Medical Malpractice Lawyers
The Collins Law Firm represents people from all over Illinois whose lives have been torn apart by medical negligence. Our experienced medical malpractice lawyers fight for justice for victims who have been injured and for the families of people who have been killed by the negligent acts of medical personnel.
When you go to the doctor, emergency room, or hospital, you put a certain amount of trust in health care practitioners to give you the care you need. When doctors, nurses, or other staff violate that trust, however, you are often left worse off than before, and likely dealing with mounting medical bills, negative long-term health effects, and the loss of your independence. Do not give up hope. Our experienced, Naperville, Illinois medical malpractice attorneys are dedicated to fighting on behalf of victims and the families of victims of medical malpractice just like you. We fight for justice, so you can focus on your recovery.Frequently Asked Questions:
- How Serious a Problem is Medical Malpractice?
- What Is Medical Malpractice?
- Do You Have a Medical Malpractice Claim?
- What Kinds of Medical Malpractice Cases Do We Handle?
- What Damages Can We Recover for You in a Lawsuit?
- What Makes The Collins Law Firm Different?
The unfortunate truth is that medical malpractice is not uncommon. Every year over 250,000 people die in the United States as a result of preventable medical mistakes, and thousands more are injured, according to a recent study at Johns Hopkins. The same study concluded that medical errors are the third leading cause of death in this country. In addition, a national survey of nearly 6,700 American doctors published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings found that one in ten had made a major medical error in the three months before the survey. Think about that: thousands and thousands of people who go see a doctor or enter a hospital never return or become injured or disabled. When this happens, the toll on the patient and the family is staggering.
Medical malpractice occurs when a patient is injured through the negligence of a medical care provider or institution. It takes place when a medical professional provides treatment that falls below the expected standard of care in the medical community, putting the patient at risk of injury or death. Standard of care is a term refers to what a reasonably careful physician would have done in the same or similar circumstance. Broken down, the standard of care is what procedures, actions, and methods would have been used by other medical professionals treating a patient with a similar injury, diagnosis, or set of symptoms.
In order to have a medical malpractice claim, you must meet four criteria.
- You must prove that the healthcare provider owed you a duty. In other words, you must show that you had a medical provider-patient relationship.
- You must have substantial injuries or have a loved one who has passed away as a result of the negligence of a doctor, medical professional, hospital, or health facility.
- You must prove that the healthcare provider acted negligently. It is not enough to simply be the victim of a medical mistake. Doctors and medical professionals make mistakes, and this does not automatically make their behavior medical malpractice. For a medical error to rise to the level of malpractice, the medical professional must have breached the medical standard of care.
- Finally, you must prove that the healthcare provider’s failure to provide appropriate care caused your injuries.
If you have met all four of these criteria, you may have a medical malpractice case and the healthcare provider may be liable for your resulting injuries or losses.
At The Collins Law Firm, our experienced medical malpractice attorneys fight on behalf of the victims and the families of victims of all types of medical malpractice, helping clients throughout Illinois and the Chicago area. Contact us if you are dealing with the devastating consequences of:
- Failure to diagnose: This occurs when a doctor or medical professional fails to perform the necessary tests or ask enough questions to diagnose a serious medical condition when a patient comes to them with complaints. Instead, the doctor ignores the patient’s symptoms, fails to take the patient’s complaints seriously, or suggests the problem is all in the patient’s head. The consequences can be devastating. Failure to diagnose a condition such as cancer can lead to the disease advancing to the point where it may no longer be treatable.
- Delayed diagnosis: This is similar to a failure to diagnose. However, in these cases, the doctor does eventually diagnose the patient correctly. The problem is that the delay in diagnosis may cause the patient’s disease to become much more advanced, serious, or possibly fatal.
- Misdiagnosis: This is more common than you might think. Many diseases have similar symptoms. Without taking enough tests, it is possible for a physician to diagnose one disease, when the patient is actually suffering from another illness with similar symptoms. The result is that the patient may be undergoing procedures or taking medications that are completely inappropriate. These treatments may not only harm the patient but will also prevent the patient from getting the correct help for their condition. If the underlying disease is serious, this may prove fatal.
- Medical device errors: Medical device manufacturers in this country, unfortunately, do not have to prove their device is completely safe before bringing their product to market. This means that, in some cases, patients are being used as guinea pigs for the device manufacturers, who are playing with people’s lives and health.
- Postoperative Negligence: The care that a patient receives after surgery is extremely important to his or her recovery. Failure to adequately care for a patient post-op can result in medical malpractice. Examples of conditions that result from post-operative negligence include: sepsis, internal bleeding, tissue necrosis, staphylococcus (staph) infections, MRSA infections, viral infection, urinary tract infections, blood clots or pulmonary embolism, necrotizing fasciitis.
- Birth injuries: Any injury or damage sustained by an infant during pregnancy, during delivery, or just after delivery. This can include an injury caused by excessive mechanical forces (birth trauma), oxygen deprivation (birth asphyxia), contracting an infection, or other complications. Some birth injuries are minor and resolve themselves quickly while others can cause permanent physical or mental disability. The emotional, financial, and physical toll that a serious birth injury can have on the entire family can be staggering.
- Surgical errors: Examples of surgical errors include operating on the wrong body part; operating on the wrong patient; leaving medical instruments or devices in the patient after surgery. These errors should never happen and are sometimes referred to as “never events”. Following proper safety protocol should eliminate most of these mistakes. Some hospitals, however, do not have adequate staff to ensure all patient safety protocols are followed: rushed or inadequate nursing staff, exhausted surgeons, or inexperienced residents may all contribute to this problem. Sometimes a surgery is botched simply because a surgeon does not have the experience necessary to perform a particular procedure safely. None of these situations are acceptable and can result in a medical malpractice claim.
- Medication errors: Every day, patients in and out of healthcare facilities take important, necessary medication. Medications can be a lifesaver unless they are incorrectly prescribed or dispensed. Every year preventable medication errors injure hundreds of thousands of people in the U.S. A medication error refers to any mistake made when prescribing, dispensing, or giving medications which could lead to patient harm. Medication errors can occur at many points in patient care, from the time of ordering the medication to the time when the patient receives the drug.
- Misread Ultrasounds, X-rays, or slides: Ultrasounds, MRIs, and x-rays are all critical for diagnosing certain conditions. It is essential that these tests are taken correctly and read correctly. When a test is misread, serious conditions may be missed or misdiagnosed, leading to a failure to treat the patient appropriately. Without proper care and treatment, the patient’s condition may worsen or other negative health effects may occur.
- Anesthesia errors: Examples of anesthesia mistakes include: choosing the wrong drug; administering multiple drugs that interact badly with each other; giving a patient a drug he or she is allergic to; failing to monitor vital signs and react appropriately; overdosing the patient; administering anesthesia too late; using faulty equipment; failing to intubate; and failing to use machines correctly.
- Emergency room errors: Emergency rooms can be busy, chaotic places. ER docs and staff may be stretched to their limits and decisions may be made in minutes and on very little information. This is the perfect storm for mistakes. Misdiagnoses, failure to diagnose and medication errors are all possibilities in this situation.
- Nursing and hospital staff errors: Many hospitals are experiencing nursing shortages, which reduces the level of care that patients at these hospitals receive. The result is that the nurses are tired, overworked, and stressed. With so many patients, they do not have adequate time to properly care for or monitor their patients. Rushed nurses may make medication errors or miss the signs of post-operative complications, all of which can be deadly and lead to medical malpractice.
- Hospital errors: A recent study found that hospital errors are now the third leading cause of death in the United States. A few of the most common types of hospital errors include: medication errors, anesthesia errors, unnecessary treatment, hospital-acquired infections, missed or delayed diagnosis, delay in treatment, unnecessary test and deadly procedures, surgical errors, medical device malfunctions, inadequate follow-up or monitoring after a procedure, failure to act on test results, and being discharged too early.
- Hospital-based infections (MRSA, Staph, etc.): Because viruses and bacteria are constantly being brought into hospitals by patients, staff, and visitors, infection is a common complication after surgery. When staph bacteria--which usually live on the skin and cause no harm-- enter the body of immune-compromised patients in hospitals, either through wounds, at surgical sites, or through catheters, they can cause serious infections. If these bacteria have become resistant to antibiotics, the resulting infections are called MRSA (Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus). Unfortunately, these “hospital superbugs” can have life-threatening consequences.
- Post-partum failure to monitor: Hundreds of women die of complications related to pregnancy each year in the US, and two-thirds of those deaths are preventable. The postpartum period covers the time from birth until approximately six to eight weeks after delivery. During this time a woman’s body heals from the effects of delivery. It is critical that postpartum nurses and Ob/Gyns recognize and treat potential medical complications after delivery. Life-threatening conditions that can happen after giving birth include blood clots, infections, postpartum hemorrhage, and postpartum depression.
- Wrongful death: Wrongful death simply refers to a situation where medical negligence leads to the death of a patient. Wrongful deaths caused by medical errors happen all too frequently in the United States and cause grief and suffering for families who must deal with the loss of a loved one.
In order to recover damages for a client, we must prove that the client was damaged by medical malpractice and that a dollar amount can be assigned to those damages. There are several kinds of damages available:
- General damages: these refer to non-monetary damages such as a patient’s suffering, including:
- Physical and mental pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life or consortium
- Disability and /or disfigurement
To access these damages witnesses will give evidence of the patient’s pain and loss of enjoyment of life for example. Experts may testify about what is the usual consequence of the patient’s injury or may estimate the value of the patient’s lost earning capacity.
- Special damages: These are monetary damages such as:
- Medical bills (past and future)
- Loss of past and future earnings
- Wrongful death damages: These can be recovered if a patient dies as a result of medical malpractice. These damages can be recovered under two state laws:
- Survival statutes allow the estate of the deceased to recover for damages, like pain and suffering, that occurred between the time of the malpractice and the time of death.
- Wrongful death statutes allow the family of the deceased to recover compensation for their losses, including loss of companionship, and financial losses caused by the death of the patient.
Finally, it is important to know that many states place a cap on the maximum amount of damages a patient can recover in a medical malpractice case. An experienced medical malpractice lawyer can guide you through the complex maze of applicable law in your state.
When you are pursuing compensation from hospitals, doctors, and their insurance companies, you will likely be going up against experienced, aggressive defense lawyers. This is not a time to leave your case to an inexperienced attorney. As a client of The Collins Law Firm, you will benefit from working with litigators who are known throughout the region for their willingness to fight and their ability to get excellent results on behalf of their clients. Our medical malpractice attorneys will investigate whether:
- Your doctor followed appropriate standards
- The hospital was properly staffed and whether the facilities were safe
- Your medication and vital signs were monitored properly
- Proper policies and procedures were followed
Moreover, we have the experience, experts, and resources necessary to win these complex legal cases, even against the biggest medical facilities in the state. By representing you against the institutions and individuals who have injured you, we can give you back something you may have lost. We may not be able to make your life the same as it was, but we can give you peace of mind, knowing that you will not be left with staggering expenses and that the individuals responsible will face consequences.
Despite the sobering statistics about the frequency of medical errors, certain groups are working hard to pass legislation across the country limiting access to justice for patients who have been harmed and for families who have lost a loved one due to medical negligence. At The Collins Law Firm, we strongly oppose these efforts and believe that every injured victim and every family deserves their day in court.
Moreover, we feel strongly that medical malpractice lawsuits serve another purpose: weeding out bad doctors and forcing hospitals and medical professionals to follow safety protocol to reduce medical errors overall. As medical malpractice attorneys, we take our responsibility seriously. At The Collins Law Firm, we believe it is our job not only to get justice for the victims of medical malpractice but also to hold the medical community to a certain standard: putting patients ahead of profits.When Your Future is on the Line, Call The Collins Law Firm For Help
When you have been the victim of medical malpractice, the physical, emotional, and financial toll can be huge. You need the best attorney possible to help you get justice. You have choices when hiring a medical malpractice lawyer to represent you. Put your trust in attorneys with decades of experience and a track record of recovering millions of dollars on behalf of their clients. Call our law firm at 630-527-1595 or fill out our contact form to schedule a FREE consultation and learn more about how we can help you.