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Updated September 1, 2019
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. However,some think most of the damages will never be collected due to the statutory cap on medical malpractice judgments in Indiana.
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.
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.
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, 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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