Medical malpractice is more common than you might think. In fact, medical malpractice is the third leading cause of death in the United States, with estimates indicating that between 210,000 and 440,000 patients die each year due to some type of medical error. Thousands of additional patients are injured as a result of medical malpractice as well. If you suspect that you or a loved one might have been the victim of medical malpractice, you may be entitled money damages for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, among other expenses. It is important to act quickly, however, if you suspect medical malpractice not only to protect your rights, but also because the process of obtaining financial recovery can take several months or years. The following is a general timeline of what happens during a medical malpractice lawsuit:
- Contact a lawyer as soon as possible.
- A medical malpractice lawyer will conduct an investigation in to the facts of the case to determine if there is a viable cause of action. This process can take several weeks.
- If there is a viable cause of action, a complaint will be filed in the appropriate court of law. The complaint must be filed within the applicable statute of limitations. In Illinois, the statute of limitations is two years following the medical error or discovery of the injury. If the patient dies, however, the wrongful death medical malpractice lawsuit must be filed within two years of the date of the patient’s death.
- After the lawsuit is filed, the defendant will have an opportunity to file an answer and assert any affirmative defenses or seek to have the case dismissed.
- If the court does not dismiss the complaint, discovery will take place. Depending on the number of witnesses that are involved, discovery can sometimes take several months.
- Throughout the process, settlement negotiations may take place or the parties may seek alternative dispute resolution, such as mediation, which could result in delayed witness depositions during discovery. Once discovery is concluded, the case will then move on to trial if no settlement is reached.
- Trial can take days or weeks, depending on the complexity of the case.
- After a verdict is reached, the losing party may appeal the decision. If the appellate court chooses to hear the case, the process can last several months or years.
- Only once settlement is reached or the verdict is final, and appeal denied, will payment of the judgment be made.
Contact a Chicago Medical Malpractice Lawyer It is important to remember that a medical malpractice lawsuit is a marathon, not a sprint. The process of pursuing a medical malpractice claim can be confusing and stressful, but the Chicago medical malpractice lawyers at Steinberg, Goodman & Kalish are committed to guiding their clients through the entire process. If you have been the victim of medical negligence, contact the Chicago medical malpractice lawyers at Steinberg, Goodman & Kalish at (312) 445-9084 to schedule a free consultation to discuss a possible medical malpractice claim. Steinberg Goodman & Kalish (www.sgklawyers.com) is dedicated to protecting victims and their families. We handle medical malpractice, product liability, personal injury, wrongful death, auto accidents, professional negligence, birth trauma, and railroad law matters. Contact us at (888) 325-7299 or (312) 445-9084.