Patients expect careful and knowledgeable treatment from medical professionals when they undergo a surgical procedure. Unfortunately, inexcusable acts of negligence happen all too often in the operating room. At the Ackerman Law Offices, our medical malpractice lawyers have helped many victims of surgical errors in the Springfield area and throughout Central Illinois. We are ready to protect your right to compensation if you have been harmed by a health care provider’s careless actions.Seeking Compensation after a Surgical Error
Like other types of personal injury cases, medical malpractice lawsuits arise under the principles of negligence. In these cases, the person seeking compensation must first prove that he or she was owed a legal duty of care by the defendant or defendants. In a malpractice case, a determination of the applicable standard of care may require expert testimony. It is generally based on what a medical professional in good standing and in a similar specialty and geographic area to the defendant would have done in the same situation.
Once the duty of care has been established, the victim must next prove that it was breached by careless conduct, such as a surgical error. Examples of common surgical errors include:
- Removing the wrong organ;
- Operating on the wrong side;
- Performing a procedure on the wrong patient;
- Failing to promptly recognize complications, such as excessive bleeding or infection;
- Leaving a sponge or a piece of medical equipment inside a patient’s body; or
- Using unsanitary equipment.
The last two elements of a medical malpractice claim require showing that the surgical error or other breach led directly to the patient’s injuries and that actual damages arose as a result. Compensation in surgical error cases can consist of both economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages include objective costs such as medical expenses and lost wages. Non-economic damages include elements such as disfigurement and scarring, loss of enjoyment of life, and pain and suffering. Currently, these are not limited in Illinois, as they are in some states.
For medical negligence claims, the statute of limitations in Illinois is generally two years. This means that an injured person must file a lawsuit against a doctor or other medical provider within two years from the date of the surgical error, or else he or she usually will be barred from pursuing compensation.
There are a few limited exceptions to this general rule. The first involves situations in which the patient did not, despite reasonable efforts, discover the malpractice until after the two-year period. A “statute of repose” is then triggered, and the claimant may be able to file suit up to four years from the date of the act of malpractice. There are also statute of limitations exceptions for children and certain other persons who lack the legal capacity to sue due to a disability.Discuss Your Medical Injury Claim with a Knowledgeable Central Illinois Lawyer
If you have been the victim of a medical mistake or another act of negligence in Springfield or elsewhere in Central Illinois, an injury attorney can guide you through the steps of seeking compensation for your harm. To schedule an appointment with a member of the Ackerman Law Offices, call (888) 889-1977 or use the contact form on this website. Many of our clients have come from Decatur, Bloomington, Peoria, and Champaign, as well as communities throughout Sangamon County.