Medical malpractice law deals with cases against medical care providers, such as doctors or nurses or hospitals. The mere fact that a patient sustains an injury while under the care of a physician, nurse or hospital does not mean the patient has a medical malpractice case. In order for the patient to have a case, the patient’s injury must have been caused by the negligence of the physician, nurse or hospital. “Negligence” means the failure to do something that a reasonably well-qualified medical professional would have done under the same or similar circumstances, or doing something that a reasonably well-qualified medical professional would not have done under the same or similar circumstances. A patient injured because of the negligence of a medical care provider may have a claim for medical malpractice. The experienced medical malpractice attorneys at the Law Office of John E. Marszalek are prepared to represent individuals who have suffered a serious injury.
Most, but not all, medical malpractice cases in Illinois are filed in State court. Either side may request a jury trial. In Illinois, the vast majority of medical malpractice cases require expert testimony. It is necessary to produce the testimony of a medical expert, such as a physician, in court. Otherwise, the judge will dismiss the case, and the case will not be decided by a jury.
Filing a claim for medical malpractice in court in Illinois is subject to certain rules that do not apply to any other type of case. In order to file a medical malpractice case in court, the medical records of the patient must be obtained. Those records must be reviewed by a physician. After reviewing the medical records, the physician must prepare a written report stating whether, in his opinion, the case has merit. The physician must state the reasons for his opinion. The attorney for the patient must sign an affidavit stating that he has had the medical records reviewed by a physician and that the physician has prepared a written report stating that the case has merit. The affidavit of the attorney must be attached to the Complaint. The written report of the reviewing physician must be attached to the Complaint also, however the name of the physician need not be disclosed in the attorney’s affidavit nor in the copy of the physician’s report attached to the patient’s Complaint.
Usually, the filing of the patient’s Complaint in court is just the beginning of a long, expensive process. Normally, it is necessary to take depositions of the parties and the witnesses. In addition, it is necessary to take depositions of the medical experts retained by each side. These medical experts charge money for their time and their expertise. Because of the expenses involved, many times it is not feasible economically for a patient to pursue a medical malpractice claim. Unless the damages suffered by the patient are significant, a jury may not award a patient an amount of money sufficient to justify the expenses that need to be incurred.
It may be more difficult to settle a medical malpractice case than a different type of personal injury case. Many physicians have professional liability insurance policies that require the physician to consent to any settlement. Should the physician refuse to consent, the case must go to trial. This is different from the situation in a non-malpractice case such as a motor vehicle case, where the consent of a driver being sued is not required in order for the driver’s insurance company to settle the case.
Someone considering filing a medical malpractice case should not delay. Important evidence may be lost or destroyed. Our Chicago medical malpractice lawyers are available to talk to you today at no charge. Feel free to contact us.