Waukegan Medical Negligence Lawyer
Modern medicine is designed to improve our health and save our lives. When we go to the doctor, we put our full trust in them because they’ve endured years of schooling and practicing medicine. But what happens when that doctor makes a mistake out of carelessness or negligence? Patients could suffer lifelong pain, disability, emotional trauma, and even death. Unfortunately, this is the reality for thousands of injured victims across America. Many of these victims have to decide between spending thousands of dollars on a lawsuit (on top of their mountain of medical bills) or suffering in silence.
Fortunately, the Illinois medical malpractice lawyers at the Law Offices of Richard Kopsick can provide top-notch legal services to injured clients for a reasonable fee. Our law firm proudly represents clients from the Waukegan area so that they can pursue the compensation and justice they deserve. For more information on how a Waukegan medical negligence lawyer can help you, call 847-623-8700 today.
What is Medical Negligence?
Medical negligence, also known as medical malpractice, is when a patient suffers medical injury or wrongful death due to a doctor’s carelessness or misconduct. Oftentimes, this legal issue falls under the umbrella of personal injury. It’s important to note that mere dissatisfaction or discomfort from medical treatment is not enough to sue for. There must have been some medical error that caused extensive damage to a patient’s health and life.
Common Examples of Medical Malpractice
Medical malpractice can involve many types of errors, including:
- Failure to diagnose
- Unnecessary surgery
- Incorrect surgery
- Prescribing the wrong medication or the wrong dose of a medication
- Ordering the wrong tests and scans
- Failure to act on test or scan results
- Leaving surgical tools or other objects inside a patient’s body after surgery
- Performing surgery on the wrong part of the body
- Serious infections that develop while a patient is at the hospital
- Chronic pain following a surgical procedure
- Birth injuries
- Anesthesia errors
What is Informed Consent?
Medical malpractice litigation can also arise from a lack of informed consent. Lack of informed consent essentially means that a patient agreed to a specific treatment or procedure without being told all the potential risks or side effects.
For example, maybe a patient has a 40% chance of needing a colostomy bag following their bowel surgery and their healthcare professional doesn’t tell them that. Later, the patient wakes up from their successful bowel surgery with a colostomy bag, wishing they would have known that this was a possibility. If the patient had known about this risk, they might have chosen against the surgery. In this scenario, the patient could certainly sue their doctor for lack of informed consent.
How Often Does Medical Malpractice Happen in the U.S.?
Unfortunately, medical malpractice occurs every day in the United States. In fact, Johns Hopkins Medicine researchers claim that medical malpractice should be ranked as the third leading cause of death among Americans. Their research indicates that negligent medical professionals cause approximately 250,000 deaths every year. This frightening number ranks medical malpractice behind heart disease (659,000 annual deaths) and cancer (599,000 annual deaths).
How to Prove Medical Negligence
It’s incredibly difficult to prove medical malpractice because many health care providers say that some medical injuries and death are unavoidable. If the injury or death was allegedly unavoidable, then the doctor can’t be held liable. But this doesn’t mean that winning a medical malpractice lawsuit is impossible. With enough evidence and the right medical malpractice attorney, you may be entitled to collect compensation.
In order to create the strongest case possible, Waukegan, IL medical malpractice lawyers will help you gather enough evidence to prove the four elements of negligence. These are as follows:
- Duty of Care: The doctor owed all of the patient a specific duty of care.
- Violating Duty of Care: The health care professional failed to uphold that duty of care.
- Causation: The patient suffered severe pain, injury, infection, or death because the doctor violated their duty of care.
- Damages: Compensation from the doctor or hospital would partially or totally cover the cost of undoing or treating the medical damage.
How Many Medical Malpractice Lawsuits are Successful?
According to a 2009 study that compiled 20 years of medical malpractice lawsuit data, doctors and hospitals win up to:
- 90% of lawsuits with insufficient or weak evidence,
- 70% of lawsuits with moderately weak evidence,
- And 50% of lawsuits with strong evidence.
Of the lawsuits included in this study that ended in the patient’s favor, 5% were compensated for diagnosis or treatment errors, 13% were compensated for surgical mistakes, and 27% were compensated for medication errors.
While these statistics don’t look too promising, it’s still important for you to meet with an experienced IL medical malpractice lawyer. Attorney at law Richard Kopsick will listen, carefully examine your case details and evidence, and honestly tell you whether your case is worth bringing to trial. Your chances of winning a lawsuit will always be higher if you have strong legal defense from an experienced IL attorney.
Damages for Medical Negligence
Experienced IL medical malpractice lawyer Richard S. Kopsick can help victims obtain both economic and non-economic damages for their injuries.
A victim in a medical malpractice case may receive economic damages in order to pay for calculable, monetary losses. Common types of economic damages include:
- All past, present, and future medical bills
- Future physical therapy and rehabilitation bills
- Property damage
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning capacity
Meanwhile, non-economic damages can pay for medical malpractice losses that don’t have a set monetary value. Common examples include:
- Physical pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of consortium
- Permanent disfigurement or disability
- Punitive damages
Affidavit of Merit in IL Medical Malpractice Cases
If you decide to move forward with your medical malpractice lawsuit in Illinois, you must include what is called an affidavit of merit. Basically, this document states that your or your medical malpractice attorney talked with a doctor who:
- Has extensive knowledge about the medical condition and treatment in question
- Is presently a doctor (or was a doctor in the last six years) in the medical field that the patient received treatment from
- Has extensive knowledge and experience in the lawsuit’s specific subject
According to Illinois law, the doctor must also provide a report for the affidavit of merit which states that “there is a reasonable and meritorious cause” for the litigation. If an injured patient fails to obtain a valid affidavit of merit, an Illinois judge will likely dismiss their case.
IL Statute of Limitations for Medical Negligence
In Illinois, medical malpractice victims have exactly two years from the date they knew (or should have known) that they were injured from their treatment or procedure. However, if you were under the age of 18 at the time of the medical malpractice incident, you have 8 years from the day you knew (or should have known) that you were injured.
If you wait until the statute of limitations expires, a judge will likely dismiss your case. So it’s best to call a trusted personal injury law firm as soon as possible after your medical malpractice incident. The sooner you do, the stronger your case will be.
Call the Waukegan Criminal Defense Attorneys at The Law Offices of Richard S. Kopsick Today
Regardless of how incriminating the case is against you or how dire your situation seems to be, Richard S. Kopsick and his team of skilled Waukegan criminal defense lawyers will work tirelessly to preserve your rights. Kopsick employ’s his vast knowledge and legal resources to lessen your charges or otherwise achieve the best possible result at all times. To get in touch with our top Lake County criminal attorney at The Law Offices of Richard S. Kopsick, call 847-623-8700 today.