The Name Game: Determining Proper Parties in a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit

The Name Game: Determining Proper Parties in a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit

In a recent medical malpractice case filed in the Illinois courts, the plaintiff is alleging that his wife died as a result of the negligence of one or more doctors who were involved in a procedure that she was undergoing while in their care. According to one report of the contents of the complaint, the plaintiff’s wife became unresponsive during surgery and she died shortly thereafter. While the language of the complaint may seem to suggest that the error was with the anesthesia she received, the plaintiff names more than just the doctor responsible for that portion of the surgery. It can be confusing for those who do not file lawsuits on a regular basis as to how numerous individuals or organizations may be named as defendants in a lawsuit without the appearance of explicit proof against each and every defendant. This complexity is one that is very common with medical malpractice suits for a variety of reasons.

Name them now or forever hold your peace?

One may think that numerous individuals or groups are named as defendants in an attempt to prevent the inability to sue them at a later date. While this may be true if statute of limitations issues arise, it is not necessarily the driving force behind a plaintiff’s decision to file against many defendants. Sometimes, the evidence that is available to a plaintiff at the time of filing is not sufficient to provide a clear-cut answer as to who made the fatal error in their situation. Also, especially in medical malpractice cases where numerous parties may be involved in one patient’s care, naming multiple entities is necessary to ensure that each person or entity who owed a duty to the patient is examined for possible negligence.

Further, when a patient is under the care of multiple health care providers, it is sometimes compounding negligent acts that lead to a person’s serious injury or death and merely focusing on one individual in a chain would not provide a fair outcome for any party. It is for these reasons that naming the proper defendants in a medical malpractice lawsuit can take more skill than many individuals or less experienced lawyers think. In these types of cases there is a delicate balance between the “shotgun approach” in which every possible person and entity who ever saw the plaintiff is named, and the single defendant idea that places all the blame on one or two entities or individuals. Neither of these approaches is likely to lead to the best possible outcome for the plaintiff, which is that the persons most liable for the injury or death are held responsible.

IL Medical Malpractice Lawyer Bob Edens

Need Help or Have Questions?

The Law Offices of Robert T. Edens, P.C. has attorneys in Waukegan who are skilled at all aspects of medical malpractice litigation and are ready for your call. Our professionals can answer your questions and provide high quality advice as to how to proceed with your case. Even if you are not sure you are ready to file a lawsuit, our team understands and can provide information with regard to the statute of limitations on the issues involved in your situation, so that you can proceed whenever you are ready.


Call today for a free consultation

(847) 395-2200