Medical malpractice is a terrible form of personal injury. The victims of medical malpractice often believed that they were entering medical care to get better. However, that is where the primary concern of medical practice lies. A medical malpractice lawyer in Indianapolis can help you understand and build a case against the doctor, hospital, nurse, or medical group responsible.
Don’t continue suffering or shuffle from doctor to doctor hoping for better care. Instead, take an active part in recovering compensation that you deserve by hiring an Indianapolis personal injury lawyer. Medical malpractice is hardly ever a stand-alone incident. Your decision to initiate a case can help others avoid suffering. Work with an attorney to ensure that you are heard and that the medical board and the State of Indiana are aware of their medical industries failures. Call Stewart|Phelps|Wood Injury Lawyers today at (317)593-3014 to speak with one of our expert medical malpractice attorneys. We provide a risk-free consultation for you to get answers to all of your questions and will fight for you to get the fair compensation you deserve for your damages.
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What Steps Should I Take if I Think I Have a Medical Malpractice Case?
If you suspect you are a victim of medical malpractice, contact the attorneys at Stewart|Phelps|Wood Injury Lawyers immediately at (371) 593-3014. We will give you a free case review and listen to the full account of what happened. You should explain the events as they unfolded from the time of your first doctor’s appointment to your most recent medical procedure or contact with them.
If at all possible, bring in your medical records. Because of strict time restraints, you must act quickly.
How Long Do I Have to File an Indiana Medical Malpractice Lawsuit?
Except in a few circumstances, you have two years from the time of the medical error. That is the standard Statute of Limitations for any malpractice claim.
However, there are some exceptions to this time frame. For example, if the involved child was under six years old, the guardian or parent has until the date of their eighth birthday to file. Additionally, if it was not reasonable to discover the malpractice injury or harm the courts may allow an extension of the deadline. Judges do not handle these situations lightly, and the question will always circle back to, “why wasn’t the claim filed sooner?”
In the instance of malpractice resulting in a wrongful death claim, Indiana allows the family up to two years. That two-year countdown starts from the time of medical malpractice not the date of death.
What is the Indiana Medical Malpractice Act?
Each state has its own laws governing malpractice. These laws typically spell out the expectations or caps on compensation, time frame for filing claims, and when immunity is applicable. Indiana was the first state to set up laws specific to medical malpractice and not just personal injury. In 1975 the state drafted the Indiana Compensation Act for Patients or INCAP. Working with the Indiana State Medical Association, this malpractice act should compensate victims and keep insurance rates affordable.
INCAP sets the cap for compensation t $1.25 million regardless of the actual extent of damages. INCAP historically has increased that cap twice since it was induction in 1975.
When a doctor is negligent and found guilty of negligence, they only have to pay for the first quarter of a million in damages. The remainder of the compensation comes from the State’s Patient Compensation Fund. Combining these resources for patients allows people to recover reasonable compensation. However, it also allows doctors to pay reasonable insurance rates and protects them from paying extensively out of pocket.
Under this act, the lawyer representing the plaintiff may receive a ‘reasonable’ amount from the first $250,000. That amount paid from the doctor will likely fall into the contingency fee agreement. However, the funds received from the PCF or Patient Compensation Fund cannot exceed 15%.
Under INCAP, the family or victim has two years to file their claim. Harmed children have an extension until their eighth birthday. However, if there is an instance of malpractice that was not reasonable to discover within that two-year window, a judge may still allow the case to move forward.
INCAP also explains how patients can file a complaint. Victims must provide a formal complaint to the Indiana Department of Insurance. Then they will go through an approval process where a panel of medical experts will review the case. These experts must not have any knowledge of the case, but two of them must share the specialty involved with the claim. The report from the panel is admissible for your court proceedings if the lawsuit goes that far.
Will I Be Expected to Testify in Court?
Most medical malpractice cases will reach a full resolution before going to court. Doctors, medical centers, and networks may choose to settle for various reasons. A settlement is usually beneficial to both parties.
Taking a case to trial is necessary for some situations. However, a lawsuit does bring risk to both the plaintiff and the defendant. Defendants will likely want to keep their policies, procedures, or lapses in judgment private. While plaintiffs may not want to explain their injuries or personal experiences with the medical professional in front of a full courtroom.
Regarding settlements, your attorneys will negotiate your behalf and discuss what options are on the table. The final decision of accepting a settlement is yours to make. No one will make that choice for you.
Finally, if your case does proceed, then you will likely need to testify. The majority of the testimony will be from expert witnesses. If you do need to testify, then your medical malpractice lawyer in Indianapolis will help you prepare for that day.
What are Examples of Medical Malpractice Cases?
As with medical care, medical malpractice comes in a wide variety of forms. It’s possible that you’ve experienced medical negligence to some degree without even realizing it. For those who are seeking lawsuits against a medical network, medical center, or medical professional, they likely had significant experiences.
Read through each description carefully to understand if that form of malpractice applies to your situation. If you don’t notice anything that matches your experience, then contact the Stewart|Phelps|Wood Injury Lawyers office to schedule a free consultation. During that consultation, our attorneys can help you identify what type of malpractice you encountered.
Malpractice, concerning the administration of anesthesia, can happen in wildly different ways. For example, the anesthesiologist must ensure that the patient is the right candidate for using anesthesia. They must also watch the patient’s vital signs carefully. Failing to observe these signs could result in the inability to breathe or loss of a heartbeat. Either can result in brain damage or even death.
Other possible injuries include nerve injury that could be permanent or debilitating. Nerve injury, as a result of anesthesia, often comes from poor positioning. It’s the anesthesiologist’s job to ensure the patient is in a good position before and during surgery.
Emergency Room Negligence
Usually, negligence in the Emergency Room comes from doctors or nurses, not understanding the gravity of the situation. They may be thinking in a best-case scenario mindset or have overlooked vital concerns that led to negligence.
One example of emergency room negligence is discounting chest pain or discomfort as heartburn or acid reflux rather than a heart attack. Another unfortunately typical case of negligence is assessing sharp stomach pain as indigestion when it is appendicitis.
Patient’s rush to the emergency room for immediate care and all they have is a series of symptoms. Doctors in these situations must go through a list of possible ailments or issues before ultimately providing a diagnosis. This process is providing a differential diagnosis, and it’s an important step.
If a doctor failed to evaluate the most severe health risks, then you likely have an emergency room negligence case.
Failure to Diagnose
Diagnosis cases often involve cancer, and it usually falls to a family practice doctor. A failure to diagnose a situation might start with a patient complaining of an ongoing cough. Then the doctor explains that it’s nothing to worry about and doesn’t request any further testing. At that point, cancer will continue to grow and possibly spread. With cancer, the earlier the diagnosis, the more likely the chance of a cure.
In failure to diagnose cases, this could likely have led to the death or imminent death of the victim.
Medical Malpractice Wrongful Death
Wrongful death cases will involve several regulations and laws which operate at various levels. First, the Indiana Malpractice Act applies to nearly every claim. But, when the instance of malpractice results in a death, correlating wrongful death statutes also apply.
Within Indiana, there are both general adult and child wrongful death statutes. There is also an additional adult without dependents statute. Each provides limitations and applicable remedies for the situation.
Stewart|Phelps|Wood Injury Lawyers has an experienced and knowledgeable team of Indianapolis wrong death lawyers that understand how these different aspects can impact your case. We work to win our clients the maximum amount of compensation available.
When people think of medical malpractice in Indiana, they often think of problems in surgery or diagnosis. Very few think of the most common form of medical malpractice: incorrect prescriptions. Usually, the doctor prescribing your medication knew what they were doing. However, the pharmacist may have mixed your prescription with a medication that looked similar or had a similar name.
In some cases, medication errors are made when a prescription goes to an unintended patient. Usually, these cases involve fewer damages, and doctors are able to detect the issues promptly. However, an overdose of these drugs or the use of unintended drugs can have extensive effects.
Some potent prescription drugs can result in coma, death, brain damage, and drug addiction.
Nurses do more now than ever before, and it’s nearly impossible to list everything within their job description. They are becoming known as the “eyes and ears” of doctors. The thought is generally concerning, but when you look at the tasks that they do initially, it seems fine.
A nurse will be responsible for noting differences or changes in vital signs such as pulse, and blood pressure. They’re also responsible for informing doctors of changes in physical aspects of the patient such as decreased urination or presented mental concerns. Not reporting these changes, or simply forgetting to report them can result in serious harm.
Forgetfulness can also include not placing appropriate bands on the patient, which would note them as a fall-risk. The fact that something was forgotten when they have a workload as heavy as nurses are not surprising. However, when you consider that it’s someone’s health and safety, it’s clear that these problems shouldn’t happen.
Alternatively, there is purposeful negligence or nurses who do not provide an adequate level of attention to the basic safety and hygiene practices of their patients. They may give the wrong dosage, misplace an IV, or provide the wrong medication.
Radiologists review x-rays, MRIs, CT scans, and other image-based medical test results. They should take every care during this process to ensure that no serious conditions go undiagnosed.
Radiology errors can allow people who have cancer to believe that they are otherwise healthy and not pursue treatment. Additionally, if someone did receive diagnostic testing, a doctor may hesitate to put the patient through screening again because of the associated costs to the patient. A patient complaining of ongoing pain or discomfort may receive advice that it’s a pain management problem. Then they have no one to rely on other than a family physician who received notice that the patient was healthy.
Unintended things happen during surgery. A surgeon may not fully identify what they are cutting into and cause severe damage. They may also not be aware that a complication has developed and fail to respond.
One example of a surgical error is for a surgeon performing a gallbladder removal to cut through the vital structure rather than the common bile duct. The result is a substantial amount of damage and pain for the patient.
Surgeons are in a position where they can make minute cuts or nicks and cause severe damage. Other surgical errors or examples of surgical negligence include leaving tools within the patient or taking more of anything than was necessary. If someone was having a tumor rumored from their intestinal tract and removed more than necessary, that patient might suffer for the rest of their life.
Surgical errors may take some time to identify, and you should discuss these issues with a medical malpractice lawyer in Indianapolis. Not only can it result in extending the deadline to file, but it can also impact the outcome of your case. Work with an attorney to determine how long you lived with pain or other problems because of a surgeon’s error. In many cases, you will need to stand up against a hospital and not just a lone doctor.
Contact the Medical Malpractice Lawyers at Stewart|Phelps|Wood Injury Lawyers for a Free Consultation
A medical malpractice lawyer in Indianapolis is your best chance at putting up a good fight. Using the right legal support, you can build a strong case based on hard evidence. Stewart|Phelps|Wood Injury Lawyers help the victims of medical malpractice. We understand that you thought you were going to start your recovery and instead you were left in worse condition than when you started. Or in some situations, expressed your concerns to a doctor who failed to listen or act appropriately. Contact our offices as soon as you believe you have been the victim of medical malpractice.
The common ground between all medical malpractice claims is that someone should have helped you, and instead, they created more pain and suffering. We are here to provide assistance, and we start with a free consultation. Call Stewart|Phelps|Wood Injury Lawyers for a risk-free consultation, and we can begin discussing the specifics of your case today.