If you or a loved one have been the victim of medical malpractice, you may be eligible for compensation. Medical malpractice occurs when a medical professional fails to provide a patient with an acceptable standard of care, and this failure results in injury or illness. Indiana law holds medical professionals to a high standard of care, and when this standard is not upheld, patients can sue for monetary damages.
Medical malpractice injuries can be physically, mentally, and financially devastating. At Custy Law Firm | Accident & Injury Lawyers, we are a team of experienced Indiana medical malpractice attorneys who will be on your side to help you recover compensation. We are highly skilled in this specialized field, and we have the resources to hold the medical professionals and their insurance companies accountable for the harm they caused. To schedule your free case consultation, give us a call today at (219) 286-7361.
Why Do I Need an Indiana Medical Malpractice Attorney?
Medical malpractice claims are some of the most complicated injury claims in the civil law system. This is largely because medical malpractice concerns not only complex legal issues but also highly technical medical evidence. Indiana has many rules and regulations regarding these claims, including when they can be made and the amount of money for which plaintiffs are eligible. You need to hire an attorney who knows how to gather medical evidence, as well as which expert witnesses to hire.
You should never sign any legal documents or accept any money from a hospital without consulting an attorney. A hospital may ask you to sign releases or give you a settlement in exchange for you to drop your case. Once you sign a legal document or accept money, it is nearly impossible to undo. You need to ensure you are getting a fair deal before accepting any agreement.
Medical malpractice cases do sometimes end in settlements, and this may be the best legal option for you. However, an attorney will be able to advise you on when you should accept a settlement or when you may be able to negotiate it higher.
Why Choose Custy Law Firm | Accident & Injury Lawyers?
Custy Law Firm | Accident & Injury Lawyers is a team of highly experienced Indiana medical malpractice attorneys who are ready to fight for you. We are passionate about the work we do to help our injured clients, and we will use every legal tool available to win your case. At Custy Law Firm | Accident & Injury Lawyers, we treat every case with the individualized attention and strategy it deserves, and never apply a one-size-fits-all solution to a case. Our clients consistently give us outstanding testimonials for our hard work and success.
We understand that many people worry about the cost of hiring a lawyer. At Custy Law Firm | Accident & Injury Lawyers, we work on a contingency-fee basis, which means that you only pay us if you win. Instead of charging any bills or fees up-front, we take a percentage of your overall winnings at the end of your case. If you don’t win, you don’t owe us any money.
What Is Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice is when a medical professional, such as a doctor or nurse, fails to provide an acceptable standard of care, which results in injury to the patient. The standard of care is considered to be the way in which other professionals with similar training would have reasonably acted. Not all bad outcomes or mistakes rise to the level of medical malpractice. Proving medical malpractice usually requires testimony from medical experts.
Common examples of medical malpractice include:
- Medication errors can happen at either the physician or pharmacist level. A physician might prescribe the wrong medication or wrong dosage or prescribe a medication that has a dangerous interaction with another medication taken by the patient. A pharmacist could, on the other hand, dispense the wrong medication or give incorrect instructions on how to take the medication.
- Misdiagnosis occurs when a doctor does not correctly diagnose your illness. The doctor may prescribe medicine that does not improve your condition, while your actual illness may be worsening due to lack of treatment. Bear in mind, however, that some conditions are difficult to diagnose, and a misdiagnosis does not necessarily mean malpractice.
- Failure to treat is similar to misdiagnosis and occurs when a doctor fails to make any diagnosis or recommend any treatment.
- Surgical mistakes are, unfortunately, quite common. Surgeons may operate on the wrong part of the body, operate on the wrong patient, or leave surgical items inside the body. Mistakes during surgery can also result in infections and bleeding.
- Anesthesia mistakes can cause devastating injuries, such as brain damage, organ failure, heart attacks, and allergic reactions.
- Emergency room errors: Emergency rooms often see hundreds of patients a day who are suffering from urgent health emergencies. Emergency rooms can become chaotic and disorganized, especially if they aren’t well prepared for a sudden increase in patients. This can lead to rushed treatments, misdiagnoses, patient mix-ups, and other mistakes.
- Birth injuries can start during prenatal care or during the birth process and can result in the child’s lifelong disability or death. Such injuries can be caused by mistakes that include delaying a C-section, failing to diagnose disabilities, providing the mother with inadequate care, and making errors during the delivery process.
- Lack of informed consent: Medical health professionals must provide their patients with all information needed to make an informed decision about a course of treatment. This information should include potential risks, benefits, side effects, and potential alternatives. Even if a patient signs release forms, their consent can be voided if they were not given sufficient information to make an informed decision.
Medical malpractice is rarely intentional. Malpractice is often caused by:
- Inadequate resources
- Inexperience/lack of training
- Medical professional fatigue
- Unmaintained health records
- Drug or alcohol abuse by medical professional
Medical Review Panel
Medical malpractice cases in Indiana start with the plaintiff (the injured patient) filing a complaint with a medical review panel. This panel is usually composed of one attorney and three medical professionals. The attorney acts as the chair of the panel but does not vote. The panel reviews medical records, hears from witnesses, and examines any other evidence. The panel has 180 days to give an opinion on whether or not the defendant (the medical professional who harmed the patient) failed to uphold an appropriate standard of care.
The panel’s opinion that the doctor did violate their standard of care does not automatically mean that you have won your case. However, their report will be admissible in court, and it can be compelling evidence in your malpractice case. On the other hand, an opinion that the doctor did not violate their standard of care does not prevent you from going to court, but it will likely make it much more difficult for you to win.
Filing a Lawsuit
After you have received the panel’s opinion, you can choose to file a medical malpractice lawsuit. Before your case goes to trial, the hospital or medical establishment may offer you a settlement in exchange for you dropping your case and releasing them from further liability. Your attorney will advise you on whether or not you should take the settlement, but ultimately it is your decision. Your attorney may be able to negotiate a higher settlement.
If you choose not to take a settlement, your case will be adjudicated in a civil court by either a judge or jury. Both sides will present evidence and call witnesses. At the end of the case, the judge or jury will decide whether or not medical malpractice occurred, and if it did, how much money the medical establishment must compensate you for losses.
How Much Money Is My Case Worth?
Every medical malpractice case is unique, and final compensation amounts vary greatly. Indiana does, however, have a cap on the total amount of damages that any victim can receive in a medical malpractice case. For all malpractice injuries that occurred after July 1st, 2017, you cannot receive any more than $1.65 million dollars. Unlike many other states, Indiana law includes both economic and non-economic damages in this cap. That means that you cannot receive more than $1.65 million for both your medical bills and pain and suffering. This is in contrast to many other states that only put caps on pain and suffering damages.
Statute of Limitations
If you have been the victim of medical malpractice, it’s important to get started on your claim as quickly as possible. You have a limited amount of time to make your claim. This time limit is referred to as a statute of limitations. In Indiana, you have two years from the date of your injury to make a claim. There are some exceptions to this rule for those who were not aware of their injury for several months or years after it began. Furthermore, children who became the victim of medical malpractice while under the age of six are eligible for malpractice claims until their eighth birthday.
The compassionate medical malpractice lawyers at Custy Law Firm | Accident & Injury Lawyers are ready to fight for you. We understand the serious effects that medical malpractice can have on an individual’s life, and we will do everything possible to help you secure compensation.