Indiana Medical Malpractice Law: An Overview

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June 29, 2009 | Medical Malpractice |

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In 1975, the Indiana General Assembly passed the Indiana Malpractice Act, which defines malpractice as a tort or breach of contract based on healthcare or professional medical services that were or should have been provided by a healthcare provider to a patient.

Medical malpractice can consist of a variety of actions or inactions on the part of healthcare provider—to put it another way, when a medical professional causes a patient harm because they did something they should not have done or did not do something that they should have done, it might be considered malpractice.

An Overview of Indiana Medical Malpractice Law

Medical malpractice law is extremely complicated. Keep reading to get an overview, and contact a qualified attorney with questions.

Tort Law

Because of the Indiana Malpractice Act, virtually any lawsuit by a patient against a qualified healthcare provider must conform to the Act’s requirements. In practice, most of these claims are torts, and to order to prove a tort, you must show the four essential tort elements: duty, breach, injury, and causation.

Standard of Care

Healthcare providers owe their patients a duty to act as a reasonably competent physician would under the same or similar circumstances; in other words, doctors have the responsibility to meet the applicable standard of care.

The standard of care does not require perfection or a satisfactory medical outcome; it’s established through the opinions of other doctors. For a patient to show that a healthcare provider has breached their duty to the patient by failing to meet the applicable standard of are, they must use expert testimony.

Statute of Limitations

The Indiana Malpractice Act specifies a strict two-year statute of limitations for adult patients. A minor under the age of six years have until their eight birthday for their parents or guardians to file a claim. Another exception is the discovery clause, where patients may file within two years from the discovery of the malpractice.

Damage Caps

Additionally, Indiana limits the amount of compensation available to injured patients—regardless of the nature or degree of the harm caused by a healthcare provider’s negligence. Attorney fees are also limited for medical malpractice claims.

Informed Consent

Except in a life- or health-threatening emergency, Indiana medical professionals must obtain either oral or written consent before providing healthcare to a patient. The healthcare provider has a duty to reasonably disclose material facts to a patient, such as the nature of the proposed treatment and any associated risks.

How to File a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit

Filing a medical malpractice lawsuit in Indiana requires several steps, including submitting evidence to a medical review panel, notifying insurance companies of your intentions, and filing the lawsuit itself. An attorney can help you navigate the process and build a strong medical malpractice case.

Contact a Medical Malpractice Attorney Today

If you or a loved one have been a victim of medical malpractice, you are urged to contact the Indianapolis Medical Malpractice Attorneys of 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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