to the harm,
- Compensation for pain and suffering, loss of care and companionship, and other losses that aren’t easily measured,
- Funeral and burial expenses, if a family member paid the ultimate price for medical negligence.
Every medical malpractice lawyer protects their client as if the case will go to trial. Yet many cases don’t go that far.
What should I do if I suspect medical malpractice?
If you believe medical malpractice harmed you or a family member, talk to an experienced Illinois medical malpractice lawyer as soon as possible.
Illinois law sets a time limit, or “statute of limitations,” on filing a medical malpractice claim in the state. In Illinois, your medical malpractice claim must be filed within two years of the date you knew or reasonably should have known of the injury. Even under the state’s “statute of repose,” this time period extends to only four years. Special rules apply for people who are injured before they turn 18 years old. Your lawyer can help ensure that your case is filed before any deadlines expire.
What should I expect in a medical malpractice case?
Most people are familiar with doctor’s offices and hospitals. Yet many people have never been involved in a court case before.
If you decide to pursue a medical malpractice claim in Illinois, you can expect your case to follow a few basic steps.
Choosing a lawyer. Look for a lawyer with experience handling hospital malpractice cases and a track record of success for their clients. Choose a lawyer who answers your questions in a way that you understand. And always read an agreement carefully before you sign – especially the part that explains how your lawyer receives payment for their work.
Filing a claim. Your lawyer will handle the filing of any necessary paperwork in court. Once you’ve chosen a lawyer, you can direct insurers, claim managers, and other parties related to your claim to talk to the lawyer – not to you. Your lawyer will handle these steps so that you can focus on healing and on your family.
Gathering information. The “discovery” phase of a malpractice case involves your lawyer, the hospital, and any other parties gathering and exchanging evidence. The goal is to determine which parts of the case are actual issues that need to be argued in court.
Based on what the discovery reveals, your lawyer may also seek to negotiate a settlement for you at this time. The final decision to accept or reject a settlement offer belongs to you.
Going to trial. Many hospital malpractice cases in Illinois never go to trial. Instead, the parties reach a settlement that they can both accept.
If your case goes to trial, your lawyer will build a strong argument, based on evidence, on your behalf. The other side will also present evidence and arguments. A judge or jury will hear the evidence and make a decision, called a “verdict.”
Illinois medical malpractice rules can be complex. Applying them to a specific case can be even more challenging. A lawyer’s experience and support can be essential – both for your legal success and for your peace of mind.
Who can help me with my claim?
Whether you’re just beginning to suspect that medical negligence caused harm or you are certain you want to file a claim, it’s not too late to speak to an experienced Illinois hospital malpractice lawyer.
When you call the team at Briskman Briskman & Greenberg, you’ll speak to one of our lawyers. We will do our best to answer your questions and explain your options. Our goal is to ensure that you feel confident about the decision you make for yourself and your family – whether that decision is to file a hospital malpractice claim or not. To learn more, reach out to us today.