What is Medical Malpractice?

Medical malpractice, most simply defined, occurs when a medical practitioner fails to meet the standard of medical care owed to a patient while under their care. If you or a loved one have been harmed as a result of a medical professional’s neglect, you may have a medical malpractice claim. Medical Malpractice claims include failure to diagnose, prescription medication errors, birth trauma, wrongful death, and a variety of other situations.

If you think you have a medical malpractice claim, please contact us as soon as possible for a free consultation.

Medical Malpractice in Indiana

In the state of Indiana, medical malpractice claims are distinct from other types of personal injury claims. The lengthy process is outlined in the Indiana Medical Malpractice Act. The road to justice requires specialized knowledge in order to navigate the law. We recommend you consult an experienced medical malpractice attorney before taking any of the steps below. Here at Wagner Reese, we have formed a team of seasoned professionals who are dedicated to helping victims of medical negligence by bringing justice and holding wrongdoers accountable.

The Steps

Once you have contacted a lawyer, you may decide to investigate or pursue a claim. The steps are outlined below to help you know what to expect in pursuing fair compensation for the harm you suffered. Each step has its own challenges and it takes a team to accomplish, so it is imperative that your medical malpractice attorney guide you through each phase in order to maximize your chance for successful recovery.  

Obtain Medical Records

Reviewing all pertinent medical records is a fundamental part of the case assessment stage. These records are the most reliable evidence and tell the story of how  medical negligence may have occurred. At our firm, we  diligently request, review, and then carefully evaluate your records in assessing the merits of any potential claims. With complicated medical issues, we usually retain  medical experts to review your records so that we can get to the truth of what happened, better understand the strength in the merits of the claim, and explain to you how we intend to win your case. You are free to request a copy of your own medical records at many hospitals and healthcare facilities by contacting their Release of Information departments. Or, if you prefer to avoid the time and expense, your lawyer can request records on your behalf, though it may take a little longer. After carefully reviewing and summarizing all medical records, your lawyer will then report back to you and make recommendations as to how to proceed.

File a Proposed Complaint

After all medical records have been reviewed and your case assessed for merits of a potential claim, your lawyer will likely file a proposed complaint for damages with the Indiana Department of Insurance. This is not the same as filing a lawsuit in state court, but the complaint contains much of the same information as a state court lawsuit, including identifying each defendant, the alleged date on which malpractice occurred, and a brief explanation of how the malpractice occurred. This formally begins your claim.

Request the Formation of a Medical Review Panel

The medical malpractice process in the state of Indiana is unique and presents some challenges.  A panel chairperson, who is also an attorney, is chosen by the parties and then three medical professionals of the same specialty at issue in your case, are normally agreed upon by the parties. These medical professionals will have expertise in the area of alleged malpractice (for example, if malpractice occurred during an emergency room visit, one panel member may be an Emergency Room Nurse; whereas if there was a delay in calling for a C-section, an obstetrician or labor nurse would likely serve, etc.). A medical review panel submission brief containing records, reports, deposition transcripts and other evidence, along with an extensive summary of your case is then submitted to the three panel members for their review. Each professional will review the submission by applying their specialized knowledge to the situation. After they convene to discuss the case together, they each answer and vote on two basic questions:  (1) Was there a deviation from the applicable standard of medical care?  (2) Was the deviation a factor in causing harm or death to a patient?  The panel has 180 days to issue and sign their opinion on whether or not malpractice has occurred.

Determine What to Do Next

After the medical review panel members have issued their opinion, your attorney will advise you on how to proceed. A claim must be filed in state court within 90 days of receiving the signed medical review panel opinion.  If the panel’s opinion is favorable to your case, your attorney will guide you through the next steps, which is to make a demand for settlement, file suit in state court and seek to obtain a jury trial date.

This process may seem daunting, especially if you are grieving the loss of a loved one or enduring the pain and suffering as a victim of malpractice. The experienced medical malpractice attorneys at Wagner Reese law firm have walked alongside hundreds of families like yours over the last 20+ years and stand ready to aggressively seek justice for your loss. We are only a phone call and free consultation away from helping lead you through the law.

Call Wagner Reese for Medical Malpractice Lawsuit Advice

Indiana medical malpractice claims can be complicated, and there are strict time limits on how long you have to file a claim in order to be eligible for compensation. It is advisable to seek legal advice early so that you understand your and your family’s options for compensation.

At Wagner Reese, our compassionate medical malpractice lawyers can guide you through the complex process to pursue compensation for a stroke misdiagnosis. We can review your claim for free with no obligation. Call us today!