Updated July 29, 2021
You want to file a medical malpractice case. You have consulted with an attorney, gathered medical evidence, and contacted the Indiana Department of Insurance. The next step? Requesting the formation of a medical review panel.
But what, exactly, is this panel? Who sits on it? How does it work?
Medical review panels may differ slightly from state to state. In Indiana, these panels consist of an attorney and three healthcare providers who take an oath to impartially review medical evidence and decide whether medical malpractice occurred.
Each step of the process is on a tight schedule, so it is in your best interest to have a medical malpractice attorney on your side.
You must request the formation of a medical review panel; filing a medical malpractice claim does not automatically start the process. As soon as 20 days after you submit your complaint, either party may request that a panel be formed.
Medical review panels are made up of three individuals: three healthcare professionals (two of whom must be in the same or a similar specialized field as the defendant), while a neutral, third-party attorney oversees the process (who acts as chair and does not vote).
The panel chair is selected first, based on an agreement by both parties, within 15 days after you request to form a medical review panel. Within another 15 days, each party selects a healthcare professional. Within another 15 days, the two healthcare professionals select a third healthcare professional to serve on the panel.
All evidence submitted by either party to the medical review panel must be in written form. Evidence may take a variety of forms: medical records, lab test results, witness depositions, etc.
The panel members have 180 days after member selection to review both the provided evidence and the malpractice claim itself as well as provide their expert opinion.
After reviewing evidence, the panel has 30 days to conclude their examination and submit an opinion, signed and in writing, as to whether the actions or inactions of the defendant fall into the category of medical negligence or malpractice.
Regardless of what opinion the medical review panel gives, you have the option to bring the case to court where, of course, the other party has an equal right to defend the case.
At trial, the panel’s written opinion is admissible as evidence, and any of the healthcare professionals who sat on the panel could be required to testify as an expert. Additionally, if the case goes to trial, the jury will be informed of the panel’s opinion.
If you or a loved one have been a victim of medical malpractice, contact an Indianapolis Medical Malpractice Attorney from Wilson Kehoe Winingham. The lawyers 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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