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The Basics of Illinois Medical Malpractice

If you have suffered an injury during medical treatment, you may have a legitimate medical malpractice claim. Each state has its own medical malpractice laws. Illinois malpractice law dictates a number of things, such as how much time an injured patient has to file a lawsuit.

If you are planning to file an Illinois malpractice claim, you should have a basic knowledge of medical malpractice in Illinois. You should also look into contacting Illinois malpractice attorneys, who can assist you with filing a case against the medical professional or institution that is at fault.

What is Illinois Malpractice?

Medical malpractice in Illinois occurs when a doctor or other healthcare professional or institution breaches the standard of care when treating a patient, resulting in an injury or death. The standard of care is the generally accepted set of standards and practices that other medical professionals would take when treating a similar patient. There are a number of variables to consider when assessing the standard of care, such as the patient's age and the specifics of his or her condition. Violating the standard of care is known as medical negligence.

This negligence must result in an injury, and you, the injured patient, must prove that the medical professional's negligence directly caused your injuries.

What Constitutes Treatment?

People often think of treatment as medicine that is administered to treat a disease. But treatment can include a number of things, especially when it comes to Illinois malpractice claims.

In some instances, a misdiagnosis can be considered treatment in a medical malpractice case. Other times, prescribing the wrong medication or failing to administer a certain procedure could constitute medical malpractice. Basically, if it results in an injury to a patient and is caused by medical negligence, there is a good chance that it will count as an actionable incident, meaning that you can sue for medical malpractice.

Illinois Statute of Limitations for Medical Malpractice

All states have laws that create time limits that specify how long a patient can wait to sue a medical professional before his or her medical malpractice claim expires. This time limit is known as the statute of limitations.

According to Illinois malpractice law, the patient has up to two years from the date the patient knew or should have known of the injury to file a lawsuit against a medical professional, including doctors, dentists, and nurses. In addition, under no circumstances does Illinois malpractice law allow a patient to bring a lawsuit more than four years after the medically negligent act occurred.

Illinois also has a special statute of limitations for patients who are minors at the time medical malpractice occurs. Specifically, those under the age of 18 have up to eight years to file a lawsuit, as long as the suit is filed before the patient turns 22.

Because of these strict limitations on when a patient may bring a suit, it is important to contact a medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible after your injury occurs.

Illinois Medical Malpractice Damages

When you file suit for medical malpractice, you are attempting to collect what are known as damages. Damages are awards given to those who file legitimate claims to compensate them for things including medical bills, wages lost due to work days missed, as well as pain and suffering.

Many states have laws that limit how much an injured patient may receive in a medical malpractice case. In Illinois, there are no caps on compensatory damages, which includes money for medical bills. Technically there are caps on non-economic damages, which compensate a victim for things such as pain and suffering, but these have been ruled unconstitutional in past court cases.

In addition to compensatory and non-economic damages, some states allow patients to seek punitive damages in medical malpractice cases. These damages punish healthcare professionals and institutions for malicious wrongdoing. Illinois medical malpractice law, however, does not allow patients to seek punitive damages.