Case Highlights the Importance of Experts in Medical Malpractice Cases

Medical malpractice cases often rely on experts who can testify about what a reasonable medical provider would have done in similar circumstances. In fact, this is often the most hotly contested issue in many cases. In a recently decided case, the plaintiff brought a medical malpractice suit against an emergency room doctor after the doctor allegedly misdiagnosed her.

stethoscope-1-1501271The plaintiff, a 15-year-old girl, fell from a large structure and was brought to the emergency room after demonstrating signs of a stroke. After performing some basic tests, the doctor believed that she had suffered a concussion and discharged her. The plaintiff went to another emergency room the following day after continuing to experience symptoms, where she was discovered to have suffered a stroke overnight.

The plaintiff alleged that her doctor was negligent by failing to diagnose her with a carotid artery dissection, a condition in which the layers of an individual’s arteries separate, often causing a stroke. She also alleged that the misdiagnosis delayed her treatment, which ultimately resulted in permanent neurological damage.

The case went to trial, but it ended abruptly when the court granted the doctor’s motion for a directed verdict. The court determined that the plaintiff failed to prove her claim because she did not present expert testimony in order to show the connection between the misdiagnosis and her injuries. The plaintiff appealed, arguing that expert testimony was not required to demonstrate the connection, and that the court should not have excluded expert testimony even after she failed to disclose the necessary information beforehand. The court rejected the plaintiff’s appeal and affirmed the decision, bringing her case to an end.

The Importance of Expert Testimony

Medical experts are very important in medical malpractice cases. For example, if a doctor misdiagnoses a patient, as in the case above, an expert is needed to explain why that doctor’s diagnosis was incompetent, or below the applicable standard of care. Often, this means that the expert will look at how the treating physician determined the diagnosis, considering all of the relevant information concerning the patient.

In Illinois, after the complaint is filed, generally the plaintiff needs to file an affidavit explaining that they consulted with a medical expert who has practiced or taught in the last six years in the same area of medicine at issue in the case. In addition, the affidavit must state that the expert is qualified in the area, based on demonstrated competence or experience, and that the expert found the basis for the lawsuit reasonable. Failing to complete the necessary steps could result in the dismissal of one’s case, as demonstrated by the case above.

Do You Have a Medical Malpractice Claim?

If you have been misdiagnosed or otherwise suffered harm due to the actions of a medical practitioner, you may be able to prove that medical malpractice was committed. If you are able to successfully prove medical malpractice, you may be able to recover compensatory damages. Compensatory damages may consist of amounts for any of the following: past and future medical expenses, lost wages, scarring and disfigurement, and any pain and suffering that you endured as a result of the incident. The Chicago lawyers at Moll Law Group are available to advise individuals who have suffered from medical malpractice. Our skilled attorneys know what is required in order to prove a medical malpractice claim, including how to bring in experts to support your case. To arrange for a free initial consultation, call 312-462-1700 to set up a free initial consultation. You can also contact us through our online form.

See More Posts:

Common Carriers Must Take Reasonable Care or Face Liability, Illinois Injury Lawyer Blog, January 12, 2016.

Safer Technologies in Cars, But Not For Everyone, Illinois Injury Lawyer Blog, February 2, 2016.

Illinois Protects Police with Partial Immunity in Police Misconduct Cases, Illinois Injury Lawyer Blog, January 16, 2016.