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What Hoosiers Should Know Before Pursuing A Medical Malpractice Case

Steve Wagner

Medical Malpractice Facts That May Surprise You

Medical malpractice implies an act or lack of action or omission by a medical care provider or medical facility which fails to exercise acceptable care, proficiency or diligence and deviates from the recognized standard of practice in the medical profession and results in injury or death to the patient. Hopefully you don’t find yourself in a medical malpractice situation, but if you do, it is good to review the history and facts behind the Indiana Compensation Act for Patients (INCAP) and understand how the state Patient’s Compensation Fund (PCF) works before you speak with an experienced lawyer.

Brief History of INCAP

Indiana became the first state in the nation to enact comprehensive malpractice reforms back in 1975 when Indiana legislators were confronted with reports warning of potential emergency room shutdowns, curtailments of surgery and an ongoing exodus of physicians to states where malpractice insurance was more available and even less costly. The Indiana State Medical Association says that INCAP became a model for other states seeking to ensure rightful patient compensation via tort law changes. INCAP strived to “balance the needs of physicians for affordable liability insurance premiums with the needs of patients for good access to many different kinds of good medical care.” Today, Indiana continues to maintain many of these reforms with both criticism and praise.

Calculating Damages and The Patient’s Compensation Fund (PCF)

Under INCAP, physicians are only responsible for the “first $250,000 in damages to any patient for one act of malpractice and no more than $750,000 in the annual aggregate.” The state Patient’s Compensation Fund (PCF) pays any excess, not to exceed $1 million, for a total of $1.65 million. This new cap (2016) has exclusively impacted the lives of those who have been victims of medical malpractice although some argue that the medical malpractice cap is one of the lowest in the nation and hinders them from receiving the full compensation from medical malpractice damages. Others say the PCF can help ensure a guaranteed source of compensation for injured patients, unlike other states where patients may not recover large verdicts because the provider does not have adequate insurance or assets.

Four Facts to Prove Medical Malpractice in Indiana

  1. An injury was suffered
  2. Medical facility or doctor caused the injury
  3. Medical facility or doctor provided the care
  4. Medical facility or doctor did not provide care that was consistent and acceptable by medical standards

Additional Resources

The Indiana Department of Insurance Medical Malpractice division oversees the qualification of health care providers in the Patient’s Compensation Fund under Indiana’s Medical Malpractice Act.

You can read the full history of Indiana’s Medical Malpractice Act, formally called the Indiana Compensation Act for Patients (INCAP) here.

Indianapolis Medical Malpractice Attorneys

Since 1997, Wagner Reese has been earning recognition throughout Indiana and nationally as an Indianapolis personal injury law firm that focuses on medical malpractice cases. If you or a family member has been a victim of medical malpractice, which resulted in injuries or death, please contact the medical malpractice attorneys’ offices of Wagner Reese to discuss your injury or illness resulting from medical negligence, medication/anesthesia errors, delivery room errors, failure to diagnose, or incompetence. Call the law firm of Wagner Reese today (888) 204-8440 for your FREE consultation!

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