Everyone expects their healthcare provider to deliver services at the highest standards. However, that’s not usually the case. Sometimes, healthcare providers intentionally don’t provide appropriate treatment, give substandard treatment, or don’t take appropriate actions, causing harm to the patient. This is referred to as medical malpractice.
You can seek compensation for the harm caused through medical malpractice. If you or your loved one has suffered any medical malpractice, you should seek help from an Indianapolis medical malpractice lawyer. Keep reading to learn more.
What Is Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice is when healthcare providers, doctors, or hospital staff provide healthcare services below the acceptable standards, leading to the patient’s injury or death. It’s surprising that medical errors are the third highest cause of death in the United States.
In a medical malpractice lawsuit, you need to prove that a healthcare provider didn’t act in a way anyone could reasonably expect from another healthcare provider or within the standards of care required in their practice. The definition of standards of care is subjective and may be confusing. That’s why you should seek help from a medical malpractice lawyer in Indianapolis to determine whether your case is valid.
What’s the Main Reason Patients File Malpractice Claims?
Many people file medical malpractice claims to seek compensation for the damages incurred through healthcare provider malpractice. You’re eligible for compensation for damages, including financial losses such as medical bills or loss of work and emotional distress associated with medical malpractice. Your medical malpractice lawyer in Indianapolis will help you determine what damages you should claim based on the nature of your case.
Medical Malpractice and Medical Negligence Comparison
Medical malpractice and negligence are often confused. Medical negligence is a concept that defines whether a person, company (hospital or clinic) or medical practitioner recklessly or carelessly injured another person. The goal is to hold that person, company or practitioner liable for the damage incurred from the injuries.
You need to prove four concepts in medical malpractice, including:
- A healthcare provider or institution has the duty to protect your safety.
- The healthcare provider breached that duty.
- The breach of duty resulted in your injuries.
- You have damages from the breach of duty.
Medical malpractice means the practitioner did not follow the accepted medical standard of care and that the act was intentionally reckless. Therefore, it differs from medical negligence in that it proves intent to harm a patient, while negligence refers to unintentional but avoidable actions. Medical malpractice is usually a graver charge than negligence.
What Is a Malpractice Attorney?
A medical malpractice attorney litigates medical malpractice lawsuits on behalf of their clients. Their clients may be those who suffer injuries from medical malpractice or their surviving family members. You need a medical malpractice lawyer in Indianapolis with the legal and medical expertise to increase your chances of getting compensation.
What Do Indianapolis Medical Malpractice Lawyers Do?
Medical malpractice lawyers perform typical daily tasks like any other civil litigator. A medical malpractice lawyer in Indianapolis usually performs these tasks and more:
- Developing case theories, testimonies, and expert reports about the case.
- Gathering relevant medical records to support your claim.
- Conducting medical research related to the alleged medical malpractice claim.
- Setting up independent examinations to get an objective evaluation of your condition.
- Determining your case’s merit by working with legal nurse consultants.
What Are the Most Common Medical Malpractice Claims?
Anyone can file a medical malpractice claim if they can show deviation from acceptable medical and ethical standards, resulting in medical malpractice. Here are the most common medical malpractices in Indianapolis:
- Failure to treat.
- Childbirth injuries.
- Misdiagnosed or delayed diagnosis.
- Surgical or procedural errors.
- Prescription drug errors.
What Are the Steps in a Malpractice Lawsuit?
Medical malpractice lawsuits involve several steps. A typical malpractice lawsuit would consider the following steps:
- Suffering a medical injury.
- Retaining a lawyer.
- Obtaining your medical records.
- Filing a complaint.
- Discovery process (the legal process of opposing lawyers exchanging information before a trial).
- Demand and negotiate for a settlement.
How Do Courts Define Medical Malpractice?
Indiana courts define medical malpractice as a breach of contract based on the healthcare services provided to a patient. According to this provision, incidences such as slips and falls in a healthcare facility are not medical malpractice but may be premises liability.
How Do You Prove Medical Malpractice in Indianapolis?
You have to prove four things to make your medical malpractice lawsuit valid. Your Indianapolis medical malpractice lawyer will help you establish them. They include:
An Established Practitioner-Patient Relationship
This fact usually goes undisputed, but your case must show that you visited the doctor or practitioner, received a diagnosis and treatment. Once a medical practitioner becomes your source of diagnosis and treatment, they assume the duty to treat the patient with the highest standard in their practice.
The Healthcare Provider Didn’t Meet the Standard of Their Practice
Healthcare providers must meet specific standards of care in their practices. Legally, they may be found guilty of malpractice if their actions were deliberate, and other reasonable physicians would not have acted that way under similar situations.
Your Injuries Were From the Healthcare Provider’s Intentional Actions
You must prove that your injury was from medical malpractice. Therefore, being dissatisfied with a prognosis in treatment doesn’t qualify for this step. You must show injuries related to the medical malpractice, such as:
- Childbirth defects.
- Mental impairment.
- Physical impairment.
- Reduced chances of recovering from an injury.
- Death of a loved one.
You Sustained Damages from the Medical Malpractice Injuries
Damages refer to the monetary and non-monetary losses stemming from a negligent action. A medical malpractice lawsuit involves financial, physical, and emotional losses due to the injuries from the medical malpractice. You must provide relevant evidence to have these losses compensated.
How to Report Medical Malpractice in Indianapolis
You need to understand how to report your medical malpractice events to avoid any issues that may jeopardize the case. However, it’s crucial to contact a medical malpractice lawyer in Indianapolis. Here are general steps to report that medical malpractice:
- Contact the medical professional involved in the malpractice to determine whether it’s something they can remedy.
- Contact the Indiana Medical Licensing board to issue a warning to the practitioner involved.
- Gather relevant medical records.
- File a complaint with the Indiana Department of Insurance.
- Request the formation of a medical review panel.
- Take a medical assessment to determine whether your case is valid.
What Types of Compensation Are Available for a Medical Malpractice Claim in Indianapolis?
In a medical malpractice lawsuit, you can seek four types of compensation; economic, non-economic, punitive and wrongful death. Economic damages refer to financial losses that result from doctors’ malpractice. They represent losses with an objective monetary figure. They include medical expenses, lost wages, and lost working capacity.
Non-economic damages refer to losses without any monetary figure. This includes pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of consortium (marital relations).
Punitive damages represent a different form of damages from a medical malpractice claim. It refers to the amount you can receive as a punishment for the intentional action that led to the medical malpractice. An award for punitive damage means that the court wants to punish the person or entity for the harm you suffered.
Wrongful death refers to all damages a surviving family member can receive from the demise of their loved one due to medical malpractice. The court awards wrongful death damages when a patient dies from medical malpractice. Surviving members of the deceased can collect economic, non-economic, and punitive damages, depending on the damages to the patient.
How Much Do Lawyers Charge for Medical Malpractice?
You must be concerned about the costs of hiring a medical malpractice lawyer if you pursue a medical malpractice claim. You should note that medical malpractice lawyers in Indianapolis generally work on a contingency basis. This means they get paid a percentage of the amount you will recover from your settlement.
You can learn about the contingency fee percentage from your initial consultation. This consultation will help you evaluate whether you need to hire an Indianapolis medical malpractice lawyer and whether they are a good fit for your case.
There’s no set standard for contingency fee structure in Indianapolis. However, you may decide on a standard percentage or charge on a sliding scale.
Standard Contingency Fee Structure
A standard contingency fee uses a specific percentage to determine how much you will pay for your Indianapolis medical malpractice lawyer’s services. The most common percentage is around 33% but may vary according to the nature of your case.
Sliding Scale Agreement
A sliding scale contingency fee sets different percentages for different situations. For instance, you may agree on specific percentages based on how your case proceeds. For instance, if you can provide a certain percentage before the pretrial, set a higher percentage when it goes to trial and a higher one if and when the case is won.
Please note that not all fees are in the contingency fee agreement. Therefore, you will have to spend specific expenses out of pocket to move your claim forward. These expenses include:
- All court costs.
- Filing fees.
- Deposition costs.
- Expenses that result from consulting with expert witnesses and specialists.
- Copying fees.
- Charges associated with serving subpoenas and summons.
What Is Required to File a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit?
You need relevant evidence to maximize your success in your medical malpractice lawsuit. You can use different pieces of evidence to prove your medical negligence claims. Here is a closer look at the types of evidence you can use:
These include all documents that show the doctor-patient relationship. They have medical records from admission, diagnosis, hospitalization and medical treatment. Some medical documents you can use to support your case include imaging studies, doctor’s notes, prescription notes, medication administration and vital signs. These records can help you determine which doctor attended to the patient and who consulted on and reviewed the patient’s care.
Hospital records refer to all internal records the hospital maintains that are not part of the medical records. They include all internal documents showing who entered your information into your patient’s file, which doctor you were assigned to, and the hospital’s practices and policies.
Video evidence may not be readily available. However, you cannot miss some video recordings taken during a surgical process. These videos may record negligent treatment or abnormal practices.
Witness statements give the jury an account of what happened during your treatment. Witnesses may include healthcare workers, doctors, family members, and other patients. These witnesses have a first-hand account of what you experienced. For instance, another patient in a hospital room can provide testimonies about the doctor involved in your treatment.
Expert Witness Testimony
You may need expert witnesses to testify about the care you received, leading to the injuries you sustained. They will help prove that your treatment deviated from the required treatment standards. They also help explain various medical terms and conduct extensive research to build enough evidence to support your case.
Schedule a Free Consultation with a Medical Malpractice Lawyer in Indianapolis
There are several factors and phases in a medical malpractice lawsuit. Handling these aspects and stages alone without the help of a medical malpractice lawyer Indianapolis patients can feel overwhelmed. However, with an attorney’s help, you can have them handle your case as you recover from your injuries.
At Wagner Reese, our Indianapolis medical malpractice team is ready to offer our clients the best legal services. We provide our experience and commitment to maximize your chances of getting a settlement. Contact us today, and let us evaluate your medical malpractice claim for free.
The attorneys at Wagner Reese offices have reviewed the content.
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