Chicago Medical Malpractice Lawyers
Record-Setting Results for Victims Across Illinois
We trust doctors, nurses, and other health care providers to meet established standards of their profession. Unfortunately, they don’t always meet their duty of care, or may make critical errors which compromise patient safety, and increase risks for profound or permanent harm.
When substandard care results in preventable injuries, Power Rogers & Smith, L.L.P. believes victims and families have the right to justice and fair compensation for their damages. As proven medical malpractice attorneys, we know we have the resources to help.
Questions about medical malpractice? Call (312) 313-0202.
A Leader in Illinois Medical Malpractice Law
Power Rogers & Smith, L.L.P. is a Chicago-based trial practice recognized nationally for our work in complex medical malpractice cases – as well as our record-results.
In addition to recovering over $4 billion for clients – $900M more than our closest competitor for ten consecutive years – our firm has obtained some of the most substantial and noteworthy medical malpractice results in the country, setting local, state, and national records along the way. Our track record includes:
- Largest medical malpractice verdict in Illinois state history ($55M);
- Largest birth injury settlement in Illinois history ($35M)
- Largest settlement for a brain damaged minor in Illinois history ($40M)
- Largest medical malpractice settlement / case result in Cook County in 2016 ($47.5M)
- Illinois record for largest loss of consortium recovery ($15M)
Malpractice Cases We Handle
- Hospital Negligence
- Emergency Room Errors
- Medication Errors
- Anesthesia Errors
- Hemorrhagic Stroke
- Sepsis / Septic Shock
- Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)
Proving Medical Negligence
Medical malpractice is a civil “tort” brought against medical professionals whose mistakes, negligence, and / or substandard performance cause patients harm. Although these cases are highly fact specific, there are a few general elements that must be demonstrated in any medical malpractice lawsuit. These include:
- Legal Duty – For there to be any valid basis for a medical malpractice claim, a legitimate doctor-patient relationship must be proven. That means plaintiffs will need to show they were in fact being treated by the provider against whom their claims are made, and that a bona fide doctor-patient relationship existed at the time of the alleged incident.
- Breach of Duty – When professional health care providers treat patients, they assume legal obligations for safely and competently providing care. This is known as their “duty of care,” and it generally requires practitioners to treat patients in accordance with the accepted standards of their profession (or specialty). To prevail in a medical malpractice case, it must be shown that the provider failed to meet the accepted standards of care, and therefore breached their duty of care. Though every case is unique, a departure from accepted standards is generally proven by illustrating how a provider failed to act in the manner a reasonably careful provider would have acted in the same or similar circumstances.
- Causation – Proving a breach of duty is only the first step in substantiating a malpractice claim; plaintiffs must additionally establish the link between the breach and the harm they claim to have suffered as a result. Given the highly technical nature of the practice of medicine, proving causation can be extremely difficult; meticulous investigations, collaboration with medical experts, and extensive knowledge of the law are crucial to proving medical negligence as a proximate cause of the injuries claimed.
- Damages – Medical malpractice claims allow victims to recover financial compensation for their damages (including their past and future pain and suffering, financial losses, and emotional injuries, among others). If there are no damages, there is no case – and if victims did in fact incur damages, a full accounting of their past and future losses is crucial to recovering the full amount of compensation they need and deserve.
Illinois Medical Malpractice Laws: What You Need to Know
If you or a loved one suffered preventable harm due to what you believe is medical malpractice, the most important step you can take is to consult experienced attorneys as soon as possible. The laws governing malpractice claims, and the many nuanced challenges of negotiating or litigating fair settlements or verdicts, are quite complex – even for many lawyers.
At PRS, our attorneys can help you understand how medical malpractice lawsuits work, what laws may apply to your case, and what your rights are when it comes to taking legal action.
While we strongly encourage families to seek personalized case evaluations, we also know it’s important to provide the facts about medical malpractice laws in Illinois. Here are a few important things to know:
What Medical Malpractice Looks Like
Medical malpractice, like other matters of the law, is dependent on the facts and circumstances of each individual claim. What may appear to be malpractice to the untrained eye may not be malpractice under the law – especially as there are inherent risks to obtaining medical treatment, and because there are generally no guarantees patients will be satisfied with medical results.
Still, when patients suffer harm due to substandard care and failures to meet legal duties, there may be a valid basis for a medical malpractice lawsuit. What that lawsuit alleges, however, can vary widely. Take these examples:
- A mother suffering a maternal birth injury due to her OB\GYN failing to identify potential risk factors which should have been diagnosed given the evidence during pregnancy (i.e. high blood pressure, gestational diabetes, etc.);
- Surgical errors involving operating physicians who leave surgical tools, instruments, or other foreign objects in a patient’s body after a procedure;
- Administrative failures involving paperwork, documentation, and other tools providers use when assessing and treating patients that lead to preventable injuries (i.e. wrong-site surgery, medication mistakes, etc.);
- Failures to monitor patients for signs of distress which may lead to complications or injuries if treatment is delayed or not provided whatsoever (i.e. failure to adequately monitor fetal heart rate during childbirth, and respond appropriately);
- Diagnostic errors which result in patient harm, either because no treatment was provided, treatment was delayed, or the wrong treatment was given.
Read more about the most common types of medical malpractice claims.
There Are Time Limitations in Place
Victims and families looking to hold negligent health care providers liable for damages have a limited amount of time to file their claims. Under Illinois law (735 ILCS 5/13-212(a)), medical malpractice claims against physicians and other providers are generally subject to a two-year statute of limitations. However, certain factors may toll or extend the statutory timeframe.
Illinois medical malpractice statute of limitations:
- Within 2 years from the date of injury or death or the date on which the plaintiff knew, or should have known, of the link between malpractice and injuries / death, but not more than 4 years from the date of injury or death.
- Within 8 years of the date on which the malpractice occurred if the victim was under 18 at the time, but no later than the victim’s 22nd birthday.
Because plaintiffs are barred from filing lawsuits and recovering damages beyond the statute of limitations, it is strongly encouraged anyone with a potential claim consult an attorney as soon as possible.
Defendants: Holding Negligent Parties Accountable
Depending on the individual facts of a case, victims may bring medical malpractice lawsuits against various parties. This may include individuals such as a negligent doctor, a nurse or physician’s assistant, or an anesthesiologist, or entities like hospitals, medical groups, and other health care providers that breached their duty of care, among others.
Though a skilled attorney can help you determine the defendant(s) to be named in your claim, it is vital to note that whether they are an individual solo practitioner or a major medical group, hospital, or health system, defendants will want to protect themselves, their reputations, and their bottom lines.
What’s more, insurance companies from which providers purchase malpractice insurance – and which typically defend their insured in court – also go to great lengths to dispute, deny, or underpay claims. It is, after all, their money. Because of these realities, it takes a skilled attorney to ensure fair, full compensation for damages that were caused by medical negligence.
Your Right to a Recovery of Damages
Medical malpractice lawsuits are important for several reasons. Apart from holding negligent providers accountable, sending a message that substandard care is not to be tolerated, and protecting other patients from suffering similar fates in the future, these claims offer victims an opportunity to recover financial compensation for their damages.
Although every victim or family will incur their unique losses, plaintiffs in medical malpractice claims are generally entitled to a recovery of their physical, financial, and emotional damages. In rare cases – particularly those involving egregious acts of misconduct – punitive damages may be sought as a means to further punish wrongdoers.
Recoverable damages in medical malpractice include:
- Pain and suffering
- Lost income / reduced earning potential
- Emotional distress / mental anguish
- Loss of enjoyment or quality of life
- Medical expenses (past and future)
- Lost future wages
- Loss of consortium (awarded to victims’ spouses)
- Funeral and burial expenses (wrongful death)
- Grief and sorrow (wrongful death)
Securing full compensation is critical for victims, especially when serious or permanent injuries necessitate long-term medical needs or a lifetime of medical care. In addition to collaborating with experts to establish malpractice, our team also leverages expert insight to calculate past and future damages – and fight for the maximum compensation possible.
Do I Need a Lawyer?
No law requires plaintiffs to have legal representation when filing a medical malpractice claim, but no lawyer would recommend anyone ever try. Medical malpractice lawsuits are notoriously complex, and they require an immense amount of resources and experience to effectively prepare and litigate.
What’s more, defendants against whom these claims are filed – and especially the insurance companies which represent them – are the same parties which consistently back so-called “tort reform,” and lobby lawmakers to pass legislation that limits a victim’s access to the courts. These efforts, which result in unfair laws like damages caps, show medical insurers value profits more than people, and act to shield providers against any claims of liability at the expense of someone who is seriously injured.
Skilled attorneys – ones who have demonstrated success in this unique area of law – can guide victims through difficult and emotionally turbulent legal journeys step by step, and provide the resources and firepower needed to take on powerful opponents.
Call to Request a FREE Consultation: (312) 313-0202
Medical malpractice claims are among the most challenging “torts” in the civil justice system, and they demand a great deal of experience, expert knowledge, and determination to effectively resolve. According to the Cook County Jury Verdict Reporter, less than 30% of medical malpractice victims in Cook County win their cases.
At Power Rogers & Smith, our legal team is equipped to help victims prepare winning medical malpractice claims, level the playing field with powerful corporate defendants and insurers, and fight for the justice and compensation they deserve. Our reputation as proven trial lawyers, record of notable cases, and respect earned for only pursuing meritorious cases, precedes us and helps our clients prevail.
If you have questions about a potential medical malpractice case anywhere in Chicago or the state of Illinois, call (312) 313-0202 or contact us online to speak with an attorney. Consultations are free and confidential.