Illinois Medical Malpractice Lawsuits
How Do I File a Lawsuit Against a Doctor for Malpractice?
Medical negligence and medical malpractice lawsuits are governed in Illinois by the Healing Arts Malpractice Act.
Generally, when a doctor, surgeon, nurse, or other medical professional commits malpractice causing injury to the patient, it involves a multi-step process to determine whether there is a case, who are the target defendants, and then to initiate the lawsuit.
Unlike ordinary negligence cases, which usually require nothing more than the filing of a lawsuit to initiate a case, medical and dental malpractice cases require a health professional (generally in the same area of expertise as the alleged target defendant doctor) to review the medical records and execute an affidavit (pursuant to Section 2-622 of the Act, known as a 622 affidavit) stating that he or she believes the standard of care was not followed in your case. This is required merely to FILE the lawsuit. In other words, before you can even file suit, your medical records must be obtained and reviewed by an expert, and the expert must create the affidavit attached to the complaint that initiates the lawsuit.
Do I Need a Lawyer to Sue in Illinois for Medical Malpractice?
Once a medical malpractice case is begun, the costs and expenses spiral upward from there, as both sides typically retain highly paid experts, many depositions are taken, and most of these cases proceed all the way to trial.
Since these cases are always costly to prosecute, it is only the most serious injuries and most egregious mistakes that are litigated. Many medical errors do not even proceed to lawsuit, and no remedy is available.
Therefore, if you, or someone you know, is harmed by a medical professional, there are a few things that should always be done:
- The injured person or relative should contact a lawyer first. This is important, as there is a strict time limit of 2 years in which a lawsuit must be filed. Because there is a lot of work that must be done before the suit can be filed (records obtained, reviewed, and 622 affidavit created), the sooner, the better. Do not delay.
- Most importantly, if you feel a doctor did something wrong or caused injury, get a second opinion. You should get yourself healthy first, and worry about a potential case second.
- If you have your medical records from this treatment, keep them and ask the lawyer you speak to if he or she wants to review them or obtain copies himself. Sometimes when the client obtains copies, it saves costs and time. In some rare cases, it sets off no red alert alarms, which keeps the medical records intact. In very rare cases, attempts are made to alter medical records after they are ordered by a lawyer!
Contact a Chicago Medical Malpractice Attorney for a Free Consultation
If you would like to speak to a lawyer about your Illinois medical malpractice case, we welcome you to contact the Law Office of Stephen L. Hoffman for a free consultation. Experienced and caring Chicago medical practice attorney Stephen Hoffman is available to answer your questions.