Illinois personal injury laws treat medical negligence and medical malpractice very seriously because such cases are a relatively frequent occurrence in the state, as well throughout the rest of the U.S. The legal system has been designed in such a way that extensive discovery is encouraged, along with negotiations between conflicting parties. The sole objective here is to adequately address the grievances of the injured party or compensate the representatives of a deceased victim whose death resulted from the medical negligence.
In medical negligence lawsuits in which the injured party or the representatives of the deceased are alleging medical malpractice, it must be shown that there was negligence on the part of the physician. There must be proof that the physician failed to render due care to the patient, which, in turn, resulted in the death of the patient or injury to the patient.
There are four cardinal legal elements that must be proven in such cases. First, the injured party or his or her representatives must prove that the doctor owed a professional and legal duty of care towards the injured or deceased patient. Second, there must have been a breach of the duty of care by the physician’s failure to treat the patient in a proper manner or by failing to adhere to the ordinary standard of care. Next, the death of the patient or injury rendered must result from the breach of duty by the physician. Finally, legal damages need to ensue from the act or omission on part of the physician resulting in the injury so that the legal system can address it.
In the United States, medical negligence law forms a part of civil law, rather than criminal statutes. Lawsuits that allege medical malpractice are usually heard in state trial courts, which have jurisdiction for such cases. However, in certain cases, claims stemming from medical malpractice also may be filed in a federal court.
Source: U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, “An Introduction to Medical Malpractice in the United States,” B. Sonny Bal, accessed on Oct. 21, 2014