When you go to the hospital, you are in dire need of medical attention. The hospital should provide adequate attention to your ailments so you can leave in better shape than you entered. However, sometimes negligence occurs, and you or a loved one are in a worse position than before. There are three primary reasons you can sue a hospital: medical malpractice, medical negligence, and wrongful death. Each circumstance has individual factors that dictate the recovery process.
Hospital negligence is sadly commonplace. Patients can suffer injuries or complications for various reasons. You should get justice when hospital staff do not do their job. You could be suffering long-term consequences because of their actions. Hospitals are responsible for their employees’ actions. This includes nurses, EMTs, physicians, physician assistants, pharmacists, and other staff. An error can occur in many ways with many people handling your case. Many claims arise from the following situations:
The hospital and its staff are responsible for numerous tasks when a patient is under their care. Other reasons you may sue a hospital include:
You could sue a hospital for medical malpractice or negligence when their staff does not do what they are supposed to and causes you harm. No two cases are the same, and you must address your circumstances, even if they are not among the most common errors.
Once you confirm your situation qualifies for a lawsuit against the hospital, you must take a few steps. While these are general steps you should take, additional steps or processes could apply to your case. A personal injury lawyer from Malman Law can advise you of other steps that can apply to your circumstances.
First, you must check whether you have time to file a lawsuit. When suing a hospital, there are often shorter deadlines for taking legal action. The reason is because you are suing an institution and not an individual. Each state has its own statute of limitations timeframe. For instance, in California, statutes range from one to ten years, so it is best to start the process quickly. Typically, personal injury cases fall into a two-year deadline.
Another essential element is determining who you are suing. While the hospital is a great starting point, other parties could also be liable. It could be a doctor, equipment manufacturer, or someone else. The at-fault party is also essential in determining which legal avenue to use. For medical negligence cases, you could be going after an individual(s) who works at the hospital.
If you are pursuing a medical malpractice claim, you may have to find which doctor was negligent. They could have operated on the wrong body part or completed a procedure you did not need. Maybe the anesthesia did not hold, and you suffered complications. These could all qualify for medical malpractice. Lastly, a wrongful death claim could be the best route if a loved one dies. You will likely need to investigate your circumstances to determine fault and who you can sue.
Once you have the preliminary information, your personal injury attorney can file your complaint with the court. It is an official document that outlines the hospital’s actions and negligence. It will also include the damages you are seeking, including:
Since each case is unique, you may qualify for other losses. Some of the damages on this list might not apply to your case. You should keep track of your expenses so you can find which compensation applies to your circumstances.
This process can be burdensome for plaintiffs. It involves gathering evidence, and while that may sound easy, it is not. The opposing side will have the right to interrogate you and request evidence from your legal team. We will do the same for them. There will be significant back and forth between both sides to get evidence. This process also involves requesting the production of documents, competing interrogatories, taking depositions, and working with expert witnesses.
Once each side has sufficient documentation, they can negotiate. Ideally, after a few rounds of negotiations, you would settle the claim and get the compensation you deserve. Theoretically, this would be the end, but hospitals can push back and extend the process substantially. If there is sufficient evidence that the hospital was negligent, they may be inclined to settle out of court. However, if they cannot agree about your compensation, you might have to take the next step.
When the hospital refuses to compensate you for your losses or cannot come to a fair agreement, you could enter the litigation process. Your medical malpractice attorney and legal team are gearing up for trial. It does not mean you will make it to trial. There are various pre-trial conferences where parties meet to resolve the matter. If your case does get to trial, then many of the issues will be addressed.
Both sides will present their arguments during the trial, and the judge or jury will decide to compensate you. They can also dictate how much you can receive. It is rare for these cases to make it to trial, but the possibility is always there.
Plaintiffs must prove various elements to successfully win a lawsuit against a hospital. The primary things you must prove are causation and fault. Plaintiffs should show the hospital failed in their duty to provide care and it caused injuries or losses. You can increase your chances and build a strong case with the following:
You could have the right to sue when you suffer an injury or other negligence at a hospital. The process can be challenging, but our medical malpractice lawyers can help. Call Malman Law to schedule an initial consultation today.
Malman Law’s founder Attorney Steven Malman has over 30 years of experience handling personal injury, nursing home, medical malpractice, truck accidents, car accidents, premises liability, construction, and workers’ compensation cases in Chicago, IL.
Years of experience: +30 years
Illinois Registration Status: Active and authorized to practice law—Last Registered Year: 2023