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Medical Malpractice: An Overview

Apr 13, 2020 | Firm News, Medical Malpractice

If you believe you may have a medical malpractice lawsuit in Indiana, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the various state laws that could impact your case.

Read on to learn more about medical malpractice laws and rules in Indiana.

Medical Malpractice Explained

You may have grounds to sue for medical malpractice if you are harmed by your doctor or another medical professional because they failed to use reasonable care.

Medical Malpractice Requirements

In order to have a viable medical malpractice case, all of the following must exist:

  • There was an official doctor-patient relationship.
    • Normally, you must be able to prove that you had a doctor-patient relationship with your physician. (There are some limited exceptions to this requirement.) Essentially, you must be able to prove that you hired the doctor and the doctor agreed to handle your care. For instance, you may not sue a physician that you overheard in a coffee shop who gave advice to their friend. If you were seen and treated by a doctor, it’s relatively simple to substantiate a doctor-patient relationship. If you’d like to sue a physician that didn’t treat you directly, it may be more difficult to prove that the doctor-patient relationship existed.
  • The physician acted negligently.
    • If you’re displeased with the treatment you received from your doctor, that doesn’t mean you have the grounds to sue them for medical malpractice. You must be able to prove that the physician acted negligently in diagnosing or treating you. Proving negligence just means showing that the doctor was not as careful as he or she should have been. The medical professional’s treatment doesn’t have to be the very best that is available, but it needs to be “reasonably skillful and careful.” You’ll need to obtain expert testimony to establish the appropriate medical standard of care and show how your physician veered from that standard.
  • The physician’s negligence produced your injury.
    • Since medical malpractice cases commonly involve people who were sick or injured before the medical negligence occurred, it’s frequently unclear whether the physician truly caused the damage. For instance, if a patient dies after lung cancer treatment, it may be challenging to prove that the physician’s negligence caused the patient’s death rather than the cancer itself. You must be able to prove that your injuries were “more likely than not” caused by the physician’s negligence.
  • You sustained distinct harm as a result of the injury.
    • Regardless of whether the physician acted negligently, you’ll need to suffer quantifiable harm in order to sue for malpractice. Some examples of quantifiable harm that you may sue for are:
      • Physical pain
      • Mental distress
      • Extra medical expenses
      • Loss of work and/or earning capacity

Statute of Limitations

The statute of limitations sets a specified timeframe for how long after an incident you may bring about a lawsuit. Once the statute of limitations has passed, you’ll no longer be able to file a lawsuit for the medical malpractice you endured.

In Indiana, for medical malpractice lawsuits, the statute of limitations is two years from the date the medical malpractice occurred. In other words, you must file your medical malpractice lawsuit within two years from the date your physician was negligent.

There are some exceptions to this statute of limitations. For example, the statute of limitations may be extended if you had no way of knowing that your physician committed malpractice before the two years expired. However, the general rule is that the claim must be filed within two years of the date of the malpractice.

We’re Here to Help

If you’ve been harmed due to the negligence of your physician, you may be able to sue for medical malpractice. Here at Garau Germano, P.C., we have handled countless medical malpractice cases in order to obtain justice for those who have been wronged by their doctors. Let us obtain justice for you, too. Don’t hesitate to contact our office with your case right away.

Call the medical malpractice attorneys at Garau Germano, P.C. today by calling 317-978-9973 to discuss the details of your case.