Both Iowa and Illinois recognize an individual’s right to file a medical malpractice claim against entities and individuals who provide inadequate care. A lawsuit may be filed against a health care provider for medical malpractice when the treatment falls below a standard of care generally practiced by the medical community. That means that if a health care provider makes a mistake, and that mistake results in harm or injury to the Plaintiff, the Plaintiff may file a medical malpractice lawsuit against the health care provider.
Common malpractice claims include failure to diagnose, improper or inadequate treatment, and failure to warn a patient of any known risks from a procedure or treatment.
A plaintiff may bring a lawsuit against any health care provider whose actions or inactions caused the injury. This includes doctors, nurses, therapists, and anyone else in the medical community. It is crucial for the Plaintiff to be able to show that the health care provider either made a mistake, or deviated from the standard of care used by medical professionals.
Except in cases where gross and obvious negligence is involved, it is often necessary to obtain an expert witness. The expert witness is usually a health care provider who can testify as to the standard required in the medical community. Without an expert witness, it is almost impossible to establish medical malpractice.
The Plaintiff also must be able to prove that as a result of the health care provider’s mistake, they sustained some type of damages. Damages include compensatory and sometimes punitive damages. Individuals may recover for past and future medical expenses, long term care expenses, loss in earning capacity if the individual is unable to return to work, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of a loved one, pain, and emotional distress. If the health care provider engaged in wanton and reckless conduct, punitive damages may be awarded. Due to the many variables in determining damages, and the necessity of obtaining an expert witness, an individual harmed by a health care provider should consult with an attorney to determine their options.