Do I have a case?

Posted in: FAQ | Mar 15,2021

The most frequently asked question to our Indianapolis complex personal injury attorneys is, “do I have a case?” As much as we would love to always say “yes,” winning complex cases such as medical malpractice, wrongful death, catastrophic injury, product liability and semi-truck and road construction accidents can be an uphill battle. That said, we fight uphill battles all the time, and we wouldn’t take your case if we didn’t think you had one. Let’s break down some things you need to know about the various case types.

DO I HAVE A MEDICAL MALPRACTICE CASE?

In order to succeed in a malpractice claim, you must prove that you received substandard care, that you suffered an injury, and that the substandard care caused the injury. All three of these elements must be proven by an expert witness. A misdiagnosis may be considered medical malpractice only if your condition was such that a reasonably careful physician would have made the diagnosis. Second, you have to prove that you suffered some harm because of the missed diagnosis.

Under the Indiana Medical Malpractice Act, medical malpractice claims against healthcare providers who elect coverage under the Act are reviewed by a medical review panel where the patient selects a doctor, and the defendant selects a doctor. Those two doctors then select a third doctor to serve on the panel. An attorney who is agreeable to all the parties is chairman of the panel, organizes the information and sets up the meetings.

While the panel does not decide the case, the panel forms an opinion as to whether or not the evidence supports the medical malpractice claim. As a practical matter, many malpractice claims are resolved on the basis of the panel’s report. However, the patient still has the right to go to court, and the defendant doctor still has the right to defend the case, regardless of the panel opinion.

DO I HAVE A WRONGFUL DEATH CASE?

Wrongful death cases involve the death of a human being as the result of a wrongful act of another person. A wrongful death claim often arises when a victim who would otherwise have a valid personal injury claim is killed and is typically filed by a representative of the estate of the deceased. The same burden of proof that the victim would have had to meet if the victim lived are required to have a valid case. The financial loss can be devastating, but we recognize the non-economic losses are also staggering. We not only fully and completely investigate the facts and circumstances surrounding the event which caused the death, but also demonstrate clearly and convincingly the full extent of the survivors’ loss.

DO I HAVE A CATASTROPHIC INJURY CASE?

To have a catastrophic injury case, the victim must sustain an injury that is so serious that its effects leave him or her with permanent damage that prevents them from gainful work.

The three most common injury types in catastrophic injury cases are:

  • Physical injuries such as:
    • Severe burn injuries
    • Paralysis (partial or full)
    • Amputation of a limb
    • Severe bone fractures (or multiple bone fractures)
    • Damage to internal organs
  • Severe spinal cord injuries

     

  • Cognitive injuries such as traumatic brain and head injuries

Again, not only has the victim lost the ability to earn money, but also often incurs long-term, extensive medical bills relating to the injuries.

DO I HAVE A PRODUCT LIABILITY CASE?

Death or injuries caused by the use of dangerous or defective products constitute product liability. Manufacturers, distributors, wholesalers, and retailers may be held legally responsible for a defective product causing injury or death.

Defective product liability lawsuits can generally be grouped into three categories:

  • Products that have been defectively manufactured, in some way, either at the factory or at some point between the factory and wherever the product was purchased or used
  • Products that have been defectively designed and dangerous despite being correctly manufactured
  • Failure to provide adequate warnings or instructions regarding the proper use of the injury-causing product, or the potential health effects that could result from the product’s use

Montross Miller hires people who have specialized knowledge about particular products, and we have done so for several decades. Whether it is a motor vehicle, a particular instrument, an airplane engine, a medical device, or an appliance, we, along with independent experts, evaluate the design of the product, the circumstances surrounding it’s failure, the history of the product, other manufacturers of similar products, the manufacturer’s internal records–whatever it takes to determine why the product failed. Then, we determine the full extent of the damage suffered both by the accident victim as well as his or her family and loved ones. We then present the case to the insurance company for the manufacturer and determine whether the case can be resolved without litigation or whether it is to be presented to a jury for their determination.

DO I HAVE A SEMI-TRUCK ACCIDENT CASE?

When a driver and/or trucking company abuse their responsibilities, you may need a semi-truck accident attorney. If you are seriously injured or a member of your family is killed, you need a personal injury law firm that has experience digging into records maintained by the company and its driver. These are not only records of the operation of the truck, but also its maintenance records. Over-the-road trucks maintain computerized “global positioning systems” (GPS) that not only show where the truck was at any given time, but when it was running, how fast it was traveling, and when the brakes were applied. This can be critical to determining the specifics of the accident, especially since there are often conflicting estimates of vehicle speeds by witnesses. 

DO I HAVE A ROAD CONSTRUCTION ACCIDENT CASE?

When when municipalities and/or companies put profits before basic safety–through negligent roadway design, inadequate signage, or a variety of other ways–the result is often a road construction accident. In these cases, we help hold the responsible parties accountable to make sure that our clients are heard and the resulting injuries or deaths won’t happen again. 

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