Updated June 27, 2020
Filing a medical malpractice claim in Indiana can be a stressful and time-consuming experience. In addition to the mental and physical anguish you’ve endured, you are now required to prove your life was affected by the negligence of a trusted medical professional. While you may want to put off filing a lawsuit until you’re able to handle the stress better, the fact is you can’t.
In Indiana, with the exception of injury to minors under the age of six, you only have two years to file a medical malpractice claim. While this time period may seem relatively extended, it goes by quickly, especially because there are several steps to file an Indiana medical malpractice claim.
Before you file a claim with the Indiana Department of Insurance, you need to know if you have a case. Suffering an injury at the hands of a medical professional does not necessarily mean negligence occurred. Surgeries and medical procedures have known risks, so it’s important to first meet with a medical malpractice lawyer to gain professional insight into how strong of a case you have.
When seeking an attorney for a review of a medical injury, always seek an attorney who has extensive experience in medical malpractice cases.
After you’ve spoken with an Indiana medical malpractice attorney, you’ll have a better idea of whether you should pursue a claim. At this point, you can choose to work with an attorney, who will gather and file necessary documents for you, or follow through with the claim on your own.
While we provide the following information to help you better understand and potentially navigate the filing process, we also want to communicate that medical malpractice lawsuits are some of the most challenging lawsuits to pursue. They’re not just time-consuming, costly, and littered with unforeseen complications; you’re also up against a healthcare provider that is backed by an experienced legal team that is prepared to do everything it takes to win.
No matter who is pursuing the medical malpractice claim, the same steps need to be followed. Other states will have similar requirements, but the following steps are specifically for medical malpractice claims filed in Indiana.
Medical records provide the most objective evidence in a medical malpractice case. All of your medical records and supporting documentation—including records relating to consultations, evaluations, tests, referring and treating physicians, and prescriptions—need to be gathered from all healthcare professionals, hospitals, and treatment centers.
Acquiring these records as soon as possible allows your attorney to secure the advice of expert witnesses, who will help to determine whether you have a viable medical malpractice case. Expert witnesses can also be extremely helpful in the case itself, as they may provide testimony to the cause and treatment of your injuries.
In Indiana, medical malpractice victims (or their attorney) must file a complaint with the Indiana Department of Insurance. This complaint must be delivered or mailed by registered or certified mail. The complaint must contain the following information:
The complaint must also be accompanied by several documents:
Before the case can proceed to court, a medical review panel must be consulted. The opinion of the panel can be used as evidence in your case, and panel members may be called to testify.
The medical panel is made up three healthcare providers, including at least two who practice in the same area of medicine as the defendant, and one lawyer.
A minimum of 20 days after you have submitted a complaint with the Indiana Department of Insurance, either party in the lawsuit may request the formation of the medical review panel. If neither party requests the formation of the review panel, no panel will be formed.
The purpose of this panel is to consider all the evidence, including medical charts, x-rays, lab work, and expert witnesses, and render an opinion as to whether the evidence supports the claim that the defendant failed to provide the appropriate standard of care.
After the medical review panel members have been selected and approved, all evidence relevant to the case must be turned over to the panel. This evidence may include the following:
The panel is compensated by whichever party wins, as per the panel’s expert opinion. If the panel sides with the healthcare provider, you are not restricted from accepting an out of court settlement or proceeding with a court case if you so choose.
The insurance company of the healthcare provider may be willing to settle out of court, so it is important to notify them of your intentions before filing. If you are working with a medical malpractice lawyer, they will handle this step for you.
Once you have gathered all your medical records, determined you have a case, filed a complaint with the Indiana Department of Insurance, and convened a medical review panel, the next step is to file your case with the courts.
If you or a loved one have been injured as a result of medical malpractice, you are urged to contact the attorneys of Wilson Kehoe Winingham. An experienced Indianapolis medical malpractice lawyer at WKW can help you get the compensation you deserve. Call 317.920.6400 or fill out an online contact form for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.
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