You or a loved one may have been injured by a medical mistake, but you might wonder if you have a malpractice case. You might have questions about the process. Are these claims difficult to prove? Are they worth pursuing? These are questions our experienced attorneys often hear.
Medical malpractice cases are generally more complex than personal injury cases, such as a rear-end accident or a slip and fall in a grocery store. The burden of proof is placed on the patient, who needs to prove that a doctor or some other health-care practitioner deviated from the standard of care and caused harm.
Medical malpractice cases often include:
- Medication errors
- Hospital errors
- Surgical errors
Requirements needed to prove a medical malpractice case
There are four conditions you must prove to establish medical malpractice. These include:
- Duty of Care: You will need to establish that your doctor or other medical professional treating you had a duty of care. This is the easiest element, as you simply need to show you were a patient.
- Negligence: To prove negligence, you need to show the health-care professional did not do what another care provider would have reasonably done under the same circumstances. Often, an attorney for the harmed patient will hire an expert witness to prove negligence.
- Breach of Duty of Care: A doctor who has failed to react or act accordingly in the action he or she took while treating you may have breached his or her duty. You will need to show a breach of duty of care and negligence contributed to your injury or illness.
- Damages: This is the sum of money the law imposes when breach of duty of care and negligence has been proven. These damages often include medical, hospital and pharmacy bills. It can also include loss of income and quality of life. You may need to show invoices from disabled access home renovations and modifications to your vehicle. To prove damages for lost income, you may need to show paycheck stubs and statements from your employer.
Does a medical mistake rise to the level of negligence?
Medical errors result in 250,000 deaths in the United States each year, according to a Johns Hopkins Medicine study. After heart disease and cancer, medical error is the third leading cause of death. Some of the mistakes made by doctors and other practitioners are unavoidable. A doctor or surgeon may warn a patient about the risks of a procedure, so a bad outcome may not be a case of negligence. In some cases, another health-care provider might have made the same mistake under the same circumstances, which means negligence cannot be established.
Why you need a Chicago medical malpractice attorney on your side
Medical malpractice cases are difficult to prove. You should not ignore an error by a doctor, nurse or other health-care professional, however. Ask questions and seek legal guidance. Reach out to an experienced medical malpractice lawyer in Chicago to discuss the circumstances of your case. Contact Coplan + Crane today for a free case consultation. Our law firm can help determine if you should pursue a negligence claim.