According to a Johns Hopkins study, medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the United States. Accounting for more than 250,000 deaths per year, medical errors recently surpassed respiratory disease (approximately 150,000 deaths annually), and in 2016, only heart disease and cancer caused more deaths.
While this is an unfortunate statistic, medical malpractice lawsuits are common in the U.S. The legal system is designed so disputes can resolve without going to a jury trial. Although the exact rules and laws surrounding medical malpractice may differ from state to state, there are some common grounds across the country.
To be considered for compensation, an injured patient must prove negligence by their medical provider on four fronts. They must demonstrate a professional duty owed to them, prove a breach of this duty, show proof of injury, and demonstrate that they have damages. In Indiana, there are stringent laws surrounding malpractice claims.
Indiana has some of the strictest medical malpractice claims laws in the U.S. The primary laws stem from the Indiana Medical Malpractice Act. This act details a statute of limitation of two years after the incident which caused your injury. If you file a claim after the two-year deadline, the court will dismiss it.
Unlike other states, this statute of limitations also applies to young children. If a child under the age of six is injured, you must file a lawsuit before they turn eight.
However, in some cases, the Discovery Rule may apply. If patients discover a malpractice-related injury after the claims deadline, they may be able to ask for an extension. For example, negligence or misdiagnoses could lead to cancer progressing, and a patient might not realize this until much later.
In Indiana, if a patient discovers injury or disease due to medical malpractice after the two-year limit due to no fault of their own, the court can allocate them an extension of two years after injury discovery.
As well as the rigid time limitations, any proposed claim against a healthcare provider requires a review from a professional medical panel before it is qualified to be presented in front of a jury. There are limitations to the amount of money a patient and an attorney can receive from a claim.
If you experience any of these common ways medical malpractice leads to death, call a law firm with experienced and skilled Indianapolis medical malpractice lawyers.
1. Misdiagnosis or Delayed Diagnosis
Missing a diagnosis or identifying an issue when it’s too late can often lead to severe illness or death. A wrong or delayed diagnosis means that disease or injury can progress while the patient receives the wrong or no medication.
Reasonable justification for a claim in such a scenario is if a medical professional doesn’t recognize disease symptoms, fails to order adequate medical tests, or mistakingly fails to refer the patient to a relevant specialist. Human error can also occur in the lab. For example, test results can be lost, mixed up, or mislabeled.
Misdiagnosis and delayed diagnosis relate to many illnesses, diseases, and injuries that can be fatal.
2. Surgical Errors
Unfortunately, fatal complications can occur when patients are in the care of qualified medical professionals. Regardless of whether surgery is an emergency or elective, patients are owed a duty of care and should be protected from harm.
The most frequent surgical mistakes that occur during surgery include carrying out a procedure on an incorrect body part or the wrong person, accidentally leaving devices or tools inside the patient, incorrect anesthesia application, or failing to adhere to the recommended surgical practices before, during, or after a surgical procedure.
In Indiana, victims of surgical error are entitled to compensation.
3. Childbirth Injuries
Medical malpractice during childbirth can lead to the death of a mother and/or her baby. Some of the most common causes of injuries during childbirth include poor prenatal treatment, incorrectly using the forceps when delivering a baby, failure to recognize issues during childbirth, failure to carry out a caesarian section if it is needed, and mishandling a baby during childbirth, leading to injury or death.
Health professionals must also inform parents if there are known health defects with their child before birth.
Some other fatal complications brought about due to medical malpractice include:
Wagner Reese is a first-rate law firm with some of the leading Indianapolis medical malpractice lawyers in the industry. Nobody deserves to fall victim to illness, injury, or disease because of incompetence or malpractice. From loss of health to loss of life, victims deserve compensation.
In Indiana, you must file your claim quickly, so get in touch with our legal team as soon as possible. We offer a free no-obligation case evaluation to our patients, so contact us today.