Who Can Be Sued for Medical Malpractice?
Medical professionals, including but not limited to doctors, nurses, dentists, and therapists, can be sued for malpractice. Hospitals and clinics can also be sued because they are responsible for the conduct of their employees and for other medical professionals who provide services in their facilities. All owe patients a duty of care.
If you pursue legal action against a healthcare provider for breach of that duty, an Affidavit of Merit must accompany the initial complaint filed in civil court. In the Affidavit, a qualified medical expert states that he or she believes malpractice has been committed.
Basic Elements of a Claim
There are four basic elements required to pursue a claim of fault or liability against a healthcare provider in Illinois:
- There was a doctor-patient relationship. The doctor was rendering treatment or care to you as their patient.
- The doctor was negligent. The doctor failed to adhere to their duty of care to you as their patient.
- The negligence led to an injury. The doctor’s failure to adhere to their duty of care resulted in injuries you sustained as their patient.
- The injury caused damages. The injury caused you to incur non-economic and economic damages.
In your claim, you must assert the standard of care breached by the healthcare provider, prove the provider breached that standard, and demonstrate that breach of care caused your injuries.
Under Illinois law, patients can sue for compensatory damages and non-economic damages in medical malpractice claims. Compensatory damages include things such as medical expenses, lost wages, and other quantifiable losses. Non-economic, or “general” damages include less quantifiable losses like pain and suffering, permanent disability, disfigurement, and loss of future earning capacity.
How Legal Counsel Can Help
Medical malpractice claims are complex and often difficult to prove. You need an attorney with experience in medical malpractice and negligence law, one who understands complicated medical issues, and one who has relationships with knowledgeable and respected medical experts who can attest to a defendant’s breach of the duty of care.