Acts of medical error cause harm to hundreds of patients in the United States every year. However, a victim of a medical error does not have a lawsuit against the medical professional unless he or she can prove that the health care professional violated the medical standard of care that is set forth by Illinois law. The following considers what the standard of care is in Illinois in regards to medical malpractice cases, as well as how to prove that a violation of the standard of care occurred.
The Medical Standard of Care
Per Illinois Courts’ Jury Instructions section 105 – Professional Negligence, medical professionals are held to the same standard of care as are other professionals in the state. That is, “the same degree of knowledge, skill and ability as an ordinary professional would exercise under similar circumstances.” This means that a cardiac surgeon is held to the same standard of care as an ‘ordinary’ cardiac surgeon, a pediatrician is held to the same standard of care as an ‘ordinary’ pediatrician, etc.
It is important to know that simply suffering harm is not enough to constitute malpractice. Instead, the medical professional must have actually acted in a negligent manner (outside of the standard of care), and that negligence must be the direct cause of your harm.
How Do We Know What Is ‘Ordinary?’
The question in proving medical malpractice that arises then is this: how does one prove that a medical professional acted in an unordinary manner? In a medical malpractice lawsuit, the best way to prove that malpractice, and a violation of the standard of care, is through the testimony of other medical professionals in the same field. For example, if you believed you experienced an act of surgical malpractice during a kidney transplant, you would want kidney transplant surgeons to testify on your behalf in order to illustrate the negligence that your surgeon exercised in treating you.
In addition to expert testimony from other medical professionals, you will also need to provide medical evidence that demonstrates when you originally sought medical care, what medical care was administered, and the outcome of that medical care. The more medical evidence that you can provide, the more convincing your claim will be.
A Medical Malpractice Attorney Can Help
While you may not think that you need an attorney, the truth is, an attorney’s help can greatly improve your case’s odds of being successful. Not only can an attorney help you to prove that a violation of the medical standard of care occurred, but can also recruit experts and witnesses who can testify on your behalf. An attorney can also present your case to a court, negotiate for a fair settlement, and provide you with detailed information about the law.
At Fisk & Monteleone LTD., our experienced Rockford medical malpractice lawyers want to meet with you to discuss your case in more detail today. Use our online form to request your free case consultation, or call our offices directly.