Whether you’re heading to the doctor for an annual exam or you need immediate medical attention, you place your trust in the medical professionals who treat you. You expect to leave the office or hospital in a better condition than when you arrived—or at least with answers. Unfortunately, serious injuries can happen when doctors are negligent. If you’ve been harmed by a medical professional, a Plainfield medical malpractice lawyer can help.
At Schweickert Ganassin Krzak Rundio, LLP, we have extensive experience representing medical malpractice victims. We recognize how complex this area of personal injury law can be, and we’re prepared to put the time and effort needed into your case to ensure success.
To understand if you have a potential claim, you’ll first want to understand what your rights are as a patient. While they are generally the same everywhere, it’s important to understand the rights you have based on where you live. Let’s take a look at patient rights in Illinois.
Your Rights as a Patient in Illinois
When a person enters into a medical facility and consents to treatment, they become a patient. As a patient in Illinois, you are afforded certain rights as established under the Medical Patient Rights Act. The rights include some of the following:
- To be treated with respect and dignity
- To have your privacy protected
- To have your beliefs and values respected
- To ask and talk about the ethics of your care
- To get information in a way that you understand
- To be involved in all aspects of your care
- To know the name of your health care providers
- To decide if you want to take part in research and studies about your condition
- To have your advance directives followed if they are available
- To decide if you want visitors
- To receive care to make you as comfortable as possible at all stages of life
- To ask for a copy of your health records or any bills
- To file a formal concern or complaint
In the event your rights as a patient are violated and you are injured, you may have a potential medical malpractice claim. Let’s take a look at some of the most common mistakes doctors and hospitals make.
The Most Common Physician Errors
As a patient in a hospital, it’s important to be aware of the most common types of preventable medical errors. In the event you are injured, you may be able to determine what happened and why. Many mistakes revolve around diagnoses and the failure to consider a differential diagnosis. If a doctor makes a mistake diagnosing you, it’s considered a misdiagnosis. If a doctor ignored your symptoms or ordered the wrong tests, they may have been negligent. Malpractice can also happen with a delayed diagnosis. Physicians have to treat patients in a timely fashion. If their patient’s suffering is prolonged, it could be the result of malpractice.
Medication errors are another common medical error. Prescribing the wrong dose, failing to consider potential drug interactions, or inadequately reading a patient’s chart can have severe consequences. A patient could suffer an allergic reaction, or their condition might not be treated properly.
Errors also happen in the operating room. Communication is crucial when a patient is being operated on. If the surgeon or someone on the surgical team doesn’t follow protocol, a patient could undergo an unnecessary or incorrect procedure. There’s also the risk of medical equipment being left inside a patient.
No matter what type of error led to your injury, we have the skills and resources to build a claim on your behalf and hold the negligent party accountable for your losses. Once we’ve determined the mistake that was made, we’ll need to figure out how and why it happened.
Causes of Medical Malpractice
Determining the cause of your medical malpractice-related injuries is crucial to a successful claim. Overall, human error is the main contributing factor, but the mistakes fall under different categories. Some of the most common include the following:
- Miscommunication. Every person assigned to a patient’s care team needs to be on the same page when it comes to treatment and what that patient needs. When there’s miscommunication, whether verbal or written, mistakes can easily happen.
- Staffing issues. The medical field experiences a high turnover rate, which often has to do with stress and lack of pay. Because of this, not every facility is equipped with the staff they need to prove every patient with adequate care.
- Inexperience. Young doctors or nurses may fail to consult a more experienced medical professional for fear of being called out for not knowing something. There’s also a chance of an inexperienced doctor being asked to perform a procedure they’re not familiar with. Instead of declining and observing, they could go ahead with the procedure and harm the patient.
- Technical failures. Medical device companies are responsible for ensuring the technology they produce is safe and effective. When companies cut corners to save money, however, patients’ lives are put at risk.
- Drug or alcohol abuse. It’s no secret that the medical profession is stressful. Some doctors choose unhealthy coping mechanisms, like drug or alcohol abuse. In the event they are intoxicated or under the influence when they are working with a patient, they could cause a serious injury.
To properly determine the cause of your injury, we’ll consult with medical experts. Once we have an understanding of your injuries and how they occurred, we can begin the process of seeking compensation.
Filing a Med Mal Claim in Plainfield
Prior to filing a medical malpractice claim, you’ll want to have an understanding of the laws that could have an impact on your case. One of the most important is the statute of limitations. In Illinois, you typically only have two years from the date of the injury or the date you discovered the injury to take legal action. In the event that time passes, you won’t be eligible for financial compensation. There are larger deadlines depending on the discovery date. Your lawyer will know just how long you have to file a lawsuit.
In addition to understanding how long you have to file, you’ll also need to understand what an affidavit of merit is and why your claim needs to have one. In order to file a complaint against a medical professional, you have to include an affidavit that declares you’ve consulted a health care professional who is knowledgeable regarding your medical issue, currently practices or teaches in the pertinent area, and has experience with the lawsuit’s subject matter. The affidavit also has to include a written report from the expert, stating that they have reviewed the medical records and that there is a valid reason for the lawsuit.
When you seek legal guidance from a Plainfield attorney, they’ll guide you through the legal process and ensure your rights are protected every step of the way.
Contact Schweickert Ganassin Krzak Rundio, LLP
Based on the filing process outlined above, it’s clear that the medical malpractice claim process is detailed and, at times, challenging. To maximize your chances of making a full recovery, it’s important to work with a Plainfield medical malpractice lawyer. Given the time constraints and the necessity of an affidavit of merit, it is important to contact a medical malpractice lawyer sooner rather than later if you believe you may have been the victim of medical malpractice.
Depending on your injuries, you may be eligible for different types of compensation. In most cases, you’ll be eligible for economic damages to cover any calculable losses you incurred. This includes losses like medical bills, lost wages, and related out-of-pocket expenses. You may also be eligible for noneconomic damages like pain and suffering and loss of a normal life.
When you work with a lawyer from Schweickert Ganassin Krzak Rundio, LLP, we’ll take care to value your claim properly and fight on your behalf to ensure you receive full and fair compensation. We understand how intimidating it can seem to go up against a negligent doctor or hospital, but we firmly believe that negligent medical professionals should be held accountable for their actions.
If you’re ready to file a claim or you have additional questions about your legal rights and options, schedule a no obligation case evaluation with us today. We’ll review your situation and help you determine how best to proceed based on your unique circumstances.