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Indiana’s Medical Malpractice Act — Injured Patients Face a Stacked Deck

Jan 9, 2009 | Firm News, Medical Malpractice

The Indiana Medical Malpractice Act was passed by the legislature in 1975. Indiana’s governor at the time? Otis Bowen, M.D.

Not surprisingly, the law ushered in under Dr. Bowen’s leadership favors physicians over the victims of their malpractice. The Indiana Medical Malpractice Act was — and remains — one of the least patient-friendly laws in the nation. For example:

  • The law requires all medical malpractice claims to be submitted to a panel comprised of three of the defendant doctor’s fellow physicians before the case can be filed in court. This results in a significant delay before the case can be heard by unbiased jurors.
  • The law places strict caps on the monetary damages that can be recovered for malpractice. The cap now stands at $1.25 million. In many medical malpractice cases, the patients have incurred or will incur millions of dollars more than the cap in medical expenses as a result of the malpractice.
  • The law imposes an occurrence-based statute of limitation. This means that the malpractice claim must be filed within two years of the act of malpractice regardless of when the patient actually discovers that he or she has been injured as a result of malpractice. (The courts have created some limited exceptions to this harsh statute of limitations.)

Because of the significant hurdles created by the Indiana Medical Malpractice Act, it is imperative that a patient injured by malpractice seek skilled and experienced legal representation.