UNITED STATES—When you lose a loved one, the last thing you want to consider is dealing with lawyers and paperwork. But, if your loved one died because of medical malpractice, taking action is vital.
What is Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice is negligence by a healthcare professional that results in injury or death to a patient. The state of Indiana recognizes medical malpractice as a specific cause of action for a wrongful death lawsuit.
To win a wrongful death lawsuit, your lawyer must prove that the healthcare professional did not meet the standard of care. They will also have to prove that their negligence resulted in your loved one’s death.
Unfortunately, medical malpractice is all too common in America. John Hopkins University found that medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the United States, after heart disease and cancer. The study estimates that 250,000 people die every year from medical errors.
The standard of care in Indiana is similar to that of all states. It is the level of care that a reasonable healthcare professional provides. In medical malpractice cases, the victim’s family goes to court to have a judge or a jury determine whether the healthcare professional met the standard of care.
What to Know About Medical Malpractice Claims and Trials in Indiana
The Indiana Medical Malpractice Act allows a victim’s spouse, parent, guardian, or personal representative of the estate to bring a wrongful death claim. In wrongful death caused by medical malpractice, you need to get a professional wrongful death attorney. They will deal with the paperwork and negotiate a settlement with the at-fault party. However, most importantly, they find expert witnesses to look at the circumstances surrounding the death and confirm medical malpractice.
Indiana’s laws require the survivors to submit the wrongful death claim to a medical review panel. That panel will issue an opinion on whether the doctor/hospital committed an act of negligence or medical malpractice. In addition, you need to file the claim in court within the statute of limitations: two years from the date of the alleged negligent act causing the death.
It’s essential to act quickly after your loved one’s death. While you will have two years to file a claim in most cases, there are some exceptions to this rule. For example, if you discovered the cause of death after two years, you may have more time to file. It may be the perfect time to get a lawyer.
In Indiana, medical malpractice and wrongful death are touchy subjects, as the deceased’s family can only receive capped damages. Before hiring an attorney and putting things into motion, you should know that the liable doctors and their insurers will only pay part of your claim. Since 2019, Indiana’s damage cap for medical malpractice has been $1.8 million. Doctors will pay a maximum of $500,000. Indiana’s Patient’s Compensation Fund (PCF) will cover the rest of the large claim and goes beyond half a million dollars.
However, Indiana courts allow the victim’s estate to recover significant compensation for medical bills, funeral and burial expenses, lost income, loss of love and companionship, etc.
What Are Some Common Types of Medical Malpractice?
There are many different types of medical malpractice. Some of the most common include:
Misdiagnosis or Delayed Diagnosis
Misdiagnosis occurs when a healthcare professional incorrectly diagnoses a patient’s condition. It can happen if the healthcare professional does not order the correct tests.
Delayed diagnosis occurs when the healthcare professional does not diagnose the condition promptly.
Surgical errors are another common type of medical malpractice. These can include operating on the wrong body part, leaving instruments inside the patient’s body, or performing a procedure wrong.
Anesthesia errors can occur when the healthcare professional administering the anesthesia does not do it properly. It can result in the patient not getting enough anesthesia or too much. Both of these can be very dangerous.
Birth injuries can occur when the healthcare professional does not properly care for the mother during pregnancy, labor, or delivery. It can result in cerebral palsy, Erb’s palsy, or shoulder dystocia.
Prescription Drug Errors
Prescription drug errors can occur when the healthcare professional prescribes the wrong medication. For example, it can happen if the healthcare professional does not check the patient’s medical history or if they do not communicate with the pharmacy.
How Can an Attorney Help?
An experienced medical malpractice attorney can help you navigate the legal process. They’ll also make sure your rights are protected. In addition, they will be able to investigate the circumstances surrounding your loved one’s death and gather evidence to support your claim.
If you have lost a loved one due to medical malpractice, it’s essential to seek legal help as soon as possible. An experienced attorney can help you understand your rights and options and guide you through the legal process.
When it comes to educating the public on legal matters, few people are as determined as Michael Hawkins. From discovering issues of interest that concern all of us to offering actionable articles and guides to those in need, Michael is relentless in his journey of helping people make sense of the legal system. With dozens of pieces published in magazines, news outlets, and online journals, Michael is here to translate legalese into plain English so you can understand your rights and make the system work in your benefit.