Many states limit the amount of recoverable damages in medical malpractice claims but, Illinois has no such limit. The jury, and only the jury, determine a reasonable amount of damages in a medical negligence case. These damages include compensatory damages for both economic and non-economic losses. Reasonable, full, and fair compensatory damages discourage future misconduct and encourage other doctors to change the way they do business. Only complete, full, and fair damages accomplish the goal. Anything less, especially if a large hospital is a defendant, is essentially an acceptable economic cost of doing business.
Flexibility in this area is good. The amount needed to fully compensate victims varies significantly in different cases. However, this legal flexibility means nothing unless an Illinois medical malpractice lawyer builds a strong, evidence-based claim from the ground up. Nothing in the law prevents medical insurance companies from throwing everything they can against a victim/plaintiff’s case. And that is exactly what happens in these cases.
Kinds of Medical Malpractice
Doctors and other professionals have a duty of reasonable care in Illinois. As a result, there is usually no such thing as a medical Aaccident@ in the Prairie State. Almost any misstep may constitute negligence or a lack of reasonable care. Typically, negligence may occur during the pre‑surgical process, during a procedure, or as the patient recovers from a procedure.
The medical misdiagnosis rate is alarmingly high in Illinois. A doctor could either misdiagnose an existing condition or inform a patient that they have a disease they do not actually have.
Fundamentally, a lack of information often causes misdiagnosis errors. Many Illinois doctors may not order a full battery of diagnostic tests. Frequently, they are afraid that exhaustive tests make them look indecisive. Alternatively, many doctors over‑delegate test result interpretation chores to non‑physicians, mostly to save time and money. Sometimes appropriate tests are not ordered because the practitioner has a preconceived notion of the diagnosis, and is unwilling to look for or accept alternatives.
Many illnesses, such as cancer, can be successfully treated if doctors catch them early. A delayed diagnosis may literally be the difference between life and death.
Surgical errors are especially common in busy operating rooms at large hospitals. Simple changes could eliminate these errors. For example, if the surgical team huddles briefly before a procedure, in a process called a “timeout”, the chances of the doctor operating on the wrong body part all but disappear.
Other procedural errors happen as well. Instrument sanitizing is a good example. Generally, the surgical team superheats instruments to sanitize them. Too much heat burns the patient and too little heat does not kill all bacteria.
Bacterial infections may be quite common in recovery areas. Sometimes the surgical care team lets its guard down just a bit and fails to take all necessary precautions. That slight relaxation may give bacterial infections a chance to seriously harm patients.
We touched on the kinds of damages, economic and non-economic, that an Illinois medical malpractice lawyer can obtain. Let’s look at them in more detail.
Compensatory damages compensate victims for negligence‑related expenses, such as medical bills. Frequently, attorneys can work to reduce the billing process, but these expenses must be paid eventually. Compensatory damages are also available for things like pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment in life. Money does not come close to filling the emotional void negligence creates, but quite frankly, it is the only remedy the law allows.
Contact a Thorough Winnebago County Medical Malpractice Attorney
Injury victims need and deserve financial compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced medical malpractice attorney in Rockford, contact Fisk & Monteleone Ltd. by calling (815) 315-0574. Virtual, home, and hospital visits are available.