Close to 90 percent of physicians say that they carefully and actively listen to patients as they describe their symptoms and voice their concerns. But the actual statistics suggest otherwise. According to one study, doctors listen to patients for about eleven seconds before they redirect or interrupt them. This lack of communication is the root of most medical malpractice claims.
Statistics don’t prove negligence. Instead, Rockford medical malpractice attorneys must show that the doctor breached a legal duty, and that violation substantially caused an injury. If that’s the case, compensation may be high in medical malpractice cases. Full compensation is the best way, and usually the only way, to convince negligent doctors to change their behavior and put patient welfare first.
Duty of Care
Most people have a duty of reasonable care. This legal responsibility is based on the Golden Rule (do unto others as you would have them do unto you) which many Illinois youngsters once had to memorize.
Most professionals, such as doctors, lawyers, and accountants, also have a duty of care. Because patients depend entirely on doctors for all their healthcare needs, doctors have a legal duty to exercise reasonable care. They must set aside all other concerns, such as making money and focus on what is best for their patients.
The doctor’s duty of reasonable care may make it difficult for a patient to establish a lack of care. What might only be a random mistake in some contexts may be actionable negligence if a doctor was involved. Furthermore, the doctor’s duty of care needs to put medical malpractice evidence into context for jurors, much like a picture frame enhances a picture’s colors.
Evidence in Medical Malpractice Claims
There are basically two kinds of evidence in a misdiagnosis or other medical malpractice claim. In a nutshell, there’s the big picture and the specific details.
The big picture usually involves the standard of care. For example, if you break your arm, the standard of care typically involves a consultation, examination, X-ray, cast or splint, and follow-up. The standard of care must be determined in the circumstances of each individual case. Doctors at small hospitals or clinics with limited resources may have a somewhat more relaxed standard of care. For example, an MRI may not be required of a small-town practitioner while it may be for a doctor at a large teaching hospital.
Attorneys usually must partner with outside professionals in these situations. An independent doctor, or member of a large medical organization, is usually required to testify about the standard of care in a given case. These experts are often expensive, which makes these cases more difficult to pursue.
Next, there must be evidence of a medical mistake. Since the standard of care depends on the circumstances in each case, almost any mistake could potentially constitute negligence. Furthermore, the victim/plaintiff must be able to connect that mistake to a physical injury.
The statute of limitations, which is usually two years, is sometimes an issue in these cases. For example, if a doctor fails to diagnose cancer, the victim might not realize s/he is sick for several years. Sometimes the delayed discovery rule applies in these situations. Victims often cannot wait to file claims until they know the full extent of their injuries and they connect those injuries to a person’s negligence. That is why it is important to contact an attorney as soon as potential malpractice is suspected. The sooner the better.
Reach Out to a Compassionate Winnebago County Attorney
Medical malpractice victims may be entitled to substantial compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced Rockford medical malpractice lawyer, contact Fisk & Monteleone, Ltd. You have a limited amount of time to act.