When a potential client visits our office to speak with an Illinois medical malpractice lawyer, the first step is allowing the individual to share their story to learn about the possible legal issues involved in their case. Following that initial assessment, the next step often involves conducting a preliminary investigation in preparation of possible litigation.
There are various evidence gathering stages in each Illinois medical malpractice lawsuit. On one hand, enough information needs to be collected before a lawsuit is initiated so that the first legal documents can state with sufficient specificity what type of mistake occurred, the harm suffered, and determine under which statute or common law legal principle the lawsuit will be filed.
However, it is only after a lawsuit is officially filed that the process known as “discovery” begins. Discovery is usually the most time-consuming litigation stage, as it involves the gathering of as much information as possible about the case. Discovery takes different forms including interviews with people involved (depositions), asking the other party to answer written questions (interrogatories), requesting the other side produce documents, and other methods. It is through this process that it becomes clear how much evidence exists to prove certain contentions.
However, discovery can generally only being after a lawsuit commences with the filing of a complaint. This is the official document that lays out the allegations to the court and is given to the defendant to let them know that they are being sued. For example, this week our Chicago Illinois medical malpractice attorneys initiated a lawsuit on behalf of the estate of a local victim who died after receiving substandard medical care at the Metrosouth Medical Center.
Specifically, the complaitn alleges that the facility and its agents were negligent in their treatment of the victim in a variety of ways. Early last year the woman was admitted to the facility for treatment of chest pains and nausea. However, the staff members at the facility failed to develop an appropriate differential diagnosis for the woman’s hypertension or conduct timely testing to evaluate her precardial effusion. On top of that, the facility prescribed vasopressors to the victim without proper monitoring and did not recognize the signs of cardiac tamponade. All of these care mistakes eventually caused the woman to develop hypotension from cardiac tamponade, leading to cardiopulmonary arrest. That arrest ultimately caused her death a few days after she entered the facility.
The new medical malpractice complaint includes a variety of counts based upon different legal principles. For example, the first count is rooted in the Survival Act of the State of Illinois. The second is based upon a different state statute that allows recovery in these situations known as the Wrongful Death Act of the State of Illinois. In addition, various claims are made that explain how the individual employees who provided the substandard medical care were acting as agents of the medical facility at the time of their negligence. As such the medical facility is liable for the consequences of the negligence of their agents. It is vital that all new complaints be based upon proper investigations so that each possible statutory basis for recovery can be asserted and all claims can be included.
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