What Is Medical Malpractice, and How Do I Know If I Have a Case?

Injury Attorneys | Restoring LivesTM

May 3, 2017 | Medical Malpractice |

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When a patient is injured because of neglect or substandard care by a medical professional, they may have grounds to sue for medical malpractice. A simple injury throughout the course of medical treatment isn’t necessarily cause for a medical malpractice lawsuit, however: It often comes down to proving the intent of the medical professional and the exact nature of what happened.

What Counts as Medical Malpractice?

Generally, medical malpractice is negligence or substandard care by a doctor, nurse, or other healthcare professional in a medical setting. Determining medical malpractice depends on whether the professional upheld the expected level of care promised to a patient. Oftentimes, malpractice takes the form of preventable mistakes or deliberate breaches of a doctor-patient agreement.

What Are Types of Medical Malpractice?

Negligence on behalf of a medical professional can take many forms. For example, misdiagnosis of a medical condition is a generic form of medical malpractice: where a doctor may have failed to collect complete information from a patient, the lack of accurate information could result in delayed or ineffective treatment. Medical malpractice can also take place after treatment, if your doctor is providing you with aftercare or other health management. Nevertheless, the exact nature of medical malpractice varies with every case.

What Do I Need to Prove Medical Malpractice?

All medical injury cases require many facts and explanations. If you believe that your injury is the direct result of substandard medical care, there is a list of things you and your medical malpractice attorney must prove to make a compelling case in court:

  • Your doctor had a responsibility or duty to care for you
  • Your doctor’s negligence or substandard care directly resulted in your injury
  • Your injury is significant

Can I Help My Attorney with My Case?

Evidence is key to building your case, so the first thing you should do following a consultation with your attorney is to gather your medical records. Medical bills, photographs, lost wages, and any other relevant documents will be helpful to your attorney.

Your medical malpractice attorney will also likely require the use of a medical expert witness to piece together the facts of your case and present this additional information to a judge or jury to help make a persuasive case. An expert witness will offer insight into the nature of your medical condition, injury, and whether a different medical professional would have handled things differently.

What Laws Does Indiana Have About Medical Malpractice Lawsuits?

Each state has its own sets of medical malpractice laws. These laws cover the amount of time you must make a lawsuit following your injury (statute of limitations), the amount of recoverable damages (damage caps), and the requirements that need to be fulfilled before you file a lawsuit.

In Indiana law, the statute of limitations for medical malpractice cases is two years from the date of the alleged malpractice. If you’re thinking about filing a medical malpractice lawsuit and you plan on suing for more than $15,000, it’s best to get a medical malpractice attorney to help you with this process as soon as possible.

Medical malpractice cases require that your complaint is filed with the Indiana Department of Justice before it can proceed to court. Indiana’s medical malpractice damages are capped, including the value of all medical expenses, future medical expenses, lost income, long-term impairment, and emotional damages

I Wasn’t Informed About the Risks. Can I Sue?

Doctors are required to educate their patients on the risks, success rates, and any existing alternatives as it pertains to treatment. Patients must also be allowed time to process this information and have their questions answered before they decide, and patients cannot be coerced into making their decision. This requirement is called informed consent.

A signature on a form doesn’t necessarily imply informed consent. If the form was poorly-written or contained incomplete information, it’s possible that you have a lawsuit on the grounds of having not given informed consent. In such a case, consult with your medical injury attorney to discuss your options.

Does My Preexisting Condition Affect My Lawsuit?

A preexisting medical condition could affect your lawsuit. In a medical malpractice case, preexisting conditions matter when insufficient or neglectful medical treatment affected the condition in such a way that you were harmed or sickened further. In such a case, it is important to prove the state of your condition prior to treatment and how you were worsened at the fault of your medical professional.

Contact a Medical Malpractice Attorney

Medical malpractice cases are extraordinarily complex: They require expert knowledge of state laws, insurance, and the history of medical injury cases. Your case is not something to handle alone, especially when you’re already dealing with stress and injury.

If you or a loved one have been injured as a result of medical malpractice, contact the Indianapolis Medical Malpractice Attorneys of Wilson Kehoe Winingham. The experienced 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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