Many personal injury attorneys both in the Chicago area and throughout the Great Lakes Tri-State region are used to taking a wide range of cases involving a variety of different injuries.
As a word of caution to both these attorneys and their clients, medical malpractice cases are not good cases for a relatively inexperienced personal injury professional to take on, even if it as a favor to a would-be client or that person’s family.
Special laws make these cases complicated, and a mis-step could mean that a patient’s valid claim fails through no fault of the patient. In fact, if the mistake is serious enough, an attorney can find himself or herself on the receiving end of a lawsuit or disciplinary action.
Illinois has an affidavit requirement
For example, in Illinois, any formal complaint of medical malpractice has to include a sworn statement referring to a report from a doctor or other expert. The report must explain that, in the expert’s opinion and after a review of the facts, the case is meritorious.
The rules as to who qualifies as an expert in a given case are detailed, but suffice it to say that not anyone can prepare the written report, which, incidentally, the patient must include with the affidavit.
Not filing these documents as required can lead to a person’s medical malpractice claim getting dismissed. Filing an affidavit that winds up being inaccurate can mean both dismissal and additional penalties.
The states surrounding Illinois also have similar or even more stringent requirements.
There are other important details to medical malpractice actions as well
Those contemplating taking on a medical malpractice case should also be aware that other laws, such as statutes of limitations and laws protecting governmental agencies from malpractice claims, may also come into play.
Moreover, most medical malpractice request also require some knowledge of medical terminology and procedures.
For a number of reasons, a personal injury attorney faced with a medical malpractice claim may wish to consider referring the matter.