When you visit a hospital, you don’t go there thinking that it’s going to result in a lawsuit. You are there to get better and it’s only when something goes terribly wrong that you or your loved ones think about finding a lawyer to sue.

When that happens, it’s likely you’ll learn a lot about the legal system you didn’t know. For example, there are time limits for bringing a lawsuit. To sue for malpractice in Illinois you need the opinion of a medical expert that malpractice occurred. You’ll also learn that these are difficult cases that take a lot of time.

One thing I learned that I didn’t hear about until I was licensed for more than ten years is that sometimes you’ll be shocked over who you actually have to sue, and that can change the rules. One such situation happens to many people who go to West Suburban Hospital and many other medical facilities in the Chicago area.

Many of the doctors there are actually Federal Government employees. Sometimes this is done to provide assistance to those in under-served or poorer areas. Other times it’s done to help military doctors keep up with the skills that they need.

Whatever the reason, most patients don’t even know they are seeing a Federally employed doctor. They are just there to get medical care. But if you experience malpractice it’s incredibly important to know who the doctor truly works for. These lawsuits are governed by the Federal Torts Claim Act (FTCA) and have their own rules.

First off, the time limit to sue Federal doctors is different. It’s two years which can be the same as regular Illinois cases, but it’s way shorter if you are talking about a birth injury or injury to a minor. In those cases you might think you have eight years to sue (Illinois law) but you really only have two (Federal law). So if you aren’t aware of this and wait too long, it could literally cost you millions.

The other big difference is that before you sue a Federal doctor, you have to file what’s called a Form 95 that lays out the facts and asks for specific compensation. This gives the government time to respond and has to be done before a suit can happen. Beware, you can’t receive more than you ask for so it’s important to ask for a large number even if that number is unrealistic.

The final difference is where the case gets filed. It has to happen in Federal Court. That expands the jury pool and can often make it harder to get a big recovery.

All of this is of course why it’s really important to get an attorney who has years of handling these cases and knows what to look for, how to win them, can afford to bring these very expensive cases and has a track record of success.

If you would like our opinion as to which Illinois attorney is best for your medical malpractice lawsuit, please contact us any time at 312-346-5320.