We expect them to do their jobs flawlessly every time. Nevertheless, surgeons don’t always meet our expectations. Of course, there is an amount of risk involved in every surgical procedure. When patients undergo surgery, they are usually asked to sign a waiver of liability. But that contract is breached when the patient is harmed due to neglect on the part of the surgeon or supporting staff.
The types of surgical errors that can occur are almost as numerous are the available types of surgery. But the following are common cases of surgery gone wrong:
We include a medical professional on our staff – an R.N. and a physician with a law degree. This gives us leverage in both the medical and the legal world. We can examine you, and determine if you have suffered a surgical error that could have been prevented with reasonable care. Then we will get to work fighting for your rights.
Unfortunately, surgical errors are frighteningly common. Researchers examining the National Practitioner Data Bank found nearly 20,000 instances of surgical error malpractice judgments and claims between 1990 and 2010, and that figure is likely to be only the tip of the iceberg. These same researchers estimate that over 4,000 preventable surgical errors occur in the United States each year, only about one-eighth of which result in a medical malpractice judgment or claim.
According to this research, surgery on the wrong body part occurs 20 times every single week in the United States, along with 20 instances in which doctors actually operated on the wrong patient. On a per capita comparison basis, this research indicates that well over 100 preventable surgical errors occur right here in the Chicago metro area every year – about one case every three days.
A University of Colorado study concluded that errors in judgment, diagnosis, and communication were the most common contributors to surgical errors – in fact, communication errors played a role in 100 percent of the surgical errors studied.
Although every case differs, medical malpractice claims involving allegations of surgical error are not usually particularly easy to win, for a number of reasons. First of all, health care providers fight hard to win because they see a medical malpractice claim as an attack on their reputations. Second, a claim of surgical error often implicates complex scientific issues that may take investigation and expert testimony to resolve. Third, not all surgical errors constitute malpractice – negligence must have been involved for your claim to succeed, and the presence or absence of negligence is essentially a legal determination.
Nevertheless, some cases of surgical errors are rather straightforward, and even when they are not, payouts tend to be high in cases of serious harm regardless of whether the claim is resolved in court or at the settlement table. Since courts tend to award high noneconomic damages (for pain and suffering, mental anguish, etc.) in cases of serious errors, settlement negotiators tend to accept high compensation demands more often than they would otherwise be willing to.
Normally, if you suffer harm due to medical malpractice, under the Illinois personal injury statute of limitations you have two years from the date of the negligent act or omission to file a lawsuit. If you don’t file a lawsuit within that time, your claim will die and you will be forever barred from pursuing it. There are limited exceptions to this rule, however, and one of them is particularly likely to apply in the case of a surgical error.
If a slip of the knife leaves you paralyzed from the neck down, you are likely to know about it immediately. But suppose a doctor or a nurse negligently forgets to remove a sponge or a clamp from inside your body before you are sewn up? You might not know about it for weeks, months, or possibly even years. In that case, the two-year deadline would begin to run on the day that you knew or should have known about the error. The same is true for any other negligent act or omission that you don’t discover immediately.
If your case is strong. It might be best to pursue both strategies simultaneously – file a medical malpractice lawsuit and then open negotiations with the defendant. Filing a lawsuit at some point is likely to increase your bargaining power and nudge the defendant into issuing a generous settlement offer. That being said, over 90 percent of all surgical error claims are ultimately settled out of court, sometimes during a pending lawsuit.
If you choose to open settlement negotiations without first filing a lawsuit, you need to be careful not to allow the defendant to lull you into missing the statute of limitations deadline through constant delays. A good Chicago medical malpractice lawyer will never make this mistake.
At the negotiating table, you will probably be facing experienced professionals who negotiate for a living and whose sole purpose is to either deny your claim or carve it down to bare bones in order to save money for themselves. A good Chicago medical malpractice lawyer, however, is a skilled professional who will not be afraid to insist upon fair and generous compensation.
If you or a loved one was injured during an operation because of carelessness or a preventable mistake, that is considered medical malpractice — and you deserve reimbursement and a chance to hold the surgeon and staff responsible.
The medical malpractice lawyers at Malman Law in Chicago, Illinois have been offering assistance to those injured due to medical error for nearly 25 years. We have helped many individuals and families get justice and receive payment to cover medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. We are proud to say that over 95% of our cases are successfully resolved out of court, however, we will not hesitate to bring your case to that level if necessary.
Of course, not all surgery-related injuries are caused by doctor neglect. That’s why our on-staff medical professionals must examine you, and determine what to do next. If your injury was in fact caused by malpractice, we will start the proceedings right away. We have filed claims against hospitals, surgeons, anesthesiologists, and other operating room personnel, and we can do the same for you.
We are conveniently located in the downtown Chicago Loop, with many of our medical malpractice clients coming to us from the nearby towns and neighborhoods of Cook County, including Blue Island, Cicero, Berwyn, South Holland, Matteson, Oak Lawn, Lansing, Bellwood, Hazel Crest, Homewood, Chicago Heights, Westchester, Olympia Fields, Maywood, Dolton, Riverside, Sauk Village, Oak Park, and Harvey. We also have injury clients in DuPage County, Will County, and Lake County.
When surgical errors result in serious injury, you need someone on your side. Our Chicago medical malpractice attorneys are available 24/7. Call us anytime, dial 1-(888) 307-2051 or fill out our free online consultation and request a free case evaluation. We’ll discuss your situation and advise you about possible next steps.
To better serve our clients, Malman Law employs a full time Registered Nurse with over 30 years experience working and operating various nursing homes throughout Chicagoland. Our nurse is dedicated to reviewing all of the nursing home and medical malpractice cases to assist in the prosecution of the cases.
"I'm very pleased to recommend Malman Law to my friends and relatives! I have to mention how efficient and professional in dealing with my case has been with everyone that I've been in contact with at Malman Law. Mrs. Sabo is outstanding as well as her secretary and assistant in responding quickly to any of my questions or concerns. This firm has gone above and beyond to keep me updated and get answers to my questions at any time, weekends included! Malman Law rules in my opinion! "
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