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6 Things Clients Need to Know about Medical Malpractice and Personal Injury Claims

July 28, 2014

At Cogan & Power, P.C., one of the most common questions our accident and injury lawyers get asked by new medical malpractice and personal injury clients is: What happens next? How does the legal process work?

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Pursuing a medical malpractice or personal injury claim can be complex and confusing. While each case is different, below are 6 things that accident and injury victims should know when embarking on a lawsuit.

  1. Bad behavior alone is not a legal basis for obtaining monetary compensation. In order to be successful, you must prove the following: (1) you were owed a legal duty of care; (2) the defendant failed to adhere to that duty of care; and (3) the defendant’s departure from the standard of care caused you to sustain injuries or damages.
  2. You must be injured as a result of the misconduct. If, for example, a motorist runs a stop sign and you, as a pedestrian, dove to the ground to avoid getting hit, you will only have a legal claim if you were injured as a result. If you only suffer a skinned knee as a result, you probably do not have a legal claim.
  3. The conduct must deviate from accepted standards. In the case of a medical malpractice claim, it is not enough that the medical treatment you received was not as good as you could have gotten elsewhere. Many doctors are better or worse than others, but in order to prove medical negligence, you must show that the medical treatment you received was below the minimally accepted standards.
  4. The financial impact of your injuries matters. When assessing damages, the court will consider where you would have been financially had it not been for the personal injury accident or medical error. For instance, a twenty-year-old piano prodigy who loses use of his or her hand will probably receive more compensation than an elderly person who is retired and suffers the same injury.
  5. What would have happened if there had been no medical error or negligence? The court will also consider what injuries you might have suffered if the defendant had followed the requisite standard of care. For instance, if you still would have been injured even if the doctor had done everything he or she should have done, the court will look to the difference between what your injuries would have been with appropriate care and what they are now to assess damages.
  6. The wheels of justice turn much more slowly than clients and their lawyers would like. As we like to tell our clients, pursuing a medical malpractice or personal injury claim is like running a marathon, not a sprint. Often times clients become impatient with the slow pace with which a case proceeds, but there are a number of steps that go into a successful medical malpractice or personal injury claim, all of which take a great deal of time in order to do correctly. The following are some of the key components of a medical malpractice or personal injury lawsuit:
    • Plaintiff files complaint with the court.
    • Plaintiff waits for defendant’s response.
    • Plaintiff discloses witnesses and experts.
    • Plaintiff deposes defendant.
    • Defendant deposes plaintiff.
    • Defendant deposes plaintiff’s witnesses and experts, which can take several months to schedule and complete.
    • Defendant discloses witnesses and experts
    • Plaintiff deposes defendant’s witnesses and experts, which can take several months to schedule and complete.
    • Settlement negotiations take place, which can take several weeks, months, and even years as the parties go back and forth with settlement offers
    • If there is no settlement, the case will proceed to trial.

Contact an Experienced Accident and Injury Lawyer

At Cogan & Power, P.C., our skilled accident and injury lawyers focus on helping the victims of medical malpractice and other personal injury accidents obtain the financial compensation that they deserve. We will guide you every step of the way so that you understand the legal process and know what to expect. If you or a loved one has been the victim of negligence or medical error, do not hesitate to contact our office at (312) 477-2500 to learn more about what to expect in a personal injury or medical malpractice lawsuit.

If you have been injured in a personal injury or medical malpractice accident, do not hesitate to contact the Chicago accident and injury law firm of Cogan & Power at (312) 477-2500 to schedule a free case consultation, so that we can help you begin the process of recovery as soon as possible. If you cannot come to our offices in downtown Chicago, we will come to you. And because we take cases on a contingency basis, you will not pay any fee unless we get you compensation.