Thousands of patients daily rely on their medical professionals to give them the treatments they need. Whether the treatment is surgery, drug therapy, or recommending diagnostic tests, we need our doctors to do their jobs well to keep us safe.
Unfortunately, sometimes medical professionals do their jobs poorly, and patients suffer severe injuries. Medical errors are one of the country’s leading causes of death – approximately 250,000 fatalities annually. If you or a loved one suffers an injury or death, you may be able to file a medical malpractice lawsuit. If the action is successful, you could receive compensation for your injuries and damages.
Please continue reading to find out how to prove medical malpractice. Then, contact the Illinois medical malpractice lawyers at Fisk & Monteleone, if you have questions about your case.
How To Prove Medical Malpractice
States have different laws about what medical malpractice is. However, the general standards for proving medical malpractice are detailed in An Introduction To Medical Malpractice In The United States. Proving medical malpractice in a court of law requires showing the following:
There Was A Doctor-Patient Relationship
This is one of the easiest things to prove. First, you need to show that the medical professional agreed to give treatment or diagnose the illness. After the doctor-patient relationship was established, the physician had a duty of care. Or the doctor must give you a level of care that is competent.
There Was Subpar Medical Care
Next, your Illinois medical malpractice attorney must prove that the medical professional failed to give treatment that met the minimum medical standard. Again, your attorney will probably rely on expert medical testimony to show that the medical care provided was below acceptable standards.
The expert witnesses will illustrate what appropriate medical care would have been in the same circumstances. The witnesses also will describe how specific parts of your treatment were subpar.
There Is A Connection Between Your Injury And the Physician’s Negligence
You also must prove the connection between the doctor’s negligence and your injuries. It is vital to show that the injuries are not due to an underlying medical problem. If the damage was outside the physician’s control, it is not a valid medical malpractice case.
You Have Damages
There can be proof of negligence, but without damages, there is no case. Your attorney must show that you suffered damages because of the medical error. These could be lost earnings, pain and suffering, and medical bills.
The above four elements need to be proven by a preponderance of the evidence. This means you must offer enough evidence to show what you allege is more likely true than false. It is easier to meet this standard than ‘beyond a reasonable doubt’ in a criminal case.
What Are The Types Of Medical Malpractice?
Most cases of medical negligence fall into three categories:
Failure To Diagnose
This happens if the medical professional does not diagnose a current medical condition. For example, a patient with lung cancer is sometimes diagnosed with pneumonia. Unfortunately, it is only after the lung cancer gets worse that the medical problem is found.
Failure To Warn
This means a failure to warn the patient of specific risks. For example, most medical treatments, such as drug administration or surgery, have certain risks that must be disclosed. This is medical malpractice if the doctor does not warn you of the dangers.
This means the physician made an error in treatment that another reasonable doctor would not have. However, proving that malpractice happened in the ER is challenging. In that case, you must show that the ER staff was willing and wanton in disregarding your needs.
Some medical malpractice cases are a combination of the three categories. For example, let’s say your physician did not warn you about the risks of getting addicted to opioids. As a result, they prescribed the drugs, and you got addicted. This could be a medical malpractice case involving negligence and failure to warn.
How A Medical Malpractice Attorney Can Help You
If you think you were a victim of medical malpractice, you may receive compensation. But there are limits to how much you can claim in damages. Your Illinois medical malpractice attorney can help you determine the type and amount of damages to claim. Understanding the compensation available to you is vital to getting a fair settlement.
General damages come from pain and suffering and future lost income. Determining how much in special damages you can claim requires the help of your attorney and financial and medical experts.
Special damages are easy to calculate losses such as lost earnings, medical bills, and wages. You prove these damages by showing receipts and paperwork.
Your attorney will negotiate and communicate with the insurance company. Your attorney also negotiates and communicates with the insurance company. This is to your benefit because your attorney knows how to deal with stingy insurance adjusters. Plus, they have a rough idea of what your case is worth.
Last, your attorney is skilled at going to trial, if necessary. This can be helpful during the settlement negotiation phase. If the adjuster knows the lawyer can take them to court and win, they may be more likely to provide you with a fair medical malpractice settlement. In addition, juries tend to sympathize with medical malpractice victims with severe injuries.
Contact Our Illinois Medical Malpractice Lawyers Now
Did you suffer an injury because of a medical mistake? We trust our lives to medical professionals every day, but not every doctor is as good as another. Sometimes a medical professional can commit an act of negligence that causes severe injury or even death. If that happens, Illinois medical malpractice lawyers may be needed to obtain justice.
The Illinois medical malpractice lawyers at Fisk & Monteleone serve injured clients throughout Winnebago County, Boone County, Ogle County, and Stephenson County including the communities of Rockford, Belvidere, Loves Park, Rochelle, Roscoe, DeKalb, Machesney Park, Poplar Grove, Rockton, Byron, Cherry Valley, Pecatonica, Freeport, South Beloit, and Marengo.
Contact Fisk & Monteleone today for a complimentary consultation about your medical malpractice case.