How to Start a Medical Malpractice Claim

Posted in: Medical Malpractice | Jul 08,2022

Injuries at the hand of medical professionals are never to be expected and can have devastating consequences. You’ll need some context if you are interested in finding how to start a medical malpractice claim. This post will help you navigate what constitutes medical malpractice and what actions you can take.

What is Medical Malpractice, and What if I Think I Have a Case?

Medical malpractice can be a mistake or negligence by a doctor or other healthcare practitioner. Under Indiana state law, you have the right to file a civil claim against doctors, hospitals, and other healthcare professionals that deviate from required medical standards and injure you. It’s important to note that filing a medical malpractice claim is more complicated than most lawsuits. Specific requirements have to be met before filing a medical malpractice claim. Filing a suit within the specified time frame allowed by state-specific laws is also essential. In Indiana, the statute of limitations for filing a medical malpractice lawsuit is two years from the date the negligence occurred. Although medical malpractice claims can provide you with compensation for your injuries, the process is incredibly challenging if you don’t have a skilled medical malpractice attorney representing you. As soon as you suspect a medical malpractice issue, consult with an attorney to discuss whether you may have a claim.

When Can You Sue for Medical Malpractice?

There are various circumstances in which patients and families can sue their doctors for negligence. Some of the most common forms of medical negligence include:

    • Diagnostic Errors – Misdiagnosis, delayed diagnosis, or failure to diagnose
    • Emergency Room Negligence – Failing to order appropriate and necessary tests, misreading test results, and failure to treat as needed
    • Surgical Errors – Surgical procedures on the wrong-site or wrong-side, wrong procedures, anesthesia mistakes, and dosing errors resulting in traumatic injuries
    • Medication Errors – Overdose, underdose, failure to ask about allergies. This can include other contraindications and prescribing the wrong drug.
    • Treatment Errors – Improper treatment, delayed treatment, and errors during treatment

Who Can Be Named in a Malpractice Case?

In a medical malpractice case, physicians, nurses, anesthesiologists, health care facilities, hospitals, and more people or specialists (radiologists, pathologists, etc.) can be named as defendants.

How Do You Prove Medical Malpractice?

In the United States, anyone alleging medical malpractice generally must prove four elements to make out a successful medical malpractice claim. The elements include: 

  1. the existence of a legal duty on the doctor’s part to provide care or treatment, 
  2. a breach of this duty, 
  3. an injury to the patient as a result of the breach of duty, 
  4. the existence of damages that flow from the injury.

Pre-Suit Requirements

Pre-suit requirements for medical malpractice claims differ from other types of personal injury lawsuits. To begin the process, your attorney needs to obtain an affidavit from another doctor or healthcare expert confirming your injury or illness suffered is related to medical malpractice. An experienced medical malpractice lawyer can tell you who to see or locate an appropriate medical expert on your behalf.

Afterward, you must notify the person or entity responsible for the malpractice that you are initiating litigation. The notice should also include the affidavit affirming the plaintiff’s medical malpractice claim.

The defendant has 90 days to respond to the claim after receiving notice of your intent to litigate. During this period, the defendant can collect evidence and review the medical records. Although this process can lead to a negotiated settlement agreement, most doctors and medical facilities accused of malpractice opt to fight these claims in court. After 90 days, you have the legal right to file a medical malpractice lawsuit.

Deadline to File a Medical Negligence Claim

Every Indiana lawsuit must comply with the state’s statute of limitations. Medical malpractice claims are no exception to the law. The statute of limitations is the deadline for filing a civil lawsuit. Once the time is up, you can no longer file a claim and risk losing your right to seek compensation for your injuries. An experienced attorney knows and can ensure you comply with all legal deadlines of a malpractice claim.

The statute of limitations for filing a medical malpractice claim in Indiana expires two years from the date the incident occurs. This is not the date you discovered or noticed the injuries – it is two years from the date of the incident, whether that was a procedure or a treatment. Although the statute of limitations is pretty clear, some exceptions could extend this deadline in rare cases. For instance, if a doctor attempts to conceal their errors or negligence, a claimant then has two years from the date of discovering their injuries. In this case, the malpractice lawsuit must be filed within seven years of an incident.

The Legal Process

Once the case is filed with the court, an interrogatory is a form submitted by the medical professional or hospital’s lawyer. Their goal is to gather preliminary and demographic information about you. Counsel will likely question you under oath. These depositions are recorded for later use in court. The parties have an opportunity to reach a mutual understanding and settle the case before it goes to trial.

An Attorney Can Help with Filing a Medical Malpractice Claim

It’s natural to feel overwhelmed and uncertain after suffering a medical injury. If you believe you are a victim of medical malpractice, you shouldn’t suffer in silence. Although it’s not a quick and easy process, there can be a path forward for you.

When filing a medical malpractice claim in Indiana, the attorneys at Montross Miller will fight to ensure your voice is heard and medical professionals are held accountable for their negligent actions.

Contact us today for guidance on how to start a medical malpractice claim. We’ll gather information about the incident and your injuries to determine if you have a valid case under Indiana medical malpractice law and help in every way we can.