Most individuals look to their physicians for solutions when it comes to matters of their health. Whether it is a chronic condition, a common cold, or something with life-threatening consequences, we place trust in our doctors to use their best judgment, exercise diligent care, and impart wise medical advice. Unfortunately, not every physician lives up to our expectations. Sometimes, their failure to do so is the basis for legal action.
Some cases of medical malpractice are pretty clear cut. Most people have heard the astonishing stories of surgical tools being left inside patients. But many other cases of medical malpractice are less obvious and require more proof. In order to have a successful case against a doctor for medical malpractice, a plaintiff must prove that the physician deviated from an accepted standard of medical care as established in their community, and that this deviation caused injury or death.
The elements of a medical malpractice claim are echoed in other areas of the law involving negligence and tort liability. Four elements must be established in a successful claim for medical malpractice:
(1) the physician had a duty to fulfill an established standard of care in the treatment of the patient in the medical community in which they practice;
(2) that the physician deviated from the standard of care and therefore breached their duty; and
(3) that the patient's resulting injury was caused by the physician's deviation from the previously established standard of care.
If a plaintiff is able to sufficiently prove these elements in a court of law, and is successful in their claim, the at-fault physician is liable for any damages incurred by the patient as a result of the physician's medical negligence. In Illinois, patients who are successful in medical malpractice cases can seek both compensatory and non-economic damages. Compensatory damages compensate victims for costs they incurred because of their injury, like hospital bills and lost wages. Non-economic damages are meant to compensate victims for pain and suffering they have endured as a result of their injury.
Types of Treatment as a Basis for Medical Malpractice
Treatment of a patient can include many actions taken by a doctor, such as a misdiagnosis, failing to take action or perform a certain procedure, or issuing the wrong prescription. If a patient suffers an injury as a result of medical negligence, then that patient can likely point to an action or incident that forms the basis for a claim for medical malpractice.If you believe that you or a loved one has suffered an injury that was caused by your doctor's medical negligence, you may have a claim for medical malpractice. An experienced malpractice attorney in the Chicago area can help. Contact us today to discuss your case and inquire about your rights.
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