In many ways, Indiana handles medical malpractice litigation differently than just about every other state in the country. Between the various procedural rules governing claims of this nature and the inherent complexity of holding a healthcare provider accountable for professional negligence or misconduct, your chances of achieving a positive result from a malpractice claim without professional legal help are slim to none.
Fortunately, the assistance you need is available from a seasoned Gary medical malpractice lawyer with years of experience helping people through situations very similar to yours. Once retained, your capable personal injury attorney could not only ensure that your settlement demand or lawsuit complies with all applicable state guidelines, but that you also put forward the best argument possible to obtain every cent of the restitution you deserve.
Medical Review Requirements for Malpractice Claims
In the interest of preventing frivolous lawsuits and protecting medical professionals from harassment, the state of Indiana requires anyone seeking more than $15,000 in damages based on an alleged instance of medical malpractice to go through a medical review process. This process has several extra steps and is significantly more complicated than the “affidavit of merit” requirement that is standard in many other states. Therefore, working with an attorney who knows this system backward and forward can be crucial when pursuing a medical malpractice claim in Gary.
The medical review process begins with both the plaintiff and defendant(s) working together to select a panel of three licensed healthcare professionals and one attorney who will serve as nonvoting chairperson. Once the panel is agreed upon, both sides must submit written evidence supporting their position, often including not only relevant medical records but also testimonies from witnesses and medical experts.
The panel then has 30 days after reviewing all submitted evidence and a maximum of 180 days after their empanelment to issue an expert opinion regarding whether the defendant’s actions likely caused the plaintiff’s injuries, whether there is sufficient evidence to indicate a breach of the applicable standard of care, and whether there are any important factual questions that a judge or jury should answer. This opinion may then be submitted as evidence in an ensuing lawsuit, which the plaintiff must file within 90 days of receiving the opinion and—with very limited exceptions—no later than two years after sustaining or discovering their injuries.
Limits on Total Compensation for Damages in Gary
Another important restriction on malpractice claims established under state law is the cap on total recovery for damages caused by a medical professional’s misconduct. As a medical negligence lawyer in Gary could further explain, the specific applicable limit changes a bit depending on when the alleged malpractice occurred, in accordance with Indiana Code §34-18-14-3. Assuming less than two years have passed since the plaintiff’s initial discovery of their injury or illness, the caps prescribed for different periods of time are as follows:
- $500,000 for malpractice occurring on or before December 30, 1989
- $750,000 for malpractice occurring between January 1, 1990 and June 30, 1999
- $1,250,000 for malpractice occurring between July 1, 1999 and June 30, 2017
- $1,650,000 for malpractice occurring between July 1, 2017 and June 30, 2019
- $1,800,000 for malpractice occurring on or after July 1, 2019
This law has survived previous challenges to its constitutionality, so it is safe to assume that it will remain in effect for the foreseeable future with only minor adjustments for inflation. However, it is worth noting that I.C. §34-18-18.1 prohibits attorneys assisting individuals with malpractice claims arising after June 30, 2017 from taking more than 32 percent of the final damage award as a contingency fee for their services.
Consult with a Gary Medical Malpractice Attorney About Legal Options
Medical negligence causes hundreds and potentially thousands of patients nationwide to suffer serious physical harm every single year. Unfortunately, pursuing fair financial recovery for this kind of harm in Indiana can be an immensely complex endeavor, especially without support from seasoned legal counsel.
A qualified Gary medical malpractice lawyer could provide the help you need to achieve a positive end result to your unique situation. Call today to learn more.