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The Medical Review Panel May Become a Minefield in Malpractice Suits

Steve Wagner

Patients who suffer at the hands of their medical practitioners due to neglect, wrongful diagnosis, botched up surgeries, or any other instance of misconduct are entitled to damages under a medical malpractice suit.

Indiana’s Medical Malpractice Act requires the plaintiff who plans to sue a doctor for damages to first approach a medical review panel before proceeding with the lawsuit. The panel would normally consist of an attorney, and three health care practitioners, two of whom would be from the defendant’s specialization.

The plaintiffs have to state their complaint to the review panel, with supporting documents. The defendant is also given an opportunity to answer the charges. The review panel examines the available evidence, including medical records, x-rays, logs, written testimonies, to make a professional judgment.

The review panel may conclude that

  • Malpractice has indeed taken place, as alleged.
  • The defendant has actually complied with the appropriate standard of care, and the charges of misconduct are unfounded.
  • The issue is outside the scope of the panel to come to a judgment.
  • The issue of malpractice is irrelevant in the case for claiming compensation.

Plaintiffs should always hire the services of an Indiana medical malpractice attorney to represent them since the medical panel’s recommendation is important for a successful lawsuit. Most review panels prefer to err on the side of caution. They tend to rule that a malpractice has not taken place, unless there is clear-cut proof to the contrary. Your Indiana medical malpractice attorney can form a comprehensive case to convince the review panel that the malpractice was clear and action is needed. It is also possible for attorneys to represent the plaintiff, and make oral arguments in front of these panels.

If the review panel rules anything other than the first conclusion, the plaintiff will have to approach the court. Although the findings of the medical review panel are not binding in court, the members of the panel may be called in as witnesses, and their opinions would carry considerable weight with the jury. A skilled Indiana medical malpractice lawyer can rake up evidence and cite case laws to challenge the findings of the panel and prove to the jury that a malpractice has taken place.

Even when the review panel rules that misconduct has taken place, it still requires the services of an Indiana medical malpractice attorney to negotiate a settlement with the defendant, or if the defendant is not willing to settle, pursue the case in court to its logical conclusion.

Wagner Reese has decades of experience in handling medical malpractice cases, and our medical malpractice lawyers will fight for your rights as a patient until you receive the compensation you deserve! Contact us today at (888) 204-8440 for a free evaluation of your case.


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