A Chicago Medical Malpractice Attorney will Advocate for Victims and Families
Filing a medical malpractice lawsuit in Chicago is exceptionally complex. Medical professionals and their insurance companies fight back ferociously. In addition, strict procedural rules need to be followed, volumes of medical records need to be analyzed, and the plaintiff’s burden of proof is substantial.
If you believe you were harmed by a medical professional’s error or negligence, contact a Chicago medical malpractice attorney from Cameron and Kane LLC as soon as possible. We’ll analyze your claim, provide you with options, and help you make a decision. It is important to keep in mind the clock is ticking, and our consultations and analysis are always free for you.
Medical Malpractice Statute of Limitations in Chicago
The first thing plaintiffs need to be aware of is the statute of limitations. In Illinois, the statute of limitations is two years for medical malpractice claims, which means a plaintiff has only two years from the date on which the plaintiff actually knew, “or through the use of reasonable diligence should have known,” about the injury that was caused by the healthcare professional’s malpractice. Against a government entity, there is only a one-year statute, so you must be very careful to get your lawsuit filed on time against government medical providers like Stroger Hospital.
What is the Chicago Medical Malpractice Affidavit of Merit?
Illinois lawmakers have also seen fit to saddle prospective plaintiffs with what’s called an “Affidavit of Merit,” which must be attached to the Complaint—this is the document that initiates a lawsuit. The affidavit states the plaintiff has visited a healthcare professional who (as abridged):
- Is knowledgeable regarding the medical issues inherent to the case,
- Currently practices or teaches (or has practiced or taught within the past six years) in the area of medicine pertinent to the plaintiff’s case, and
- Has experience and competence in the lawsuit’s subject matter.
The affidavit must include a written report from the consulted health professional stating “there is a reasonable and meritorious cause” for the lawsuit.
If the plaintiff is unable to get the required consultation because of the approaching statute of limitations deadline, the affidavit and documentation must be filed within 90 days after the filing of the Complaint. Failure to file an affidavit will be grounds for the dismissal of your claim.
How Do I Determine if I Have a Medical Malpractice Case in Chicago?
Another reason medical malpractice can be difficult to prove is that medical professionals (as potential expert witnesses) tend to refuse to participate when confronted with questions about mistakes their colleagues may have made. This is presumably because they expect the same cooperation if they are ever accused of malpractice (kind of like, “you scratch my back, I scratch yours”).
Here are a few signs that indicate you may have a valid medical malpractice claim, including:
- Lack of Informed Consent. Most medical procedures come along with potential risks and complications. These should be thoroughly explained by medical personnel before the procedure is actually performed. When medical personnel fails to do this, there may be a finding of lack of informed consent.
- A Healthcare Provider Informs You a Mistake was Made. Recent client advocate groups have developed a system for healthcare providers to address medical errors, recommend honesty with patients and/or their families when a medical error has occurred, an apology for any such mistakes, voluntary compensation for these mistakes, conducting an investigation regarding the cause of the mistake, and updating patients regarding the progress of the investigation. Although these principles are certainly commendable, most medical personnel simply ignore them.
- Extraordinary Consequences. Medical personnel must explain the risks and benefits of reasonably foreseeable consequences but have no obligation to describe highly unusual risks. However, when a patient does experience a highly unusual outcome after treatment, that may be a sign a mistake occurred.
A Chicago Medical Malpractice Attorney from Cameron and Kane LLC Can Help You if You Believe You Have a Medical Malpractice Claim
Nonetheless, time is critical. Medical malpractice claims are complicated and time-consuming, and you don’t want your attorneys scrambling at the last minute to meet the filing deadline. Contact a Chicago medical malpractice attorney immediately for your free consultation.