Do I Have to Testify in Court If I File a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit?

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Whenever you visit a doctor or another healthcare provider, it’s reasonable to expect proper care. Many health issues are complicated, and doctors don’t fully understand every condition. Furthermore, not every illness can be cured. That being said, you don’t expect to get worse after an encounter with a medical professional. Doctors and other healthcare providers have an obligation to do no harm. If they breach the accepted standard of care, you may be able to file a medical malpractice lawsuit.

Many victims wonder if taking legal action against a healthcare provider means they’ll have to testify in court. It’s understandable that you may not want to discuss sensitive personal information in front of strangers. However, there are instances where you may be required to testify. Still, this is not something you should worry about if you’ve been harmed by an Indiana medical professional. Your focus should be on getting the compensation you deserve. If you believe you are a victim of medical malpractice, you need to contact a lawyer for advice. Let’s look at what goes into filing a malpractice case before discussing the matter of whether victims have to testify.

A doctor at the hospital.

When Can I File Medical Malpractice Lawsuit?

Not all medical procedures go according to plan. Sometimes diagnoses are inaccurate, and medication doesn’t have the expected effect. These outcomes are disappointing, but they aren’t necessarily indicative of medical malpractice. Indiana Code 34-18-2-18 makes it clear that there must be evidence of negligence for a claim to be valid. 

This usually means a medical professional deviated from the standards of care that another reasonable professional would have followed. Their actions will be judged against a medical provider with the same specialization. Even though you’re entitled to damages if you suffered an injury caused by negligence, it won’t be easy. You will have to go through a lot of red tape. You will not be able to handle your claim alone. Therefore, it’s important that you seek help from a medical malpractice attorney in Indianapolis.

How to Go About Filing a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit in Indianapolis

The first step is to file a complaint with a medical review panel. In most cases, you need to do this before you file a medical malpractice lawsuit in Indiana. The panel is made up of an attorney and three medical providers. They’ll review your medical records, hear witness testimony, and consider all available evidence. They’ll also hear from your healthcare provider.

The panel must then give an opinion on whether the evidence supports the view that the healthcare provider breached their duty. This must happen within 180 days. The panel’s report is admissible in court when you file your lawsuit. However, it won’t be treated as conclusive evidence that the medical professional was liable. It’s also not automatically seen as proof of the nature or extent of your injuries. 

Regardless of what conclusion the panel comes to, you have the right to file a lawsuit. If the panel ruled in your favor, it’s likely that the doctor or hospital will try to settle. However, you can take legal action even if the panel doesn’t think you have enough evidence of malpractice.

Testifying in Court

Even when you file a lawsuit, there’s no guarantee that your case will go to trial. Most malpractice cases are resolved before anyone steps foot in a courtroom. Healthcare providers and institutions often find it advantageous to settle. For many victims, an out-of-court settlement is also ideal. Trials are necessary in some cases. However, they can also be risky for both parties. Medical professionals may not want their errors or policies to be aired in the public domain. Meanwhile, victims of malpractice may not be up to the task of discussing personal issues publicly.

If you’re reluctant to testify, your attorney will do everything possible to negotiate a settlement on your behalf.  You get to decide if the amount the medical professional or healthcare facility is offering is acceptable. However, your attorney will advise you on what is considered a fair settlement.  If your case goes to trial, you will probably have to testify. Your lawyer will help you to prepare so you feel more comfortable on the stand. However, the case won’t hinge on your testimony. Expert witnesses will play a major role in supporting your claim for compensation.

Contact Stewart|Phelps|Wood Today to Discuss Your Medical Malpractice Case

If you believe you were harmed by a medical professional’s negligence, reach out to our team today. Our Indianapolis medical malpractice lawyers will review your case and advise you of your options.  Contact us to schedule a free consultation.

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