Medical malpractice refers to professional negligence by a healthcare provider that results in substandard treatment and subsequent injury to a patient.
“Medical malpractice cases in Illinois require the injured patient to have a doctor (usually through their lawyer) review their potential case and medical records, and sign a certificate stating that the case has merit before a lawsuit can be filed in court,” explained Nick Cronauer, an attorney with Cronauer Law, LLP in Sycamore. “Obtaining these certificates takes time, is expensive, and generally requires finding a doctor from outside the state of Illinois.”
According to Cronauer, because the medical community is small, doctors tend to not want to testify against other doctors in their community, even when they’re protected by malpractice insurance. Medical malpractice lawsuits can be expensive to prosecute, and generally have an 80% loss rate at trial for the harmed patient. Juries hold doctors in high regard, for good reason, making the cases harder to win. Because of the high cost and unlikelihood of success, medical malpractice cases generally require severe, life-changing injuries. Common types of medical malpractice cases include failure to diagnose disease, too soon of discharge, and surgical error.
“In a medical malpractice case, the plaintiff must prove (usually through expert testimony) that the defendant physician failed to conform to the applicable standard of care,” added Cronauer. “The same degree of knowledge and skill that an ordinarily careful professional would exercise under similar circumstances applies to all medical professionals.”
Since the law doesn’t specify how an ordinarily careful physician would act in the specific circumstance of a case, the jury must ultimately decide what is expected from medical practitioners based on the evidence of the case. Jurors apply the facts of the case to the law provided by the court, and determine the reasonableness of the doctor’s conduct and assess resulting damages.
For more information about your legal rights if you suspect medical malpractice, please contact:
Cronauer Law, LLP
1101 DeKalb Ave., Suite 2
Sycamore, IL 60178