The following questions, are ones that our Indiana medical malpractice attorneys are often asked about cases. This information is not meant to be substituted for talking to your lawyer and does not constitute attorney advice. This information is merely meant to be an aid to you in understanding Indiana’s Medical Malpractice Act.
Please call Langer & Langer if you have any questions. We can be reached at (219) 464-3246 and offer initial consultations for medical malpractice cases.
In Indiana, medical malpractice means a legal wrong, whether by act or by omission, committed by a healthcare provider (against a patient) based on health care or professional services. Generally, a medical malpractice case does not involve a slip and fall in the hospital parking lot or a patient falling on the floor while going to the bathroom while in the hospital.
Indiana has some of the most restrictive medical malpractice laws in the United States. The body of laws that govern medical malpractice in Indiana is called the Indiana Medical Malpractice Act. The Act limits the time period in which a patient, even an infant, has to file a case. In addition, every complaint against a qualified healthcare provider must be reviewed by a Medical Review Panel before a patient can have a jury determine his or her case, and there are both caps on the amount of money a patient can recover and on the amount of money an attorney can receive in representing a patient.
In Indiana, before a lawsuit may be brought against a qualified health care provider, the case must be reviewed by a Medical Review Panel. A Medical Review Panel consists of three (3) Indiana health care providers who review the patient’s claim and then render an opinion as to whether the doctor committed negligence. This opinion is admissible at trial.
In Indiana, the maximum a patient is entitled to recover is $1,800,000.00 per occurrence of malpractice regardless of the amount of damages. For example, assume a child is injured at birth by an act of malpractice. Assume that the child will incur about $4,000,000.00 in medical expenses over his or her life and will never be able to work. The maximum amount of recovery a patient is entitled to under Indiana’s Malpractice Act is $1,800,000.00. The caps are scheduled to increase as of 2017.
Generally, it takes about 1-3 years from the time the Proposed Complaint is filed until a Medical Review Panel renders its opinion. This time period may vary depending on the necessity of depositions and whether any disputes arise that require court hearings during the medical review panel process. This does not include the time it takes once a state court action is filed.
After the medical review panel renders its opinion, the case will be reviewed again. We will talk to the medical review panel members, any physicians, any consultants working on the case and, of course, you and make a decision about what to do next. Depending on Court congestion, it can take an additional 1-3 years before your case can go to trial.
Attorney fees are charged on a contingency fee basis. That means that if we are not successful in your case, you owe us nothing. Generally, once we have agreed to represent you, we will pay all litigation expenses, which can range in the thousands of dollars. If we are unsuccessful you do not have to repay any of the litigation expenses. However, if we are successful we will receive our attorney fees and litigation expenses. The issue of attorney fees and litigation expenses are contained in a written Contingency Fee Agreement which must be signed by any client before the firm undertakes to represent them in a medical malpractice case. The contingent fee agreement is the exclusive document that governs the payment of attorney fees and litigation expenses.
Should you ever have questions about your case please feel free to contact Langer & Langer’s Indiana medical malpractice lawyers. We are always happy to answer your questions and do what we can to help you.
Disclaimer: None of the information provided in these materials is intended to serve as legal advice. If you have any questions, please contact our office.