Indiana Medical Malpractice Claims

In 1975, Indiana passed legislation pertaining to medical malpractice reform. Malpractice insurance is not required by law, but if doctors want the benefits of Indiana’s capped liability, they must be covered by commercial insurance. The cap, which attracts doctors to Indiana, keeps insurance costs down, and it limits the amount a patient can collect for damages in a medical malpractice claim. In the event of medical negligence that results in harm, patients wanting to take legal action need to be familiar with some of the basic steps necessary to be taken in order to pursue a medical malpractice claim.

Statute of Limitations for Malpractice Claims

Time is of the essence in medical malpractice cases. If a patient encounters medical negligence in a hospital or doctor’s office, then a claim needs to be filed within two years of the date of the incident. Young children are the exception to the rule. Children ages six years and under have until their eighth birthday to have a parent recognize malpractice and initiate the process.

Basic Requirements for Filing a Malpractice Claim

A malpractice claim must be submitted by the patient to the Indiana Department of Insurance for review by a panel comprised of an attorney and three medical doctors if the patient is seeking compensation greater than $15,000. If malpractice is indicated by the panel, the patient can decide whether or not to take further legal action. Even if the panel does not indicate malpractice, the patient can obtain legal representation to pursue the claim if it is suspected that the panel’s opinion was biased. The panel will notify the medical expert involved with copies of the proposed complaint, and both parties can request copies of the review no earlier than 20 days following the submission of the complaint.

Legal Intervention

In the event of a malpractice suit, both parties will be responsible for obtaining their own legal representation. Experienced attorneys can advise a client on what information needs to be gathered to prove medical malpractice, including obtaining relevant medical records. Often, other medical experts in the field will need to be consulted and may need to provide testimony that corroborates the patient’s claim.

Patient Compensation

A settlement indicates liability. Under the Indiana Malpractice Act, the defendant is responsible for paying the first $250,000 of a judgment awarded to the injured patient in the malpractice case. After the initial $250,000, the Department of Insurance’s Patient Compensation Fund (PCF) will provide any additional remaining portion of the settlement on behalf of the doctor up to $1 million. The most a patient can be awarded is $1 million since the Indiana Malpractice Act caps the amount available to be paid out in a settlement. If the patient and the Indiana Department of Insurance Commission cannot agree on a settlement, then a judge will cast the final decision.

Contact Us

Medical negligence can be difficult to handle both emotionally and legally. The attorneys at Jacobs Law LLC not only know the malpractice laws in Indiana, but they know the emotional toll malpractice claims can have on families. Call Jacobs Law LLC today for a consultation or submit the contact form. The Jacobs Law team of attorneys is prepared to fight for the patient.