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Medical Malpractice

Every day, people trust doctors with their lives. That’s a reasonable assumption – physicians and other healthcare professionals have a sworn duty to provide safe, ethical and accurate medical treatment to their patients. But that doesn’t always happen. As many as 250,000 people in America are the victims of medical malpractice every year.

  • $33.2 million verdict Obtained on behalf of a young man who suffered severe injuries in a Lake County accident. It remains the largest jury verdict in Lake County history.
  • $17.9 million verdict Awarded by a Cook County jury to a woman who was injured in a collision with a tractor-trailer. Shortly before the jury returned its verdict, the case settled for $14 million.
  • $10.8 million partial settlement Obtained on behalf of a Lake County man who was permanently disabled after being struck by a car.

FIND OUT IF YOU HAVE A CASE

TALK TO AN EXPERIENCED ATTORNEY

We take pride in the professional, friendly service we provide to every client. We may work quickly and aggressively - but we always take the time to talk with our clients about their case.

To learn more about how we can help you, contact us today. Call or submit our online form. Our consultations are always free, and they carry no obligations.

You trusted a medical professional with your health or your loved one’s health. However, something went terribly wrong. As a result, your condition may have worsened, or a loved one may have died. You deserve answers.

The  attorneys of Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C. are here to help. We have decades of experience with assisting medical negligence victims and their families in Chicago, Waukegan and throughout Illinois.

We understand the pain, confusion and financial burdens that are caused by negligence. Our goal is to provide you with compassionate and professional legal service. We want to help you to move past this difficult time with the financial compensation and sense of security that you deserve.

Contact a medical malpractice lawyer by phone or reach us through our online form. We can provide an immediate, free and confidential consultation and start work on your case today.

How Can Our Law Firm Help You With Your Malpractice Claim?

When you choose Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C. to handle your case, you will work with a law firm that features:

Experience

Since our law firm was founded more than 30 years ago, we have focused on helping injured victims. We know what goes into investigating and litigating medical negligence cases. We have obtained more than $975 million in verdicts and settlements on behalf of our injury clients, including:

Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C. focuses on seeking justice for medical malpractice victims and their families in Chicago and throughout Illinois. Our success record includes:

$29.1 MILLION VERDICT on behalf of a Chicago child who developed an infection that led to brain damage and cerebral palsy.

$13.3 MILLION VERDICT on behalf of a Chicago child who suffered injuries to his left shoulder and arm at the time of his birth due to medical negligence.

$17 MILLION SETTLEMENT on behalf of two-year-old Lake County boy who suffered severe and irreversible brain damage during a surgery to remove a cyst on his throat.

$12.5 MILLION SETTLEMENT on behalf of a Lake County girl whose pediatrician failed to timely diagnose and treat an infection that progressed to spinal meningitis.

$15.35 MILLION SETTLEMENT on behalf of a DeKalb County child who suffered brain injury at birth due to negligent use of a vacuum extractor device.

To discuss the unique facts of your case, please contact us today by phone or through our online form. Our consultations are always free and confidential.

Skill

Our attorneys are aggressive negotiators. We know how to work with doctors, hospitals and their insurers in order to arrive at full and fair settlements for our clients. We are also seasoned trial lawyers. If a settlement is not obtained, we will present a carefully prepared case to a jury on your behalf. We also will resolve any appeals or other post-judgment issues that arise.

Resources

Our law firm works with veteran investigators and highly qualified experts, including doctors, nurses and other medical professionals. They can help us to establish what happened in your case, what party (or parties) should be held responsible and the amount you deserve in just compensation.

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What Is Medical Malpractice?

Not all negative outcomes are the result of medical malpractice. Malpractice occurs only when a medical professional fails to adhere to an applicable standard of medical care, and an injury or death occurs as a result. In other words, the medical professional failed to do what a reasonably careful professional would have done if facing the same or similar circumstances.

To better understand what medical malpractice is – and whether it has harmed you or a loved one – please view Patrick A. Salvi II’s description in this video:

Medical Malpractice FAQs

Can I make a malpractice claim for every medical mistake?

Not every mistake can result in a malpractice claim. The doctor’s actions must be compared to a reasonable provider to determine if you have a medical malpractice case.

If the doctor’s actions were reasonable or did not directly cause any harm, you will not be eligible to make a claim. It is up to you to prove the doctor’s acts or omissions were unacceptable in a way that directly injured you.

The physician or care provider’s behavior is compared with a hypothetical average doctor with the same specialty and background. If your doctor provided care below the quality of care any reasonable physician would have offered, the physician can be liable for malpractice.

To learn more, please visit our section on Medical Malpractice.

How can I know if I have been the victim of medical malpractice?

Doctors are liable for medical malpractice if they are negligent and cause you to suffer harm. The law in Illinois outlines specific criteria necessary to hold a doctor accountable for malpractice.

The Illinois civil jury instructions on professional negligence explain the physician’s professional obligation. Our Medical Malpractice page has more information.

In most cases, all medical records associated with your treatment must be obtained to assess whether mistakes were made that give rise to a malpractice claim. Attorneys who focus on medical malpractice cases in Chicago can assist you in securing copies of treatment records. Witnesses to the treatment may also be subpoenaed and interviewed.

Medical records and statements must be evaluated by expert medical professionals to assess whether the care was reasonable or the physician was negligent. You may also need to undergo a medical examination to determine the impact of your treatment on your current health status.

The opinion of the expert witness is essential evidence in a medical malpractice case. See Illinois Law section 8-2501 to view the standard for expert witnesses in the state.

Who can I sue for medical malpractice?

The doctor or care provider who made a mistake may not be the only one to pursue a claim against.

Doctors may not always have sufficient funds to provide full compensation. You may need to take legal action against others, including the hospital, to have your losses fully covered.

Hospitals, health clinics and others who employ physicians can be held legally responsible in some medical malpractice cases. A hospital or healthcare center can be responsible if it was negligent in its policies or practices as compared to the standards set by a reasonably safe and effective health center in the area.

Hospitals and clinics can also be held responsible for actions and omissions of employees. If a nurse, doctor, orderly or other staff member was negligent when providing care to a patient in the ordinary course of work, the acts of the employee are treated as acts of the hospital. As a result, the hospital can be sued to provide broader compensation to ensure your losses are fully covered.

To learn more about the types of losses you should be compensated for, visit our section on How Much is My Case Worth?

How can I make a claim for medical malpractice?

To file a medical malpractice claim, you need to gather evidence proving your care provider was unreasonably negligent and file a civil lawsuit within a specified time period – or else your claim will be barred.

Claims for medical malpractice typically must be filed within two years of the incident of medical negligence. Exceptions exist if the doctor’s mistake was not discovered immediately. In all cases, malpractice claims must be brought within four years of the incident.

A claim must be filed with the appropriate court. It must state a legal cause of action. In Illinois, you must also have an affidavit indicating your records and health status have been reviewed by a medical professional who has reason to believe the treatment you received could result in a successful medical malpractice claim. Illinois Law section 2-622 explains this requirement in detail.

What do I need to prove in a medical malpractice lawsuit?

Proving a medical malpractice claim requires you to establish what a doctor’s obligations were and to show how the physician fell short.

The Illinois civil jury instructions on professional negligence explain the requirements of a malpractice claim, which include:

  • Proving the physician failed to conform to the acceptable standard of care
  • Demonstrating the failure was the direct cause of harm.

An expert witness must testify to this, unless the medical negligence is apparent and even a layperson would understand how and why the mistake was malpractice.

Our page on Medical Malpractice provides more information on claims arising from medical negligence.

What should I expect after I have filed my medical malpractice claim?

During settlement negotiations, the medical malpractice insurance carrier will generally offer a designated amount of money in exchange for you giving up your right to pursue a lawsuit. If you accept, you may not change your mind even if it turns out that your injuries are more serious than you originally believed. This is why an attorney should review the settlement offer before you accept anything.

For more information about the settlement process, please see our page, What is a Settlement?

At trial, you must prove medical negligence by a preponderance of the evidence to obtain compensation. The jury will award damages only if you prove more likely than not that medical malpractice occurred.

For more information, please see our page, What is a Verdict?

Keep in mind: Settlement negotiations can continue even after your injury or wrongful death claim goes to court.

What are some of the challenges I will face in my medical malpractice case?

Medical malpractice cases often come down to a battle of the experts. You must have the right witnesses to overcome the challenges in your case.

Illinois law requires an affidavit swearing that a healthcare professional has reviewed your situation and believes you have a credible claim for malpractice. Illinois Law section 2-622 explains the affidavit requirement, which is intended to ensure claims are legitimate.

Unfortunately, it can be challenging to find medical professionals willing to testify against their peers. Working with a qualified attorney who routinely handles malpractice claims is a good idea, as your attorney will have an established network of medical experts who can review your case and testify on your behalf.

Another challenge in medical malpractice cases is that your physician may try to argue that your underlying condition, and not medical negligence, is the cause of the harm experienced.  It is important to have an expert witness on your side who can refute this assertion.

What kinds of compensation can I expect to recover in a medical malpractice lawsuit?

Knowing what your case is worth is important. Once you settle or a jury decides your case, there is no way to recover more compensation.

This compensation typically will include payment of medical bills and costs, lost income, pain and suffering, emotional distress or wrongful death damages.

Medical malpractice damages should include not just payment for costs incurred to-date but also any expected future treatment expenses or lost income the malpractice caused.

You have the legal burden of proving the extent of your damages.

For more information, see How Much is My Case Worth?

What are my rights if a family member died because of medical malpractice?

You may be able to file a wrongful death claim against the healthcare provider responsible for causing your loved one’s death. However, there are specific legal requirements you must fulfill to make a successful wrongful death claim.

Our page on Wrongful Death provides detailed information on this type of claim.

Generally, in wrongful death malpractice cases, you must show the physician or care provider was negligent in a way that directly caused the death. You also must demonstrate that you are a close family member, such as a spouse or minor child of the person killed, and that you suffered financial loss due to the untimely death.

Compensation for a wrongful death claim may include payment of the deceased’s medical bills as well as payment of funeral costs. You may also seek compensation for lost companionship and the loss of income/financial support from the deceased.

How much do attorneys charge to help clients in medical malpractice cases?

At Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C., you pay legal fees for attorney representation only if you recover compensation. It is often possible to obtain a larger settlement or verdict if you have the assistance of an experienced legal professional.

Attorneys’ fees are based on a percentage of the money obtained, so your interest in maximizing compensation is directly aligned with your lawyer’s interests.

Our attorneys offer free consultations and can explain in detail how we will maximize your compensation.

Contact us today to set up a consultation with a member of our legal team.

Who can be held responsible for nursing home abuse and neglect?

Neglect typically occurs because of nursing home policies or because of staff that fail to do their jobs. Staff members can be held accountable, but they are not the only ones to blame and may not be the best defendants to pursue a case against.

A nursing home is responsible for neglect if it has substandard policies and/or fails to ensure that staff members are qualified and are providing adequate care to patients. Nursing homes are also responsible in situations where employees are negligent in performing work tasks.

The Illinois Civil Jury Instructions on vicarious liability and agency rules explain how a staff member acts on behalf of a nursing home and thus makes the home liable for his or her behavior.

The ability to hold the nursing home accountable is important. This is because individual staff members may not have sufficient insurance or assets to cover losses caused by neglect or maltreatment.

Our page on Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect provides more information on legal responsibility for a failure to provide adequate care to seniors in a nursing home.

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What Are Common Medical Malpractice Cases?

Medical negligence can be committed by a hospital, doctor, nurse, dentist or any other medical professional. It can arise in a wide range of situations, including:

Birth Injury

BIRTH INJURIES A doctor or nurse may fail to notice signs of trouble or act in a timely manner when emergencies arise during pregnancy, labor and delivery. Brain injuries, cerebral palsy, brachial plexus injuries and nerve damage are common birth injuries. They can adversely affect a child’s quality of life and lead to costly medical needs.

Anesthesia-Injection

ANESTHESIA ERRORS Anesthesiologists may make errors with drug administration, machine operation, airway management, breathing circuit / ventilation, fluid and electrolyte management, IV apparatus use and monitoring devices.

Surgery Error

SURGICAL ERRORS A wrong-site surgery can occur when a doctor amputates the wrong limb or operates on the wrong area of the body. Other surgical mistakes include using unsanitary tools, failing to identify infections in a timely manner, perforating bowels, puncturing an organ and leaving gauze, clamps or other instruments inside a body.

 emergency room wrong treatment

EMERGENCY ROOM ERRORS Even in the hectic environment of an emergency room, healthcare professionals owe a duty of care to their patients. Rushing through an examination could cause doctors, nurses or others to miss opportunities for treatment. Strokes and heart attacks, for instance, are often misdiagnosed in the ER. Researchers who studied the cases of 1,935 patients seen over seven days in one emergency room said they found errors in almost every aspect of emergency care.

 prescribes wrong drug

MEDICATION ERRORS These errors can occur when a doctor prescribes the wrong medication or dosage or fails to note serious drug allergies. A pharmacist can also incorrectly fill a prescription with the wrong drug.

x-ray misdiagnosis

RADIOLOGY ERRORS A misread X-ray, CT scan or MRI may lead to the failure to diagnose cancer or another serious medical condition. A study published in BMJ found that an estimated 40,500 adults being treated in intensive care units die each year due to misdiagnosis.

Electrocardiogram

MISDIAGNOSIS Doctors may take incomplete medical histories, ignore symptoms of serious medical conditions such as cancer, stroke or infections or fail to order necessary tests, leading to a missed or delayed diagnosis.

 

Other Common Causes Include:

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What Should You Do If You Believe You Are a Victim of Medical Negligence?

If you believe that you or a loved one has suffered harmed due to medical negligence as described above or in any other situation, you should contact an experienced Chicago attorney without delay.

A lawyer can serve as a liaison between you and the hospital or the insurance companies who contact you. The attorney can also begin immediate work on the investigation of your case. Often, steps may need to be taken right away to ensure that important evidence is preserved.

When you meet with a lawyer, you should expect the lawyer to ask questions such as:

  • What medical condition led you or your loved one to seek treatment?
  • When did you receive treatment for the condition?
  • Where did you receive treatment?

  • Who provided the treatment to you?
  • What specific treatment did the medical professional provide?
  • How has the treatment hurt you physically, emotionally and financially?

It will help if you can compile medical records, invoices and insurance statements. However, if you cannot track down those documents, it should not stop you from getting legal help.

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How Does a Medical Malpractice Claim Work in Illinois?

Pursuing a claim in Illinois can be a complex and time-consuming process. The initial steps in the case will include:

  • Getting copies of your medical records
  • Asking medical professionals to review your records
  • Interviewing witnesses.

Once the initial investigation is complete, your lawyer will file a lawsuit, or complaint. The complaint typically is filed in the Circuit Court in the Illinois county where the medical malpractice occurred. However, a complaint could also be filed in a federal court.

In Illinois, a complaint must include an affidavit, or sworn statement, from your lawyer. The affidavit must state:

  • Your lawyer consulted with a medical expert
  • The expert was qualified to review your case by virtue of experience and demonstrated competence
  • The expert has determined in a written report that there is a “reasonable and meritorious cause” for filing a lawsuit in your case.

How long it takes to resolve your case after the filing of a complaint will depend on the other side’s cooperation with answering questions and providing documents relevant to your case.

This is a formal evidence-gathering process called “discovery.” In some situations, a court order may need to be obtained to force the other side to comply with a discovery request.

The time it takes to resolve the claims process also will depend on whether the medical professional involved in your case is willing to admit fault and agree to a full and fair settlement of your claim.

In many cases, a claim can be resolved without the need to go to trial. However, if a malpractice settlement cannot be reached, you can be assured that your

lawyer from Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C. will be well-prepared to take your case to trial.

A trial may focus on both establishing the medical professional’s legal responsibility, or “liability,” and the amount of damages you should recover. In some situations, fault may be admitted, and a trial may focus only on damages.

Settlement talks may continue through trial or even after a verdict is returned.

Once a settlement or verdict is reached in your case, your lawyer will work efficiently to resolve any claims that may be attached to your recovery, account for your legal fees and case costs and disburse the funds you are due.

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How Long Do You Have to File a Claim in Illinois?

As you consider taking action in your malpractice case, you should keep in mind the statute of limitations that applies to your case. The statute of limitations is the time period you have to file a lawsuit in court.

Under Illinois law, you have two years from the date you knew or reasonably should have known that a negligent act or omission occurred in your case. However, in no case can you bring a claim more than four years after that date.

A special rule applies when a minor, or a patient under age 18, is the victim of medical negligence. The minor is allowed eight years from the date of the act or omission to bring a claim, or until he or she turns age 22.

If a claim involves the wrongful death of a loved one, the statute of limitations is two years from the death of the death.

As you can see from the above, much goes into investigating and preparing a claim in Illinois. So, you should contact a medical negligence attorney as soon as possible in order to ensure your claim is timely filed.

What Can You Recover in a Claim?

When you pursue a medical malpractice claim in Illinois, you can seek to recover all damages caused by the medical negligence, including compensation for:

  • Past and future medical expenses
  • Lost past and future income
  • Scarring and disfigurement

  • Mental anguish
  • Loss of quality of life
  • Pain and suffering.

You cannot recover punitive damages in an Illinois medical malpractice claim. Different damages may be pursued if the case involves a wrongful death.

An Illinois statute places a cap on the amount that can be recovered in non-economic damages such as a pain and suffering. However, the Illinois Supreme Court has ruled that the cap is unconstitutional. Click here for other frequently asked medical malpractice questions.

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Contact a Medical Malpractice Attorney Today

The Chicago lawyers of Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C. can begin an immediate investigation of your medical malpractice case in Chicago or elsewhere in Illinois. We can also consult with highly qualified medical experts who can review your case and help us to assess why you or a loved one suffered harm.

Strict time limits apply to filing claims in Illinois. This makes it important to take immediate action if you believe that you or a loved one was harmed by the negligence of a medical professional.

When you are ready to act, contact the attorneys of Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C. We are ready to use our skills, experience and resources to help you seek the justice you deserve. Schedule a free, confidential consultation today by contacting us today by phone or online.

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