May 22, 2024

Medical Malpractice in Illinois: Types, Limitations, and Settlements

Medical malpractice is the term used to describe bringing a lawsuit against a medical professional(s) or institution that is responsible for a medical error. Shockingly, a little less than 100,000 people die as a result of a medical error each year, and what’s even more shocking is that many victims aren’t aware of their rights when it comes to medication errors.

Here’s a look at medical malpractice and how it applies to Illinois specifically.

Types of Medical Malpractice

Birth Injuries

Birth injuries are injuries to an infant right before, during, or immediately after birth. Some of the most common birth injuries include:

Spinal cord injuries
Lacerations and bruises
Fractures
Death
Cerebral palsy
Brachial plexus injuries

The injuries are a result of the negligence of the medical staff, and often the entire medical facility as well.

Delayed Diagnosis/Failure to Diagnose/Misdiagnosis

Diagnoses that are late, wrong, or not diagnosed at all are all related. They all result in a patient not getting the adequate care that they need. Delays, failures, and wrong diagnoses mean that a patient’s condition will continue to worsen because they’re not getting proper treatment.

Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect

Nursing home abuse and neglect can be considered medical malpractice because nursing homes are medical settings. Some of the most common injuries that seniors experience in nursing homes include:

Falls and fractures
Choking
Bed sores

Other forms of abuse and neglect in nursing homes can be seen in the form of medication errors, bruises, and even verbal abuse.

Prescription/Medication Errors

Medication errors can occur in other medical settings, such as hospitals and other inpatient facilities. Either the wrong medication is given to a patient, or it’s the correct medication but the dosage, method, etc. is given incorrectly. This goes for both prescription and nonprescription medications.

Surgical and Anesthesia Errors

Surgical mistakes have a negative impact on a patient’s life, and can even result in permanent damage. Some of the most common types of surgical errors include:

Wrong patient/procedure
Unnecessary surgery/wrong part of the body
Tissue, nerve, or organ damage
Surgical instruments aren’t properly sterilized (resulting in infection)
Objects left behind in patients
Failure to provide adequate follow-up care

Oftentimes, anesthesia is administered during surgery, and anesthesiologists can get the amount wrong. Both too much and too little anesthesia are medical errors.

Wrongful Death

Any of these mistakes can also result in death. Wrongful death is defined as death that occurs through the negligence of another party and could have been prevented.

 

Statute of Limitation in Illinois

The statute of limitations refers to how long a patient or surviving family member has to file a lawsuit for medical malpractice. In Illinois, this time limit is two years from the date that the patient/surviving family member discovers the claim or when the patient/surviving family member receives notice of the error. It’s important to keep in mind that not everyone who is injured when they receive medical care is eligible to file a claim.

The injury has to be the direct result of the healthcare provider’s negligence. This means that certain situations, such as a drug that is later recalled,  may not be eligible for a medical malpractice lawsuit— but it may be eligible for a class action lawsuit. However, if the healthcare provider prescribed a drug that has already been recalled, then this could be grounds for medical malpractice.

Average Settlement for Medical Malpractice in Illinois

In Chicago, the average settlement for medical malpractice is around $715,000 and may be slightly less across the state. Medical errors are one of the leading causes of death in the U.S., and Illinois has one of the highest averages for settlements for medical malpractice. In fact, Illinois is only number two to Maine. However, it’s important to keep in mind that your settlement may or may not be equal to this amount. Factors that affect your settlement include:

Type and severity of the injury
Medical provider’s insurance policy
Evidence available to prove the claim

If you believe that you or a family member was a victim of medical malpractice, it’s best to contact a medical malpractice lawyer to better understand your claim and what you can expect as a settlement.

It’s important to understand medical malpractice and your rights when it comes to medical errors. Not all medical errors can be eligible for a medical malpractice lawsuit, and keep in mind that not all settlements will look the same.

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