Medical malpractice claims are some of the most complex negligence lawsuits recognized under Illinois law. It can be extremely difficult to differentiate between poor treatment outcomes and physician mistakes. Yet, the results of medical malpractice can be devastating.
Unfortunately, medicine is not an exact science, and patients sometimes simply sustain negative side effects as a result of a routine medical procedures. Medical treatment carries inherent risks. Negative outcomes can and do occur. However, there are times when something completely avoidable happens and medical malpractice has occurred. Common examples of medical malpractice include:
- Failing to timely diagnose cancer;
- Birthing injuries;
- Inaccurate reading of radiology examinations;
- Inappropriate medication monitoring;
- Inaccurate diagnosis and treatment; and
- Surgical errors.
If you or a loved one has been injured while receiving medical care, the Medical Malpractice Attorneys at the Noll Law Office will provide you with a free review of your claim and answer any questions you may have. We can be reached at (217) 414-8889 for a free consultation. Our Springfield, Illinois Medical Malpractice Attorneys have the experience necessary to make sure that the case is properly handled and you are treated fairly in the civil justice system.
Common questions involving medical malpractice claims include the following:
- What steps should I take if I believe I am the victim of medical malpractice?
- What does a medical malpractice do when reviewing a claim, and when should I hire an attorney?
- How do I file suit for medical malpractice?
- How do I prepare for my legal consultation with the Noll Law Offices?
Frequently Asked Questions
What steps should I take if I believe I am the victim of medical malpractice?
There are steps you can take if you or a loved one are injured as a result of medical malpractice. This list is not exhaustive, but should assist you while your claim is processed. Contact the Noll Law Office today for assistance and further information about these important steps:
- File a complaint with the Illinois Department of Professional Regulation (“IDPR”). The IDPR will investigate your claim, for free. The link to the complaint form can be found here: https://www.idfpr.com/admin/DPR/DPRcomplaint.asp
- Write down everything you can remember about the malpractice including the names of the witnesses. Your memory will fade over the next few years so it is important to record everything now while the event is fresh in your mind.
- Obtain a complete copy of your medical records. You should request your records from two years before the date of the medical malpractice to present. Oftentimes, there will be multiple medical providers to order medical records from. Take the medical records to your first appointment with an attorney.
- Keep a journal of the name, address, and phone number of every medical facility that you receive follow-up medical treatment at along with the dates of treatment.
- Make sure that copies of your medical bills are submitted to your health insurance for payment. If you do not have health insurance or cannot cover your co-pay amounts, attempt to make minimum monthly payments to avoid being sent to collections.
- Contact a Medical Malpractice Attorney and schedule an appointment to review copies of your medical records, bills, and witness information. Your attorney can begin the insurance claims process, medical review, and send preservation of evidence letters on your behalf.
- If you are missing work as a result of your injuries, keep a diary of the dates, times, and amount of work you have missed. Make sure that you have turned in medical notes from your doctor, to your employer, for the missed time.
What does a medical malpractice attorney do when reviewing a claim, and when should I hire an attorney?
You should contact the Noll Law Office immediately if you believe that you have been injured as a result of medical malpractice. There is generally a 2-year statute of limitations governing medical malpractice claims, with some narrow exceptions, and the lawsuits take several months of preparation to file. You should also gather a complete set of your medical records and bring them to your initial meeting.
The Noll Law Office will review the medical records, Illinois Department of Professional Regulation investigation, and other available evidence to determine whether the injury is the result of malpractice or simply a poor outcome of medical treatment. Oftentimes, this involves consulting with an independent physician specializing in certain types of medicine in order to make an accurate determination.
If the Noll Law Office attorneys and a reviewing, independent physician believe that medical malpractice has occurred, the next step is to determine whether you should file a lawsuit. Medical malpractice claims are very expensive to litigate and usually cost at least $80,000.00 to take to trial. However, if you or a loved one has sustained a catastrophic injury, and medical malpractice has occurred, there are usually very few options but to sue. Physicians will usually not admit that malpractice occurred, and the results of egregious injuries quite literally cost people their jobs, homes, and sometimes their lives.
The Noll Law Office will sit down with you and explain your medical bills, lost income (past and future), pain and suffering, and other damages. We will provide you with an honest opinion as to whether years of litigation will likely provide you with any monetary gains, after the costs of litigation have been taken into account. There is little point in hiring an attorney to litigate a medical malpractice claim if the attorney’s costs and fees will take all of the money you may win at trial. The Illinois Department of Professional Regulation investigates claims of medical malpractice, for free, and can ensure that a physician is disciplined or rehabilitated for any misconduct that has occurred.
How do I file a medical malpractice lawsuit?
In order to file a medical malpractice suit in Illinois, the Noll Law Office must obtain a physician’s “certificate of merit,” which is a report that explains what malpractice occurred and how the malpractice caused the patient injury. The attorney must then file a “Complaint at Law” with the Court, and attach the physician’s certificate of merit with an attorney’s affidavit, certifying that a valid cause of action exists. Without filing the affidavit, certificate of merit, and other necessary documents, the suit will likely be dismissed. Attorneys at the Noll Law Office can explain this process to you at your initial consultation
Once the Complaint at Law and other paperwork has been filed, your attorney will arrange for the physician or other medical provider to be served with summons. Generally, the Defendant then has 30 days from the date summons is ‘served,” to enter an appearance and respond to the Complaint. Discovery then commences.
During discovery, extensive depositions will be taken. The attorneys will exchange copies of their medical records and other evidence held by the parties and file extensive motions. Most medical malpractice cases take years to complete discovery because of the complexity of the issues raised by the medical experts.
After discovery occurs, summary judgment motions and other pre-trial issues be heard. The case will then be ready to prepare for trial.
How do I prepare for my legal consultation with the Noll Law Offices?
To expedite legal review of your claim, you should bring a copy of the medical records, IDPR investigations, photographs, videos, Facebook pages, text messages, correspondence, insurance information, and any other evidence in your possession to your claim. The attorney will review the records, together with any other evidence in your possession, and provide you with a free legal opinion as to the merits of your claim.
At Noll Law Offices, our attorneys have over 50 years combined legal experience. Our family firm is renowned for compassionate communication with clients and aggressive advocacy in court. We look forward to jury trials, and will keep you abreast with all steps in the litigation process. If you or a loved one would like a free consultation, call today at (217) 414-8889. You will not be a charged unless our firm obtains a settlement offer on your behalf, or wins at trial.