Posted in: Oct 19,2021|
Perhaps you or a loved one has been injured or harmed in a medical procedure and, given your understanding of the facts of the case, you think you might be a victim of medical malpractice. In this post, we’ll cover what you need to know about the subject as well as how to file a medical malpractice claim in Indiana.
When you suspect you or a loved one may have been a victim of a negligent medical professional, you can do a little investigative work. A good starting point is to make sure you understand what defines medical malpractice, look at some examples, do a little online research, and then get expert counsel for clarification of your questions and evaluation of your case.
MEDICAL MALPRACTICE DEFINED AND WHAT’S UNIQUE TO INDIANA
First, you’ll want to determine the legal considerations that are universal in their application and then identify those that are specific to Indiana. So, what is medical malpractice? As you may already know, the simple explanation is that if a medical provider has made a mistake (by act or omission) and you (the patient) has been harmed, and there was intent or a knowing failure to act on the behalf of the medical provider, medical malpractice may have occurred.
The piece that can be most difficult to determine and prove is the intent or knowing failure on the part of the healthcare provider. This critical factor raises a medical negligence case to medical malpractice. There are various types of medical malpractice including misdiagnosis, childbirth injury, surgical errors and anesthesia errors. Real-life examples are not hard to find and may be all too relatable. What about the state of Indiana? Here, the Indiana Medical Malpractice Act guides the adjudication of medical malpractice cases.
THE MEDICAL MALPRACTICE ACT AND THE PROCESS OF FILING A MEDICAL MALPRACTICE CLAIM
The Indiana Medical Malpractice Act states that medical review panels (MRPs) must review all medical malpractice claims before an attorney files them in court. With a few exceptions, patients must file claims of malpractice in the first two years of the incident. The act also requires that Indiana maintain a Patient’s Compensation Fund (PCF) to ensure that all patients who win their cases receive compensation. The fund helps pay for a malpractice lawsuit settlement, since the Indiana healthcare provider can only be responsible for $250,000 to $500,000, depending on when the malpractice occurred.
If you are the victim, you will have to file a proposed medical malpractice complaint with the Indiana Department of Insurance. The department notifies the medical professional and their insurance carrier. They will acquire an attorney. From there, the plaintiff and defendant work together to form an impartial medical review panel. The panel reviews the detailed medical malpractice submissions from both parties. After review of the case, the panel expresses their view on its validity. Often the parties agree to settle, but the plaintiff can take the case to court, where the opinion of the panel will hold considerable sway.
State law also guides the allowable settlement amounts in these cases. Medical malpractice lawsuit settlements vary from case to case. Mandated maximums for settlements are defined in the State of Indiana’s Medical Malpractice Act, capped at different amounts depending on when the malpractice occurred. As a relevant example, for malpractice that occurred after June 30, 2019, the state mandated maximum for settlement is $1,800,000.
Now that you’ve learned a bit more about filing a medical malpractice claim in Indiana, you likely see the complexity of the process. As we alluded to up front, knowing how to file a medical malpractice claim in Indiana is preceded by the question of whether you have a case to file. To explore that question, hire an experienced attorney, one with specific knowledge of the intricacies of the Medical Malpractice Act. Montross Miller has a network of physician consultants and an in-house physician attorney for expertise and a track record of success.