Charleston, IL Medical Malpractice Lawyers
Exposing Negligence by Healthcare Professionals in Central & Southern Illinois
If a medical professional causes harm to you or a loved one because of a mistake or act of carelessness, you may be entitled to compensation. Medical malpractice is defined as negligence by any healthcare professional, such as a physician, surgeon, nurse, nurse's aide, physician's assistant, or technician. It occurs when a healthcare professional or facility departs from accepted medical practices and causes injury to a patient. Some instances of medical malpractice even lead to wrongful death.
Serving clients from our offices Charleston, IL and St. Louis, MO, our team at The Tapella & Eberspacher Law Firm is here to help if you or someone you know has suffered serious injuries due to healthcare negligence. Our medical malpractice lawyers have the legal experience and know-how to expose substandard medical care and prove its link to a patient’s injuries.
For a free, confidential review of your medical malpractice case, call (217) 394-5885. We handle such cases on contingency, which means you pay no legal fees unless we win.
Types of Medical Malpractice
Malpractice can occur in a variety of ways. Individuals can commit medical malpractice by failing to provide standard care in the diagnosis or treatment of a patient. Hospitals can also commit malpractice due to inadequate supervision, the failure to follow established policies and procedures, or inadequate staffing.
Our Charleston, IL medical malpractice attorneys can take on cases involving:
- Failure to diagnose a disease
- Improperly treating a patient’s condition
- Administering or prescribing the wrong medication
- Surgery errors and malpractice
- Emergency room mistakes
- Failing to follow-up with a patient after a diagnosis or treatment
- Negligent post-operative care
- Hospital infections
- Birth injuries
- Misdiagnosis of an illness or injury
What Is A “Reasonable Standard Of Care” In Medical Malpractice Cases?
Medical malpractice occurs when a physician or other healthcare provider is negligent in treating a patient. Malpractice can also occur in cases where treatment was not administered when it should have been.
Whether or not a provider acted in a negligent manner is typically based on what is known as the reasonable standard of care.
Defining Reasonable Standard of Care
Reasonable standard of care is a legal term, not a medical term. It is used to describe the actions of a healthcare provider. Essentially, it examines whether a provider’s actions were similar to what another provider with the same skills, in the same community, and using the same knowledge would take. Would a competent healthcare professional offer the same level or kind of care under the same circumstances? Were the provider’s actions in line with what other similar providers could and would do under the circumstances?
Determining If Standard of Care Was Met
In these cases, the knowledge of expert witnesses helps to determine if medical malpractice has occurred. In many states, including Illinois and Missouri, plaintiffs are required to file an affidavit of merit along with the complaint. An affidavit of merit is a statement from an expert in the field stating that in his or her opinion, the standard of care was not met.
It is important to note two significant factors concerning a reasonable standard of care:
1. Standard of care does not ensure only positive outcomes. Bad results or complications do not automatically equate to negligence.
2. Not every doctor will use the same treatment plan in the same cases. Even if a physician’s method of treatment is different from what an expert witness may offer, the physician could still be within the reasonable standard of care.
Determining a reasonable standard of care can be difficult, as every case is unique. If you have questions about whether you or your loved one is a victim of medical malpractice, a skilled attorney can help. Call the Tapella & Eberspacher Law Firm today at (217) 394-5885 to discuss your case and determine if you are eligible to make a claim.
MEDICAL MALPRACTICE STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS
Each state sets its own limits for how long a patient has to file a lawsuit alleging medical malpractice. In Illinois, victims have two years from the date they discovered (or should have discovered) the malpractice. Regardless, a victim has four years from the time the malpractice occurred. If the patient was under the age of 18 at the time, he has eight years or until his 22nd birthday, whichever comes first.
In Missouri, victims have two years from the date of the malpractice to file a claim. As in Illinois, the rules vary slightly for cases involving minors. Missouri law gives victims in those cases until their 20th birthday. Although, a lawsuit may not be filed more than 10 years after the date of the malpractice.
THE DISCOVERY RULE AND HOW IT APPLIES TO STATUTES OF LIMITATIONS
Situations do occur in which the courts are more flexible when it comes to the statute of limitations. Through what is known as the discovery rule, victims may have more time to file their claim, if they were unaware that the malpractice had taken place until sometime after the fact. One more common instance is when a foreign object is left in the body after a surgery. It may be many months or even years before the object is discovered. In those cases, the clock on the statute of limitations does not start to tick until the object is discovered (or should reasonably have been detected), even if it is many years after the operation.
One key element to note is that the rule does not necessarily start the clock on the statute of limitations on the date the victim discovers the malpractice. Rather, the time would begin when a person should reasonably have known. For example, if the patient left with a foreign object in their body had seen multiple doctors over the course of the time after the surgery with a complaint related to the object, he should have considered that there was a mistake during the original operation that was causing his symptoms.
Financial Compensation for Patients & Family Members
When medical malpractice occurs, the patient is entitled to seek “damages” for past medical expenses, as well as any medical expenses needed to care for the patient in the future. Patients may also recover for past lost wages and any future loss of earnings. Damages for pain, suffering, disfigurement, and any sort of physical or psychological limitations may be recovered as well.
If a patient loses his or her life due to medical malpractice, the surviving spouse or another family member may pursue a wrongful death action against the at-fault professional or facility. Compensation may be pursued for loss of companionship or consortium, loss of contributions by the family member, medical expenses, lost earnings, burial expenses, and more.
Over 100 Years of Collective Experience
The attorneys at The Tapella & Eberspacher Law Firm in Charleston, IL and St. Louis have substantial experience handling medical malpractice cases. Our on-staff nurse and network of top medical professionals bring invaluable expertise to these highly technical cases, and we hire the best independent surgeons, infectious diseases specialists, radiologists, pathologists, and others to develop powerful cases on behalf of our clients.
If you believe medical professionals caused a permanent injury or death to you or a loved one, call (217) 394-5885 or fill out our online contact form. We are here to help.
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We will fight for a just outcome & won’t give up in the face of difficult or unexpected challenges.
A Record of Proven Results
Over our hundred years of combined legal experience, we have recovered millions of dollars for injured clients.
Respected in Our Community
When attorneys need an attorney, they call us. Over 200 attorneys routinely refer clients to our capable & qualified team.
We genuinely care about the outcome of your case & commit to standing by your side every step of the way.
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We pride ourselves in going the extra mile to make all of our clients feel comfortable, well-informed, and secure.
Our attorneys are committed to actively listening to our clients and to setting realistic, justifiable expectations.