Delayed Treatment Lawyers in Chicago, IL
Many medical conditions require timely treatment, whether it’s an emergency situation or a disease that must be addressed promptly. Without timely intervention, the condition could worsen or develop complications, causing the patient more financial and physical suffering. Patients are often blamed for not going to the doctor right away, but in many instances, delayed treatment isn’t their fault but is the result of negligence on the part of medical providers.
If you or someone in your family has been in this situation, you may be entitled to compensation. In the Chicago area, get the legal help of Willens & Baez. Our award-winning personal injury attorneys have helped clients like you obtain favorable monetary recovery, even in cases involving doctors, hospitals, and other medical providers. Reach out to Willens Injury Law at (312) 957-4166.
When Delayed Treatment is an Actionable Case
The truth is that some illnesses are naturally difficult to detect even when physicians are being thorough. Those situations may not be enough grounds to sue or claim compensation. But in numerous cases, delayed treatment can be legally actionable under the umbrella of medical malpractice. The main standard for an actionable case is that it should involve negligence by the physician or medical provider. We ask this question: Was the doctor negligent in treating you?
To establish negligence, we must prove these elements:
- That there was a doctor-patient relationship between you and the doctor – In other words, you were a client of theirs and you didn’t just, for example, read an article of theirs somewhere. When you are an actual patient, the doctor owes you a duty of care.
- That the doctor breached the duty of care they owed you – This means they failed the professional standard in providing medical care. They failed to do what any other physician with similar training would do.
- That their breach of duty caused you harm – For example, your disease accelerated or you developed complications in other body parts because of their delay.
- That the harm led to damages (losses) for you – In legal terms, “damages” are losses like medical bills, lost income, and pain and suffering.
In Illinois, before you can proceed with a medical malpractice case, you need an “affidavit of merit” from another medical professional in the same field as your doctor. In the affidavit, the medical professional will comment that the case you’re filing has merit and that there is reasonable cause for your lawsuit.
We at Willens Injury Law are ready to help you with this. Further, we are well-equipped to establish the fault of doctors and providers who were negligent in their duty. Consult with us for free and we’ll assess your legal case.
Delayed Treatment Causes and Examples
A delay in treatment can result from negligence at any point in the patient’s journey, from patient intake to diagnosis to treatment procedures. Take a look at these common causes of delayed treatment:
- A clerical error at the clinic or hospital
- A diagnostic technician failing to conduct a test properly
- A hospital lab failing to alert doctors of test results
- A physician failing to perform or analyze tests
- A doctor failing to review a patient’s history
- A clinic failing to contact a patient about test results
- Lack of coordination during a shift change for doctors or nurses
- A nurse making an error in scheduling or administering treatment.
One real-life case we handled at Willens Injury Law centered on a 30-year-old man whose chest x-ray showed a small nodule. He then went to a renowned radiologist who told him the nodule was a harmless cyst. However, a few years later, he started coughing up blood and was eventually diagnosed with late-stage lung cancer. We represented him in his lawsuit and obtained a $4-million settlement for him.
In another case, our client had to undergo a leg amputation after her doctors failed to treat the blood clots in her leg in a timely manner. Blood clots are easily detectable, but they need to be treated with anticoagulants immediately as they can cut off blood supply to the limb, or even lead to a fatal stroke or heart attack. Unfortunately, it was too late for our client’s leg. We obtained a $1.7 million settlement on her behalf.
Note that while our examples above involved serious injuries with million-dollar outcomes, there is a wide range of case values. If you suspect negligence in your delayed treatment, even if it’s not a life-threatening condition, have a lawyer evaluate your case.
Compensation You May Receive for Delayed Treatment
How much compensation can you get in your delayed treatment case? The answer to this varies widely. There is no “average” amount of settlement or verdict award in delayed treatment cases because each case is a unique combination of factors. Generally, you may be compensated for two types of damages: economic and non-economic.
Economic damages have a clear dollar value, such as:
- Current and future medical expenses
- Rehabilitation or therapy costs
- Lost income
- Diminished or lost earning capacity
- Devices or mobility needs (e.g. prosthetics, wheelchair, etc.).
Non-economic damages are losses that are not quantifiable with a definite dollar amount but may still be given monetary compensation. Examples are:
- Pain and suffering
- Mental/Emotional distress
- Scarring or disfigurement
- Diminished enjoyment of life.
You may have heard that compensation for non-economic damages are capped (limited) in Illinois. This was true prior to 2010, but is no longer applicable now. Before 2010, Illinois capped non-economic damages in a medical malpractice case at $500,000 per doctor or $1,000,000 per healthcare facility. This meant that even if your non-economic losses were greater than that, you could not claim more than the limit.
In 2010, the Illinois Supreme Court declared this cap unconstitutional. Today, there is no limit to the economic and non-economic damages you may claim for Illinois medical malpractice cases like delayed treatment. However, you can expect doctors and hospitals to be heavily defended by their insurance companies and lawyers. It’s crucial for you to get the representation of an experienced injury attorney to fight for your rightful compensation.
Statute of Limitations: Special Time Limits for Delayed Treatment Cases
The statute of limitations is a law that specifies a time limit for filing a lawsuit. In Illinois, the general statute of limitations for medical malpractice cases is two years from the date of harm by the medical provider. Past two years, your lawsuit may likely be dismissed by the court.
However, cases of delayed treatment are not always immediately apparent. Because of this, the statute of limitations has a “discovery rule” which allows the clock to start on the date you reasonably should have discovered the harm. For instance, if you went to a doctor in June 2021 and found out only in January 2022 that they misdiagnosed you, the two-year statute of limitations could start in January 2022.
Note that even with the discovery rule, there is still an outer limit on when you may sue for medical malpractice. Illinois law states that you can no longer file a malpractice lawsuit after four years of the medical mistake, regardless of when you discovered it.
It’s vital not to take for granted the statute of limitations. Numerous claimants have missed their window to sue because of procedural delays, missed paperwork, and confusion about the process. To avoid this costly mistake, consult with a personal injury attorney as soon as you suspect you have a case. We at Willens Injury Law will provide you with a case assessment for free.
Why Willens Injury Law is Outstanding in Malpractice Injury Cases
Chicagoans trust Willens & Baez in cases of medical malpractice such as delayed treatment. On top of earning the people’s trust, our attorneys have also received the highest ratings and recognitions from the legal industry.
What makes Willens Injury Law a top choice for delayed treatment cases? Our firm is one of the most dedicated you’ll find in the Chicago metro. We treat each case as if it’s our own, so we pour our hard work and resources into it. The following are only some of the things we do to make each malpractice claim as robust as possible:
- Meticulously examine your medical records, including initial prescriptions, consultation records, test results, specialist referrals, and discharge notes
- Work with our extensive network of specialists and medical experts to retrace your medical journey, finding gaps or mistakes in it, and determining who was responsible
- Conduct research on the medical providers and other parties in your case
- Analyze the most winning strategies, arguments, and even jurisdiction for your claim.
Our personal injury lawyers are not only skilled and experienced, they are also compassionate to our clients. Our entire team will consistently communicate with you about your case so you understand its progress and won’t have to be anxious about it.
This combination of hard work, resources, skill, and compassion is what has led us to win high-value malpractice cases and become a trusted injury firm in Chicago.
Call a Trusted Delayed Treatment Attorney
With Willens & Baez, you get the highest quality legal service that has obtained favorable outcomes for victims of medical malpractice in Chicago. Your consultation with us is free. Call us today at (312) 957-4166.