Medical malpractice happens more often than the general public realizes. Though many healthcare professionals are hard-working, decent people who are doing their best to help their patients, the unfortunate truth is that there are healthcare professionals out there failing to do right by their patients. It’s not uncommon for a tired and frustrated physician to forget to look up their patient’s medical history or to provide a generic prescription without considering the ramifications given the patient’s unique conditions.
If you’ve been injured due to medical malpractice, then it’s important that you consider your options. To have your case evaluated, we encourage you to contact Parker & Parker to set up an initial consultation.
What Constitutes Medical Negligence?
Medical negligence spans a wide variety of faults, including but not limited to:
- Failure to correctly diagnose the condition
- Delayed diagnosis
- Improper treatment
- Failing to administer medical procedures properly
- Continuing to use known defective equipment
- Failure to sanitize equipment/environment
- Surgical errors
- And more
Though the above situations may seem “straightforward” at first glance, it’s important to understand that your action will be complicated by a fundamental question: whether the treating healthcare professional responsible for the harm actually committed medical negligence.
As a medical malpractice plaintiff, you might be somewhat confused by the thin line drawn between serious medical negligence (which gives rise to a malpractice claim) and a mistake that does not entitle you to damages.
Simply put, a healthcare professional can be held liable for medical negligence if they violated the applicable duty of care under the circumstances. If a similarly situated healthcare professional would not have committed the error at-issue, then the duty of care has likely been violated. The healthcare professional duty of care varies depending on a range of factors, from age to experience to specialty and the nature of the condition being treated.
How does this work? Let’s use a basic example for clarity.
Suppose that you fracture your leg, and are seen by a physician. No matter the specialty of the physician, they should be able to evaluate your injury and determine that you either have a fracture injury or that you require a further diagnosis to identify the injury accurately. Their failure to correctly diagnose the fracture, to require further diagnosis or to refer you to a proper specialist would likely constitute medical negligence.
Now, suppose that you have a rare illness that affects your spinal cord. Given the nature of the illness, it is extremely difficult to diagnose. Even if you went straight to a neurological specialist, they might fail to diagnose the illness correctly. Their failure might not qualify as medical negligence; however, as a similarly situated healthcare professional would likely not be able to diagnose the condition accurately.
Understanding Illinois Medical Malpractice Deadlines
In Illinois, medical malpractice claims have a two-year statute of limitations deadline. This means that you have two years (from “reasonably discovering” the injury caused by the defendant’s medical malpractice) to file your claims before they are automatically dismissed. It should be noted, however, that there is a four-year statute of repose that applies to medical malpractice claims. Thus, even if you discover the medical malpractice injury at a later date, if that discovery is more than four years after the instance of medical malpractice, your claims will be dismissed.
Given the short deadlines, it’s critical that you seek out the assistance of a qualified attorney as soon as possible.
Contact Parker & Parker for Immediate Legal Assistance
Here at Parker & Parker, our attorneys have extensive experience working with medical malpractice plaintiffs in Illinois. We understand the unique challenges faced by medical malpractice plaintiffs and how well-positioned defendants are in such litigation. As such, we are thorough in investigating the case and are careful to utilize relevant, industry-trusted expert testimony to counter the aggressive defense likely to be put forth.
If you’d like to speak to one of our seasoned Peoria medical malpractice attorneys, please call us at 309-673-0069 or send us your details to schedule a free initial consultation. We look forward to working with you.