A Goshen man injured on the job in 2005 finally won justice after an Indiana court ordered a $4.25 million settlement in his case. The decision comes more than a decade after the man was first injured. The result is seen as a long-overdue victory for the plaintiff. Some think most of the damages will never be collected due to the statutory cap on medical malpractice judgments in Indiana.
A Breach of the Standard of Care
In early 2005, Robert Lehman suffered a back injury while on the job at Bashor Children’s Home. He was sent to Dunlap Urgent Care Center, where he received an injected painkiller and a prescription. He was then told he could return to work. His condition deteriorated, however, and the pain continued. On a second visit to Dunlap, he was prescribed still more painkillers. However, by this time, Lehman had developed a serious infection at the original injection site, which went undiagnosed. Soon after, Lehman wound up in the emergency room. His condition was diagnosed and immediate surgery was performed. As the judge noted, “Mr. Lehman was lucky to survive.”
Even so, Lehman has been unable to walk since, and he suffers from constant pain. Based on the information before the court, the judge ruled that Dunlap and the doctor who saw Lehman on the second visit breached the standard of care in his case.
Extensive Damages Calculated
In the ruling, itemized expenses for medical necessities and lost wages add up to more than $1.5 million. The court added nearly $2.7 million on top of this to compensate Lehman for past and future pain and suffering, bringing the total of the judgment to $4.25 million. The judge separately awarded another $450,000 to Lehman’s wife for her suffering and loss of companionship.
The judge noted that Indiana state law currently caps medical malpractice judgments at $1.25 million (earlier this year, legislation was signed which will increase the medical malpractice cap up to $1.8 million by 2019). The judge called Lehman’s injury “catastrophic” and seemed to take the position that since the damage amount in this case was based on evidence and proven at trial, the cap should not apply. Regardless, the cap on medical malpractice damages in Indiana is $1.25 million.
Indiana Medical Malpractice Lawyers
When a person has been injured and turns to a medical professional for help, it’s not only normal for a patient to expect a proper standard of care—that standard is actually required by both the medical profession and by law. When a breach of care happens, it can result in a patient suffering more harm than their original injury.
If you or a loved one has been injured through a breach of the standard of care, negligence, failure to diagnose, or any other action that falls under the definition of medical malpractice, you are entitled to compensation to pay for the medical expenses that result, as well as other costs including lost wages. You may also be entitled to compensation for future lost income, pain and suffering, and other damages. At Wilson Kehoe Winingham, our Indianapolis attorneys understand medical malpractice law. We offer a free consultation to help new clients learn what to expect when pursuing this kind of claim. Give us a call to set up an appointment to discuss your case today. Our number is 317-920-6400, or you can contact us online.