Medical Malpractice Attorneys Serving Illinois
Everyone makes mistakes. However, mistakes on the part of medical professionals, hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, and device manufacturers result in hundreds of thousands of preventable injuries and deaths every year. Many of these errors occur as a result of negligence, for which patients and their families can seek compensation through the help of a medical malpractice lawyer.
The medical community aggressively disputes accusations of wrongdoing. Doctors are represented by large insurance companies and hospitals often have dedicated legal teams. The goal of these parties is always the same: Pay as little as possible to patients who have been harmed by malpractice.
The Chicago medical malpractice attorneys at Coplan & Crane are committed to leveling the playing field. Our attorneys have extensive experience handling a wide variety of malpractice claims. We have achieved multi-million-dollar verdicts and settlements on behalf of clients who have suffered life-altering injuries and serious losses as a result of negligent medical care.
For a free consultation, please call Coplan & Crane at (708) 358-8080 today. Our medical malpractice lawyers serve clients in Chicago, Oak Park, Rockford, and throughout Illinois.
What Is Medical Malpractice?
Most people assume that any mistake by a doctor, hospital, or other healthcare provider is grounds for a medical malpractice claim. In reality, however, malpractice has a much narrower definition.
Legally, medical malpractice is the failure of a provider to make decisions and take action according to the standards of his or her profession. This is known as the standard of care, and it establishes what a competent professional should do in caring for a patient.
You must also prove the following to bring a medical malpractice claim:
1. The Existence of a Duty of Care
“Duty of care” is the legal term for the obligations a doctor or other healthcare provider has when treating a patient. It is more commonly known as the doctor-patient relationship.
2. Breach of Duty
A breach is a violation of the care owed to you as a patient. This is often the most challenging aspect of medical malpractice litigation, as you have to prove that the defendant deviated from the standard of care. Given the complexity of modern medicine, establishing what the standard is and how a provider violated it can be difficult.
3. Injury as a Result of Malpractice
You must prove that the negligence of the medical professional caused you harm. “Injury” often refers to physical trauma (such as the loss of a limb, organ, etc.) but it could also mean a decline in physical health due to an untreated or mistreated condition (such as cancer, stroke, etc.) or an adverse effect on mental or emotional health.
4. Medical Malpractice Damages
Finally, you must establish that you suffered damages as a result of the malpractice. This may include financial losses as well as adverse effects on your quality of life.
What Is an Example of Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice comes in a vast array of different forms, affecting adults and children alike. The Chicago medical malpractice attorneys at Coplan & Crane have represented clients who have suffered serious injuries or lost loved ones due to a wide range of medical errors.
Some of the most common medical malpractice cases we handle involve the following:
Birth injury claims are among the saddest cases of medical malpractice. Families who are looking forward to a new addition are often devastated to learn that their little one has suffered trauma that could lead to lifelong disability and complications.
Negligence is a common cause of birth injuries. Errors on the part of OBGYNs, nurses, midwives, and other professionals in the delivery room can seriously harm children before they even enter the world.
Potential examples of medical malpractice resulting in birth injuries include:
- Errors in the use of forceps and vacuum extractors
- Failure to reposition the baby in the event of abnormal presentation
- Failure to monitor the mother and baby for signs of distress
- Failure to order an emergency cesarean section
- Errors in the use of medications such as pitocin
- Anesthesia errors
- Failure to monitor the baby after birth
The most common birth injuries are fractures and injuries to the head and face. With time and proper care, children are often able to make a full recovery.
However, other birth injuries may result in permanent damage. A condition such as cerebral palsy can permanently alter your child’s future and result in a number of challenges for your whole family. If this situation occurs due to the negligence of a medical provider, you shouldn’t have to bear the burden on your own.
All surgeries have some degree of risk. However, signing a consent form does not excuse errors on the part of a surgeon, anesthesiologist, or other member of the surgical team.
Examples of surgical malpractice that may be grounds for a medical negligence claim include:
- Performing the wrong operation on a patient
- Performing surgery on the wrong part of the body
- Errors during surgery that damage blood vessels, nerves, organs, etc.
- Leaving surgical equipment inside the patient
- Negligent post-op monitoring
No patient agrees to surgery lightly. If a preventable error in the operating room harms you or a member of your family, it is your right to take legal action.
Hospitals are equal parts business and bureaucracy. Unfortunately, the profit motive can lead to violations of the rules designed to keep patients safe.
Examples of malpractice the attorneys at Coplan & Crane commonly see in hospitals include:
- Failure to prevent hospital-acquired infections, such as sepsis, MRSA, etc.
- Misdiagnosis and delayed diagnosis
- Failure to order appropriate tests
- Errors in laboratory testing
- Failure to maintain medical equipment
- Failure to maintain sanitary conditions
Hospital malpractice can happen in any aspect of operations, from the emergency room to specialist departments to surgery to administration. The bureaucracy inherent in hospital care can make it difficult to determine how the error occurred and who is responsible.
Medical malpractice lawyers at Coplan & Crane thoroughly investigate to identify the party or parties responsible for malpractice. Depending on the circumstances, you may be able to bring a claim against one or more doctors, as well as the hospital itself.
Prescribing medications is one of the most basic aspects of patient care. Unfortunately, a variety of different errors can make even this simple process a source of serious danger for patients.
You may be able to bring a medical malpractice claim If you suffered adverse effects as a result of the following medication errors:
- A doctor or other professional prescribed the wrong medication for your complaint
- The provider failed to take possible drug interactions into account
- A pharmacist filled the wrong medication or the improper dosage
In addition to medical negligence, patients may have legal recourse if they suffer injury from a dangerous drug. Bringing a claim against a pharmaceutical company is extremely challenging, so it is crucial to seek qualified legal guidance.
Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect
Nursing homes and long-term care facilities are responsible for meeting the medical needs of senior citizens and other at-risk populations. Although not all nursing home abuse claims involve medical issues, errors in care are a frequent cause of serious injury and illness among elderly residents.
Potential grounds for a nursing home negligence claim include:
- Bed sores
- Malnourishment and dehydration
- Infections and infectious diseases
- Untreated injuries
- Failure to manage pre-existing conditions
Medical records and expert testimony are often essential for proving that your loved one suffered abuse or neglect in a nursing home. Coplan & Crane can investigate on your behalf to gather evidence of wrongdoing on the part of caregivers and other staff members.
Is Medical Malpractice Difficult to Prove?
Medical malpractice is often very difficult to prove. Records of medical treatment are intended for doctors and other professionals, not patients. If an error is documented in your medical records, it is highly unlikely that you will be able to spot it on your own.
What’s worse, it is not uncommon for medical professionals to “cover” each other when one of them does something wrong. If this is the case, there might not be a record of the malpractice that led to your injuries.
Finally, the latitude afforded to physicians and other providers in treating patients often makes it difficult to prove that negligence was a factor. Not all bad outcomes represent medical malpractice.
Given all of these issues, it is of the utmost importance to hire an attorney well-versed in medical malpractice to determine if you have a case. At Coplan & Crane, our medical malpractice lawyers know how doctors and hospitals operate. We have relationships with leading experts who can assess your medical records and identify potential errors.
Medical malpractice claims succeed or fail on the strength of the evidence. Coplan & Crane has the experience, knowledge, and resources to do what’s right when medical care goes wrong.
Who Is Liable for Medical Malpractice?
Healthcare is a multifaceted industry made up of many different professionals who treat patients. Unfortunately, this creates a number of opportunities for possible malpractice.
Liability will ultimately depend on who committed the medical error that resulted in your injuries. Some of the most common defendants in medical malpractice claims include:
- Physicians (GPs, Family Medicine Doctors, etc.)
- Medical Specialist Doctors, Including:
- Obstetricians and Gynecologists (OBGYNs)
- Emergency Room Physicians
- General and Specialist Surgeons
- Medical and Hospital Technicians
- Hospitals and Medical Clinics
Complex liability is a common feature of medical malpractice litigation. If more than one party is at fault for your injuries or the death of your loved one, the attorneys at Coplan & Crane will evaluate your case to determine which providers were negligent and what legal options you have. You may be able to bring claims against individual practitioners and/or the facility where you received care.
Medical Malpractice in Illinois: How Long Do You Have to Sue?
The statute of limitations for medical malpractice claims in Illinois is 2 years. If the patient was a minor when he or she suffered injury due to malpractice, the time limit to bring a claim is 8 years (although the right to action ends when the victim turns 22).
Generally, the clock starts ticking when the injury is (or should have been) discovered. Medical malpractice claims are unique in that the harm from negligence may not be apparent until a number of years have elapsed.
Unfortunately, defendants and insurance companies will frequently try to argue that patients should have reasonably been aware of a potential medical injury much sooner. If this argument is successful, you may unfairly lose your right to compensation.
An experienced med mal attorney at Coplan & Crane can present evidence that your claim falls within the statute of limitations. This often involves enlisting medical experts to testify as to how the effects of the particular error in your case may not be immediately apparent, as well as how your losses are tied to the original malpractice (as opposed to subsequent medical care and/or mistakes on your part, both of which doctors and insurers will likely try to argue).
What Is the Average Payout for Medical Malpractice?
For most medical procedures, accuracy is of the utmost importance. A few seconds or a few millimeters are frequently the difference between a successful outcome and disastrous complications.
Unfortunately, what might be a small mistake for the doctor could be a major catastrophe for the patient. Even seemingly minor errors can negatively affect all aspects of a patient’s life.
For this reason, the “average” compensation recoverable in a medical malpractice claim is virtually impossible to calculate without knowing the specifics of your case. As a general rule, though, the types of damages you and your loved ones may be entitled to recover include:
- Medical expenses associated with treating an ongoing complaint and/or complications from negligent care
- Lost wages
- Loss of future income and earning capacity (i.e., the ability to work and make money)
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional anguish
- Embarrassment and inconvenience associated with a physical or mental disability
- Shame related to scarring or disfigurement
- Loss of consortium (broadly, the loss of relationships and activities you previously enjoyed with your family, including your spouse, children, etc.)
- Out-of-pocket costs related to your injuries
It is not uncommon for medical malpractice settlements and trial verdicts to enter into the millions of dollars. This is especially true if a medical error results in decades of hardship (as we often see in birth injury claims) or in the death of a patient.
How Much Does It Cost to Sue for Medical Malpractice?
The complexity of medical malpractice litigation translates into substantial costs for plaintiffs who file suit. However, it is important to understand that you don’t pay a dime when you hire our attorneys to handle your case.
At Coplan & Crane, we try cases on a contingency basis. Your initial consultation is free, and you don’t pay us any fees or other expenses until we achieve a favorable result on your behalf (such as a settlement or a trial award).
People who have suffered injury or lost a family member due to medical malpractice are often facing significant financial hardships, not to mention the physical and emotional toll such a situation takes. Our contingency fee agreement allows clients of Coplan & Crane to have complete confidence that they will not have to make additional financial expenditures to pursue justice.
Once your case is successfully resolved, our team takes a percentage of the recovered sum. This percentage is identified upfront, so there will be no surprises on what you owe.
How Long Do Medical Malpractice Claims Usually Take?
In addition to being expensive, medical malpractice claims are among the most time-consuming to pursue. For the patients, handling these cases alone is virtually impossible without missing a crucial detail or a critical deadline.
With our deep understanding of medical malpractice claims, Coplan & Crane can handle each step of your case thoroughly and expediently. Generally, this involves the following steps:
1. Collecting Evidence on Your Behalf
Obtaining copies of your medical records and other documentation is a necessity for proving malpractice. However, tracking down all of the relevant paperwork takes time.
Lawyers at Coplan & Crane have the knowledge and resources to gather these records much faster than clients can on their own.
2. Consulting Experts
All medical malpractice lawsuits filed in Illinois must include an affidavit of merit from a medical professional who is similarly qualified to the defendant(s) in the case. The affidavit does not “prove” that medical malpractice has occurred; it is a qualified individual’s opinion that the case has sufficient merit to move forward.
In addition to enlisting an expert to review the case and write a report assessing its merit, our attorneys typically consult multiple experts to analyze the evidence, determine liability, and assess damages in a medical malpractice claim. Obtaining the affidavit and other expert testimony takes time, but it is crucial for achieving a successful outcome.
3. Negotiating with the Defendant(s) and Insurer(s)
One of the most time-intensive parts of any legal matter is attempting to reach a settlement. Lawyers and insurance companies for the defense will not make this process easy, frequently offering far less than your case is worth or denying responsibility.
Depending on the details of your case (including the complexity, the compensation you are seeking, and more), settlement negotiations can take months – or longer.
4. Preparing for Trial
Not all medical malpractice cases go to trial. However, not all medical practice claims are settled, either.
For this reason, it is of crucial importance to hire an attorney who is willing and able to take your case to court if necessary.
Preparing to go to trial is an intensive process. Having an experienced lawyer on your side is a must for ensuring that your best interests are protected both before courtroom proceedings begin and once the trial gets underway.
5. Going to Trial
The date for the trial will depend on how crowded the court docket is. Some courts in Illinois have backlogs lasting several months or more.
The actual length of the trial will depend on the complexity of your case, including how many witnesses are called, what evidence is presented, and more.
As your medical malpractice claim moves forward, patience is essential. You do not want to settle too early for too little simply to bring the matter to a close.
Coplan & Crane will be with you every step of the way. Our attorneys will provide honest input at all times, including when a settlement may be in your best interest and whether it makes sense to file suit and go to trial.
How Do I Find the Best Chicago Medical Malpractice Attorney for My Case?
Ultimately, the “best” attorney for your medical malpractice claim is the one who treats you with the respect and compassion you deserve given your difficult circumstances. It is also important to look for a lawyer with the knowledge and experience to handle your case effectively, as well as a history of success in cases similar to yours.
Medical malpractice is a key area of focus for multiple attorneys at Coplan & Crane. Attorney Ted Jennings, for example, has achieved recognition from Leading Lawyers for his handling of medical malpractice claims.
We have also achieved a number of multi-million-dollar verdicts and settlements on behalf of clients and their families who suffered significant losses as a result of medical negligence:
$13 million settlement for shoulder dystocia birth injury
$12 million settlement for a child who suffered injuries resulting in paralysis and cerebral palsy – largest personal injury recovery in Winnebago County, Illinois
$10 million settlement for failure to diagnose stroke
$5.25 million settlement with manufacturer of defective hip implants
$1.5 million trial award for a pediatrician’s failure to diagnose a birth defect
Every case is unique, and a prior outcome is not a guarantee of future success. However, we share these recoveries to demonstrate not only the nature of the medical malpractice claims we handle but our commitment to winning for those who have lost.
Contact Our Chicago Medical Malpractice Lawyers Today
No one who seeks medical care expects their health to suffer. Tragically, this is the situation many patients and their families face as a result of medical negligence.
Medical malpractice can take an enormous toll on those affected. The negligence of a healthcare professional can lead to ongoing medical costs, the inability to work, physical and mental impairments, chronic pain, and a number of other adverse effects. Anyone can be impacted, from newborns to children to adults to the elderly.
At Coplan & Crane, our experienced medical malpractice lawyers are dedicated to doing what’s right for those who have been wronged. Our attorneys are honest, hard-working professionals who strive to protect the rights of patients and hold negligent medical providers, institutions, and corporations responsible for wrongdoing.
Please call Coplan & Crane at (708) 358-8080 today for a free case evaluation. Our medical malpractice attorneys serve clients in Chicago, Oak Park, Rockford, and other areas of Illinois.