Negligence is a key element in every medical malpractice claim. This means that in order to recover compensation for his or her damages, every claimant must be able to prove that his or her healthcare provider somehow acted in a negligent manner. Another way to look at this is to say that the claimant must prove that the healthcare provider failed to act within the expected standard of care for the patient’s treatment.

Healthcare providers do not want to admit to negligence because not only will doing so cost them money in higher insurance rates, it can tarnish their professional reputations. In some cases, a malpractice ruling can put a doctor’s medical license in jeopardy. When a patient files a medical malpractice claim with a healthcare provider’s malpractice insurance provider, the healthcare provider may get a lawyer of his or her own and defend his or her practice against the allegation of negligence.

Contributory Negligence

In Illinois, an injured patient cannot recover compensation for his or her damages if he or she holds 50 percent or more of the responsibility for the injury. This applies to medical malpractice claims, too, and your doctor may invoke it to defend against your malpractice claim. Claimants have the duty to mitigate their damages. This means that they must take steps to help themselves heal, such as seeking corrective treatment and following their doctors’ recommendations. Your doctor might claim that you are partially or even wholly at fault for the injury because of your actions.

An Expired Statute of Limitations

In Illinois, the statute of limitations on a medical malpractice claim begins to run on the date that the patient knew, or should have known, that he or she was injured by an act of negligence on his or her healthcare provider’s part. Under most circumstances, a claim cannot be filed more than four years after the date of the alleged act of negligence.

Your doctor could use an expired statute of limitations as a way to defend against your claim. “When a patient should have known” he or she was injured is a subjective timeframe – when should somebody realize that their injury was caused by a physician’s negligence? You might have to prove that your discovery date is more reasonable than your doctor’s counter discovery date.

A Lack of Negligence

Your doctor might deny that he or she acted in any negligent manner. He or she might even support this claim by recruiting an expert witness or a group of doctors who can attest that he or she did act within the standard of care for your treatment, even if you did not necessarily follow mainstream procedures. This is known as the respectable minority principle. In order to successfully argue that this is the case, your doctor must show that he or she had your informed consent to the procedure that was performed.

Work with an Experienced Chicago Medical Malpractice Lawyer

If you have suffered from any type of medical malpractice and you are now facing steep financial damages as a result, you could be entitled to seek compensation for these damages through a medical malpractice claim. To learn more, contact our team of medical malpractice lawyers at Baizer Kolar, P.C. to schedule your initial consultation in our office.