Chicago Hospital Negligence Lawyer
Since our law firm’s founding in 1931, our medical malpractice attorneys at Steinberg, Goodman & Kalish have protected the legal rights of injured patients and their families. We handle serious injury and illness claims resulting from medical errors in the hospital setting.
Based on the data reviewed, one study estimates that one in every 20 patients suffers harm because of preventable factors involved in their medical care. At Steinberg Goodman & Kalish, our hospital negligence lawyers advocate on behalf of patients in all Chicago-area hospitals who suffer harm due to inadequate medical care, unclean practices, and unsafe conditions.
If you or a loved one suffered serious illness or injury in a Chicago medical facility because of a hospital’s mistake, please contact us online or call (312) 782-1386 to schedule a free consultation.
Common Hospital Negligence Cases Our Medical Malpractice Attorneys Handle
When people enter hospitals for medical care, they trust that the hospital employees and contracted professionals are adequately trained, and properly licensed and credentialed. They expect that equipment will be sanitary and properly functioning, and that facilities will be safe, clean, and adequately staffed. Unfortunately, hospital malpractice and negligence occur all too often, impacting the care patients receive and jeopardizing their wellbeing.
Hospital negligence involves more than medical malpractice by doctors and nurses. Hospital malpractice cases frequently arise because of the negligent actions of other medical professionals, or even hospital administration or support staff. Some of the hospital negligence cases our Chicago medical malpractice lawyers handle involve:
- Negligent Hiring of medical staff
- Negligent Training or Supervision
- Lost or Incorrect Medical Records
- Inadequate Staffing
- Employer Negligence
Hospitals have a responsibility to hire staff members with the appropriate training and the ability to perform their jobs to the accepted standard of care. Knowingly hiring an unqualified medical professional or neglecting to perform the necessary due diligence when hiring may put patients at risk for serious injuries.
Negligent Training or Supervision
Hospitals may also bear liability for medical mistakes committed by hospital employees and staff if the facility fails to adequately train workers on safety protocols, cleanliness and hygiene standards, and other issues that will affect patient care. Additionally, the hospital should supervise staff and medical professionals, and relieve those of their positions who fail to perform their jobs to the appropriate standard.
Understaffing can stretch medical professionals and hospital staff thin. Inadequate staffing may lead to preventable mistakes that give rise to medical malpractice cases. If hospitals do not hire the appropriate workforce, and you suffer a personal injury as a result, it may constitute negligence on the part of the hospital.
Under some circumstances, hospitals can be held responsible for the medical mistakes made by their employees, including physicians, nurses, and specialty technicians. Due to procedural shortcomings, carelessness, or recklessness, a hospital staff member may fall short of providing the appropriate standard of care. As a result, you may suffer an adverse health event that leaves you seriously ill or injured.
Why Hire a Chicago Attorney for Hospital Negligence?
The hospital and their insurance company will probably tell you not to hire a hospital negligence lawyer. They may tell you that you don’t have a medical malpractice claim or hospital negligence case. If the facility’s liability is obvious, they may offer you a small settlement to get you to drop the hospital or medical negligence claim. Don’t listen to the insurance company. You’re going to need an experienced medical malpractice attorney to act as your advocate and ensure you receive a fair settlement or jury award.
Working with our hospital negligence law firm in Chicago puts your medical malpractice claim in the right hands. You will have an experienced medical malpractice attorney on your side who can identify medical negligence and other hospital mistakes. Our legal team will work with medical experts to prove that a negligent act occurred. We will negotiate with insurance companies and seek compensation that is fair. If negotiations are unsuccessful, our law firm is not afraid to bring even the most difficult medical malpractice claims to court.
Hospital Errors Put Chicago-Area Patients At Risk
Negligence in the hospital setting can occur in many ways. Every year, 400,000 patients suffer serious injuries because of preventable medical mistakes while hospitalized, according to a recent study.
Some of the most common medical care mistakes that occur in the hospital setting include:
- Not adequately monitoring the patient’s vital signs
- Failing to provide discharge information or conduct appropriate follow-up care
- Neglecting to maintain sterile or otherwise sanitary conditions
- Not taking a full or adequate patient history
- Not performing a suitable patient assessment and physical exam
- Failing to appropriately triage the patient
What Is Hospital Negligence?
Hospital negligence refers to an error, omission, or carelessness by a hospital or its employees, which violates the standard of care for a patient. This may include the failure to diagnose, a misdiagnosis, a delayed diagnosis, or the presence of unsanitary or otherwise unsterile conditions. As a result of hospital negligence, patients often suffer serious, and sometimes permanent, harm. In such cases, the injured patient may consider a medical malpractice case to recover compensation.
When Can You Sue a Hospital?
Vicarious liability holds hospitals responsible for the negligent actions committed by their employees. When responsibility for negligent acts or medical malpractice falls on the hospital, injured patients may file lawsuits against the healthcare facilities. Hospitals may be held liable for negligence at the administrative or clinical levels.
Responsibility does not always fall with the hospital, however. Working with a Chicago hospital negligence attorney will help you identify and hold financially liable those at-fault for the adverse effects you suffered.
When Is a Hospital Liable for Employee Negligence?
Generally, patients can hold hospitals responsible for harm they suffer due to errors in their medical treatment or other services by hospital employees. Many doctors and other healthcare providers work as independent contractors. This limits the hospital’s control, and thus, potential liability.
In determining if a healthcare provider or other worker is an employee or an independent contractor, a hospital negligence lawyer will look at factors such as:
- The Type of Relationship – Does the physician and hospital have an employee-employer relationship? For example, the hospital offering the doctor health insurance or vacation pay might indicate he or she is not independent of the hospital.
- Financial Control – Does the hospital have authority over any of the financial terms of the physician’s job? For instance, can the hospital give the doctor a raise or bonuses?
- Behavioral Control – Does the hospital have the authority to specify how the doctor carries out the tasks that he or she was hired to perform? For example, the hospital specifying when or how the doctor sees patients may help prove the physician is employed by the hospital.
Elements of a Hospital Malpractice Claim
If you suffered sersious injuries or illness because of medical malpractice, administrative failures, or unsafe or unclean conditions in a Chicago-area hospital, you have a right to recover damages. Hospital negligence is a type of medical malpractice. For a successful civil lawsuit, your hospital negligence lawyer will need to prove the four elements of a medical malpractice case.
Proving Your Medical Malpractice Case
To recover damages in your medical malpractice lawsuit, your hospital negligence attorney will need to demonstrate the following:
- A duty of care was owed,
- the standard of care was violated,
- the violation caused injuries, and
- damages were incurred because of the injury.
Understanding how medical malpractice lawsuits work is a step toward protecting your right to compensation. Let our medical malpractice attorneys at Steinberg, Goodman & Kalish guide you through the legal process, so you can focus on healing.
The Duty and Standard of Care
Essential to all medical malpractice lawsuits is proving the defendants owed the patient a duty of care, and that they breached that duty to the patient. You will first need to establish these elements in your case, and then move on to showing that the violation caused you harm and compensable losses.
Defining the Standard of Care
The standard by which the appropriate level of care is given by healthcare professionals is judged plays an essential role in hospital negligence claims. Generally, the standard of care is defined as the decisions and actions that other healthcare providers with similar experience and training would make given the same circumstances.
Identifying a Violation of the Standard
The second part of this case element, a violation of the standard of care, must have occurred for you to recover medical malpractice damages. To this end, your hospital negligence law firm may work with medical experts to indicate what the appropriate treatment path would have entailed, and to demonstrate how the care you received deviated from the acceptable standard.
Injury Resulted From the Violation
Beyond showing that a violation occurred in the standard of care a patient received, successful medical malpractice lawsuits will show that because of that violation, the patient suffered harm.
Adverse health effects resulting from hospital negligence may include:
- Physical pain
- Cancer or other chronic diseases
- Central line-associated bloodstream and other infections
Affidavit of Merit
Your medical malpractice complaint must include an Affidavit of Merit. This sworn statement from your hospital negligence lawyer swears that a medical professional has consulted on your case prior to its filing, and attests to the validity of your argument.
The healthcare professional consulted must meet specific requirements. These include:
- Having knowledge of the medical issues as related to the case
- Practicing or teaching currently, or recently practicing or teaching, in the pertinent area of medicine
- Having experience and competence with cases involving the subject matter of the lawsuit
Damages Were Incurred Due to the Injury
It is not enough to show that you suffered injuries due to the hospital’s negligence. You must also prove that you suffered damages as a result of your injury, which may include economic and non-economic losses. To this end, you may offer medical bills, receipts, and other financial documents as evidence. Statements from friends or coworkers, and doctor office notes and medical records can also serve as proof of the losses you suffered because of your injury.
Common economic and non-economic losses for which you may recover compensation in a hospital negligence lawsuit include the following:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Lost wages and lost future earnings
- Household expenses
- Vocational rehabilitation
- Pain and suffering, and emotional distress
- Loss of enjoyment of activities
Damages awarded through a successful medical malpractice claim aim to make you financially whole, or as if your injury had not occurred.
Medical Malpractice and Hospital Negligence FAQs
If you suffered harm because of the conditions or care provided at a Chicago-area hospital, you may be uncertain about your legal rights and how to proceed. At the Chicago law firm of Steinberg Goodman & Kalish, we will help you hold the hospital financially responsible and recover the compensation you are due. Contact us today, and we will be happy to answer your questions and address your concerns.
Q: How long do I have to file a hospital negligence lawsuit?
A: You have a limited time to file a medical malpractice lawsuit for hospital negligence in Illinois. State law imposes a two-year statute of limitations for most hospital negligence and medical malpractice cases. As such, you generally must initiate legal action within two years of the incident that caused your adverse health effect or within two years of when you should have reasonably discovered the cause of your condition. Since exceptions to the statute may apply to your case, however, speaking to our attorneys as soon as possible is your best course of action. Failing to file in a timely manner may cost you your right to pursue damages.
Q: Does Illinois cap hospital negligence compensation?
A: Illinois does not limit your economic recovery in a hospital negligence claim. As such, you can obtain the full value of your economic and non-economic losses in a settlement agreement or judgement.
Q: What if I signed an informed consent form?
A: Before administering treatment, it is common for hospitals to have patients sign informed consent forms. If you suffer a medical mistake that causes you adverse health effects in a hospital, you may worry that having signed such a form will prevent you from taking legal action.
Informed consent forms may relieve the hospital and your medical team of any liability for known dangers with a specific procedure. They do not, however, prevent you from seeking damages for injuries you experience due to unsafe or unclean conditions in the hospital.
What Should You Do if You Suspect Hospital Negligence?
If you suspect that hospital negligence caused your adverse health event, it is important to take the proper steps to help protect your legal rights and interests. Some of the steps you should take include:
- Speaking up if something does not feel right with your care
- Asking questions about your medical treatment, medical records, and medical conditions
- Documenting the care you receive, noting inconsistencies or situations when you felt the level of care faltered
- Taking photos of injuries caused by failures to provide proper care
- Contacting an experienced hospital negligence attorney to advocate on your behalf