Medical malpractice lawyers in Chicago are keenly aware of how common malpractice suits are. And the stats back this up: a survey by the American Medical Association showed that over 60 percent of doctors aged 55 or older had been sued. Because these suits are relatively common, most doctors and their medical institution will respond in predictable ways.
This post will outline the three phases of a medical malpractice suit and what you can expect in each stage.
Phase One: Filing Notice
To start the proceedings of a lawsuit in Illinois, a medical malpractice lawyer in Chicago will notify the doctor of their client’s intent to file a lawsuit. At that point, the doctor will contact their (or their institution’s) insurance company to be assigned a lawyer.
At this point, it’s unlikely you’d hear much from the doctor as they allow their lawyer to evaluate the case as it stands before making any moves.
Phase Two: The Lawsuit
Once you and a medical malpractice lawyer in Chicago file suit, what’s called the “discovery phase” will begin. The doctor and their lawyers will research any information that will help their case. You will have to respond to requests for information regarding potential witnesses, damages, etc.
You and your lawyer must respond to any request for information that is considered “discoverable.”
Phase Three: The Trial
Once a lawsuit goes to trial there are a few common focuses of the defense in medical malpractice suits.
- Discrediting expert testimony
Because malpractice suits depend on whether a physician violated the standard of care, an expert is needed to help determine that standard. If the physician and their lawyers successfully discredit expert testimony, it’s much more difficult to prove malpractice.
- Reducing or eliminating monetary damages
A key component to malpractice suits is that the mistake the doctor made had to have caused damages to the victim. So, a doctor may admit an error, but still win the case because the victim wasn’t physically hurt.
Similar to number two, defense attorneys often argue that the damage a patient suffered was inevitable. For example, say a doctor makes a misdiagnosis and the patient dies a week later. If the defense could argue that the proper diagnosis wouldn’t have prevented the death anyway, the doctor wouldn’t be liable.
Malpractice suits are complicated and very difficult to win. If you have questions, contact the premier medical malpractice lawyers in Chicago at the Law Offices of Scott DeSalvo. Call us at (888)487-8318 today!