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How is medical malpractice determined in Illinois?

To fully understand how medical malpractice claims work, you must look at how it is defined and how it is determined in Illinois. A clear understanding of this is an important thing to have, both when determining if a claim makes sense and when deciding to file one -- and how to go about doing so.

The first thing to look at is how it is defined. It centers around the idea of negligence. If a certain level of care -- thought of as the "standard" -- was expected and was not given, it could mean that the health care provider was negligent. Of course, the "standard" does leave a bit of room for interpretation, but it can be clear-cut in some cases, such as when a serious injury is the result.

Now, in determining if this is what happened, looking at the damages that someone suffered is the key. Was he or she injured by actions that were taken or things that were not done? Did he or she run into any other damages as a result? If so, the health care provider could be responsible for medical malpractice.

However, it is important to note that a patient who does not get the outcome that he or she wanted or hoped for does not always have a medical malpractice claim. For example, a surgery may not be able to save someone's life after an accident, simply because the injuries were already too extensive. However, if surgical errors are made that cause the death, that changes things for the surviving family members.

In short, doctors are not expected to be perfect with ideal outcomes every time, but they are expected not to make mistakes and not to make things worse, based on standards of care.

Source: Forbes, "10 Things You Want To Know About Medical Malpractice" Demetrius Cheeks, Sep. 04, 2014

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