Medical Malpractice and the Applicable Standard of Care

standard of care, medical malpractice, DuPage County personal injury attorneyIn many ways, the concept of medical malpractice may seem rather vague and indeterminate. To a certain extent, it may even fall into the category of objective ideas that a person cannot really define but knows it when he or she sees it. Such uncertainty, as you might expect can create challenges for a victim who has been injured as the result of substandard medical care, often making just compensation extremely difficult. That is why is important to clearly understand how the courts in Illinois define medical malpractice and how to prove your case should the need arise.

The Basics of Medical Malpractice

Doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals are human beings are they are going to make mistakes from time to time. Sometimes, unfortunately, those mistakes will injure a patient, not every medical mistake—even those resulting in serious injury—constitutes malpractice. The practice of medicine is very complex, with countless variables, and a wide variety of approaches and philosophies, so expecting a medical professional to be completely flawless 100 percent of the time is simply unreasonable.

However, when a doctor fails to treat a patient in compliance with the applicable standard of care, injuries that occur as a result may be cause for a medical malpractice action. Of course, “standard of care” may seem like another vaguely-defined term, but case law precedent in Illinois has created a generally-accepted definition for use in such claims.

Applicable Standard of Care

In any claim for medical malpractice, the claimant must show that the doctor or medical professional in question did not adhere to the applicable standard of care for a given situation. This means, according to Illinois courts, that the doctor failed to demonstrate “the same degree of knowledge, skill and ability an ordinarily careful professional would exercise under similar circumstances.” In effect, if any medical professional of similar age, experience, specialty, and training would have reasonably treated—or not treated, as the case may be—the patient in the same manner, the actions do not constitute malpractice.

Proving the Standard of Care

When you have been injured by the actions or negligence of a doctor, you and your attorney will need to establish what the actual standard of care should have been for your situation. To do this, you will require the expert testimony of an appropriately-trained and skilled medical professional who was not party to your original care. The court may not need the testimony of an expert witness if “the alleged negligence is grossly apparent or is obvious to a layman.”

If you or a loved one has been the victim of medical malpractice, contact an experienced Hindsale personal injury attorney for a free consultation. Our team is committed to helping you get the compensation you deserve for your injuries, and will work with you in putting your life back together. Call 630-920-8855 today to schedule a no-obligation appointment at the office of Martoccio & Martoccio.

Sources:

http://www.illinoiscourts.gov/circuitcourt/civiljuryinstructions/105.00.pdf

http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/518404

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