Medical Malpractice Law in Indiana
Montross Miller provides clients facing the fallout of medical malpractice with the confidence to take on the hospitals and insurance carriers with confidence. If you’re facing an injury from anesthesia, childbirth, dental malpractice, hospital negligence or any of the myriad of medical malpractice types, talk to us. Get clarity on the merits of your case from a team of experts that other attorneys call for help.
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WHAT QUALIFIES AS MEDICAL MALPRACTICE?
WHAT IT IS
By definition, medical malpractice is negligence committed by a professional health care provider resulting in harm to a patient or patients. There are three components of medical malpractice that all cases must have:
- A failure by a professional to meet the medical standard of care
- An injury that results from that negligence
- Significant suffering caused by that injury
Because juries are often not familiar with medical terms and the law, a victim’s case may be misunderstood if an expert, medical malpractice attorney is not trying the case. Medical malpractice attorneys are skilled in identifying whether medical professionals have violated the standard of care while attending to their patients. Your best bet is always to find a firm that can make your case.
WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE
Not all cases of medical malpractice include a traditional medical doctor. According to the legal definition, a medical professional is someone in the medical field with licensing or certification. Examples include dentists, EMTs, nurses, nursing home employees, chiropractors, pharmacists and anesthesiologists, although there are many more.
These caregivers train for years to give their patients the best care possible. Still, they can make errors that have extremely negative effects on their patients. Examples include premature release from a hospital, misdiagnosis, birth injuries and medication errors, among many others. Each of these can cause tremendous suffering to patients and their loved ones.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Medical malpractice causes patients and their loved ones to suffer in multiple areas of their life. While victims often experience health complications, the consequences can extend even further. Some may lose jobs and families, or they may experience mental or emotional distress. The damage is often severe, and for that reason, Montross Miller sees it as our mission to empower victims of medical malpractice to recover losses. We resonate with the frustration that stems from suffering caused by negligence and improper care, and we want to help.
INVESTIGATION & REVIEW PROCEDURES
REVIEWING YOUR CASE
Medical malpractice leaves lasting physical, emotional, mental or financial consequences that can put patients at a disadvantage for life. We work alongside you to determine whether you have a medical malpractice claim that we can use to give you the justice and closure you deserve. If you have a case, our Indianapolis medical malpractice attorneys are here to ensure you get your due compensation without upfront fees.
After you contact us, one of our paralegals will meet with you over the phone and take detailed notes about your claim to guarantee you and your case are fairly represented. After the call, the paralegals will take the case to a review meeting attended by our attorneys and medical experts. Together, they will determine whether to pursue the case further.
If the review team believes medical malpractice has occurred, they will investigate the case further. At this point, we will invite you into our office for a personal conference with an attorney. The attorney will guide you down the path of bringing your claim forward, request more information, and answer any questions you have. We will ask you to sign a representation agreement and a release of medical records. Then, we will bring on a physician and a paralegal to review your records and determine whether your claim is legitimate. When they reach an agreement, we will meet with you again and explain our recommendation based on your needs. We will then help you make an informed decision about whether to go forward with the claim.
IF YOU HAVE A CASE
Our attorneys work to strengthen your case as we prepare to form a lawsuit on your behalf. Our goal is to set your life back on the right trajectory so that you and your loved ones can move forward. We at Montross Miller will take the time to ensure that we represent you accurately, that your story is told and your voice is heard.
THE INDIANA MEDICAL MALPRACTICE ACT
WHAT IT IS
When medical malpractice attorneys form lawsuits against Indiana medical professionals, they must follow the Indiana Medical Malpractice Act. As someone who may have experienced medical malpractice, you deserve to understand the impact of this Act.
*Note: The following is only true for those wishing to file a complaint against a medical professional under Indiana law.*
The Act states that medical review panels must review all medical malpractice claims before an attorney files them in court. A healthcare provider and their insurance carrier must be notified of the claim within legal time restraints. With a few exceptions, patients must file claims of malpractice in the first two years after the incident. Exceptions include children and claims of reasonable discovery. If the patient is under the age of six, a claim may be filed before their eighth birthday. Also, if the patient could not have reasonably discovered the injustice in the first two years following the malpractice, there may still be a case.
The Act also requires that Indiana has a Patient’s Compensation Fund (PCF) to ensure that all patients who win their cases receive compensation. The Fund helps pay for the settlement, since the Indiana healthcare provider can only be responsible for $250,000-$500,000, depending on when the malpractice occurred.
A victim, known under the law as the plaintiff, will file a proposed medical malpractice complaint with the Indiana Department of Insurance. The Department will then notify the defendant, or the medical professional in question, and their insurance carrier of the proposed claim. The defendant will then acquire a defense attorney.
Once this happens, the plaintiff and the defendant work together to form a medical review panel. To ensure impartiality, these two parties each select a doctor to serve on the panel. The two doctors then choose a third member, and an attorney serves as a non-voting chairman. The plaintiff and the defense both have the right to give testimony. The parties prepare booklets called medical malpractice submissions that describe their cases. These submissions may contain medical records, statements from parties, testimonies, expert reports, medical texts, medical journal articles, or other pieces of evidence.
As the members of the panel review the submissions, the plaintiff and the defendant can ask the doctors about their views on the validity of the case. When they are done reviewing, the panel will express whether or not they believe the evidence supports the plaintiff’s complaint. This opinion does not decide the case, however. The plaintiff still has the right to take the complaint to court, although the panel’s decision tends to sway the jury. There are rare times when it may appear that the panel is trying to defend a doctor against a legitimate malpractice claim. In these circumstances, we will work with the plaintiff to ensure that they get the fair trial they deserve.
SETTLEMENT OF MEDICAL MALPRACTICE CLAIMS
Medical malpractice attorneys must help victims of medical malpractice recover from the damages that they have suffered. This means that each settlement must fit the case. Since the amount of money in a settlement varies from case to case, we cannot obtain estimates until the details are fully discovered and discussed by our professionals.
CASES REGARDING MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS IN INDIANA
The mandated maximum for settlements varies from state to state, with some states having no maximum at all. For cases dealing with medical professionals under the State of Indiana’s Medical Malpractice Act, the money paid in damages is capped at different amounts depending on when the malpractice occurred:
- $500,000 for an act of malpractice that occurred before January 1, 1990
- $750,000 for an act of malpractice that occurred after December 31, 1989 and before July 1, 1999
- $1,250,000 for an act of malpractice that occurred after June 30, 1999 and before July 1, 2017
- $1,650,000 for an act of malpractice that occurred after June 30, 2017 and before July 1, 2019
- $1,800,000 for an act of malpractice that occurs after June 30, 2019
If you believe you have experienced medical malpractice with a medical professional in Indiana, look for a law firm that is familiar with the state’s regulations. Montross Miller is based in Indiana and is suited to the best possible settlement for your circumstances.