As much as we would like it to be, modern medicine is not perfect. Doctors and medical facilities aren’t perfect either. Sometimes when a doctor or a hospital makes mistakes, it can result in a lifetime of suffering or even death for a patient. When patients suffer at the hands of medical professionals or hospitals, they often resort to filing medical malpractice lawsuits. Even though taking legal action against a hospital or a doctor is incredibly stressful and time-consuming, patients can often receive thousands of dollars in financial compensation for their suffering. Of course, no amount of money will ever reverse the patient’s suffering, it can provide closure and financial stability as they physically recover. You may be wondering how to sue a hospital for negligence, especially if you’ve suffered physically, emotionally, or financially due to a hospital’s medical error. Our law firm answers that question and more below.
What is Medical Negligence?
Medical negligence, also known as medical malpractice, falls under the large umbrella of personal injury law. Medical malpractice occurs when medical staff commits a series of medical errors that cause patients to suffer serious injuries. Patients can file a medical malpractice case for diagnostic errors, surgical errors, anesthesia errors, receiving the wrong medication, and so much more.
Can You Sue a Hospital?
Yes, you can certainly sue a hospital that caused you severe injuries. Even if specific hospital employees are at fault for your injury, you could still sue the hospital as a whole. This is because the hospital is responsible for its employees, and therefore, its employees’ mistakes under a legal concept called vicarious liability.
The only reason why you wouldn’t be able to sue a hospital for medical malpractice is if the hospital staff member in question is an independent contractor. In that case, the hospital isn’t necessarily responsible for them or their mistakes. So you would have to file a medical malpractice lawsuit against the one doctor who made the medical error.
Common Reasons Why People Sue Hospitals
Patients can sue hospitals for a variety of negligent actions, including:
- Birth injuries such as cerebral palsy
- Misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis
- Receiving the wrong medical treatment for a condition
- Wrongful death
- Mistakes made by medical technicians such as mixing up blood samples, failing to sanitize equipment, misplacing test results, etc.
- Surgical errors such as performing the wrong surgery or leaving surgical equipment still inside the body
- Lack of informed consent about a medical treatment (We explain more here: What is informed consent?)
- Discrimination based on race, sex, sexual orientation, nationality, etc.
- Medication errors
- The hospital environment was dangerous due to broken stairs, wet floors, medical equipment left on the floor, etc.
Parties Responsible for Medical Malpractice
Multiple parties could be held responsible in a medical malpractice lawsuit, including:
- Hospital employees
- The hospital or medical facility itself
- Medical professionals who primarily work in the emergency room
- Medical technicians
An experienced legal team must thoroughly investigate your case before you know which specific parties to sue. Chicago medical malpractice lawyers at Curcio Law Offices hire the best medical experts in Chicago to help us determine who caused your injury. Our investigation of your medical records and physical ailments could lead us back to one medical professional or multiple.
How to Sue a Hospital for Negligence
Suing a hospital for negligence can be a lengthy and confusing legal process, especially depending on the state you live in. Listed below are the basic steps you need to take in order to file a medical negligence lawsuit.
Contact a Hospital Negligence Lawyer
Firstly, contact a hospital negligence lawyer at Curcio Law Offices. You must do this within the appropriate medical malpractice statute of limitations in Illinois, which is usually two years. If you wait too long to file a lawsuit, a lawyer will likely have no choice but to dismiss your case.
You must hire a personal injury attorney who has extensive experience in handling medical hospital negligence cases because they are very complex. It’s very difficult to prove that a medical error occurred and directly caused someone’s life-threatening injury because medical care and the human body is very complex. It’s also very common for guilty doctors or hospitals to explain away a mistake with complex medical jargon. That’s why it’s crucial to have an experienced legal team on your side. Both attorneys and local medical experts will investigate your claim and work towards the best possible case outcome possible.
Determine Who Committed Negligent Acts
The next medical malpractice step is determining who exactly is at fault: the hospital or other medical professionals? As previously stated, you can only sue a hospital for a doctor’s mistake as long as they are not independent contractors. In other words, if the doctor isn’t actually a hospital employee, you can’t sue the hospital for their medical error. Sometimes, multiple medical professionals are to blame for medical negligence, meaning you could sue all of them. A hospital negligence lawyer at Curcio Law can help you determine who actually made the medical mistake and whether you should sue the hospital.
Gather Medical Records
The most important piece of evidence in any medical malpractice case is medical records. Not only do these records show all of your physical ailments and treatments, but they also show the doctors and nurses who treated you. In order to determine who is at fault, and therefore who to sue, you need your medical records.
In order to avoid actually going to trial, the at-fault doctor or hospital may offer a settlement in order to cover your medical bills and pain and suffering damages. This means that you and your legal team need to figure out how much your case is worth, and how much financial compensation you deserve. Basically, the more losses a patient suffers due to their medical injury, the more their case is worth. Many medical malpractice cases are worth millions due to the extensive damage that the patient suffered.
Follow Procedural Rules
In order to cut down on the number of medical malpractice lawsuits filed, some states require injured patients to jump through a few “legal hoops” before actually filing. In Illinois, medical negligence victims have to file an affidavit of merit before they can get their case moving. Basically, this affidavit of merit requires a medical expert to review the case and provide their professional opinion about whether or not the patient truly suffered from medical negligence. A hospital negligence attorney at Curcio Law Offices can help you complete this step.
File Your Lawsuit
The last step is filing your lawsuit. Your complaint should include basic information like your name, the name(s) of the at-fault medical professional(s) or hospital, details about the medical injury, how much you suffered due to this injury, and how much you want to receive in financial compensation. You or your lawyer must file the complaint at your local state court.
Damages You Can Receive for a Hospital’s Negligence
Victims of medical errors could win a variety of damages through medical malpractice claims, such as:
- Past and future medical expenses.
- Past and future rehabilitative expenses.
- Lost wages.
- Physical pain and suffering.
- Loss of earning capacity.
- Loss of consortium.
- Emotional distress.
- Counseling expenses if the victim’s medical injuries resulted in severe emotional distress
- Burial and funeral expenses if the medical malpractice incident resulted in wrongful death. If you’re wondering: what is the average cost of a funeral in Illinois, and can wrongful death damages cover that cost? Contact a Chicago wrongful death attorney for more information.
- Scarring and disfigurement.
What is the Illinois Statute of Limitations for Medical Malpractice Cases?
In Illinois, victims of medical malpractice have 2 years from the date of their injury (or 2 years from the date they discovered their injury) to file a medical malpractice lawsuit.
Why You Should Choose Curcio Law Offices For Your Hospital Negligence Lawsuit
Why should you choose us? We are a top-notch medical negligence law firm in Chicago, IL that has won millions of dollars in settlements for our injured clients. In fact, we have won nearly $40,000,000 in combined medical malpractice verdicts. We can win a fair settlement on your behalf too.
Call a Medical Negligence Attorney at Curcio Law Offices Today
If a hospital employee has permanently changed your life and has caused you extensive physical, emotional, and financial suffering, you need to call a medical malpractice attorney at Curcio Law Offices. Our law firm is compassionate towards victims but aggressive in the courtroom. Call 312-321-1111 if you’re ready to begin your attorney-client relationship with us. We offer a free consultation to all new clients.