Illinois Medical Malpractice Law

What to do when dealing with medical malpractice in Illinois.

Illinois Medical Malpractice

Medical malpractice occurs when a doctor, hospital, or other health care provider fails to adhere to the standard of care and a patient is injured or dies as a result. Each state has its own laws regarding medical malpractice, but in Illinois, a plaintiff must show the following in order to assert a medical malpractice claim:

(1) the standard of care in the medical community by which the physician’s treatment was measured (i.e. duty);

(2) that the physician deviated from the standard of care (i.e. breach of duty); and

(3) that a resulting injury was proximately caused by the deviation from the standard of care.

Types of Illinois Medical Malpractice Claims

Medical malpractice involves any deviation from the standard of care that a doctor, hospital, or other healthcare provider owes to a patient. Some of the most common types of medical malpractice claims include:

  • Birth Injuries and Obstetrical Negligence
  • Emergency Room Malpractice
  • Hospital Malpractice
  • Surgical Errors
  • Diagnostic Errors
  • Anesthesia Errors
  • Medication Errors
  • Unauthorized Treatment
  • Breaches of Doctor-Patient Confidentiality
  • Unnecessary medical treatment or procedures

Damages for Medical Malpractice Claims in Illinois

If the plaintiff succeeds in proving that the defendant is liable for medical malpractice, he or she may be able to collect money damages for: medical expenses, lost wages, household services, pain and suffering, permanent disability, and disfigurement. Some states place damage caps on noneconomic damages (like pain and suffering), but Illinois does not have any damage caps on medical malpractice damage awards. Although Illinois legislatures have adopted tort reform legislation that included caps on non-economic damages for medical malpractice claims two times in the past, both laws were declared unconstitutional and are not enforced.

Illinois Statute of Limitations for Medical Malpractice Claims

The statute of limitations to file a medical malpractice lawsuit in Illinois is generally two years from the date the claimant knew or reasonably should have known of the injury. If the patient was under the age of eighteen when the alleged medical malpractice occurred, the statute of limitation extends to eight years from the date of the alleged act or omission, but an action may not be filed after the minor claimant’s 22nd birthday. If the claimant is mentally incompetent, the statute of limitations does not begin to run until the disability is removed.

If medical malpractice results in death, the wrongful death two-year statute of limitations period begins to run on the date of the decedent’s death.

Liability Issues Involved in Illinois Medical Malpractice Claims

Illinois follows a form of modified comparative negligence, whereby a medical malpractice action is barred only if the claimant’s contributory fault is more than 50 percent of the proximate cause of the injury or damage for which recovery is sought. If the claimant is less than 50 percent at fault for the injuries, he or she may still pursue a claim, but the financial recovery is reduced in proportion to the claimant’s percentage of fault.

Defendants in an Illinois medical malpractice action are jointly and severally liable for all damages. In other words, if there is more than one negligent party (such as a doctor and a hospital), the plaintiff may file a medical malpractice claim seeking full recovery from any defendant.

Because the legal issues involved with an Illinois medical malpractice lawsuit are complex and involve a comprehensive factual investigation, it is important to consult with a skilled Illinois medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible.

Know Your Rights!

Illinois Medical Malpractice Lawyers

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