Indianapolis Medical Malpractice Statute of Limitations
Indianapolis law requires that lawsuits be filed within a set time period after an incident occurs. The time allotted for filing is commonly known as the statute of limitations. Medical malpractice cases are no exception to the rule.
In Indianapolis, medical malpractice victims must file a lawsuit within two years of the malpractice incident. For that reason, you should consult an attorney as soon as possible if you suspect you may have been a victim of medical malpractice. At Wagner Reese, our team of attorneys routinely assists Indianapolis medical malpractice victims, and if you or a loved one has been affected by healthcare negligence, get in touch with us today.
Medical Malpractice in Indianapolis
According to the Indiana Department of Insurance’s annual report, there were more than 700 medical malpractice cases filed in Indiana during the year 2021 alone. This number does not include cases that go unreported, which occur in countless numbers every single day.
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What Is Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice occurs any time a health care professional violates the standard of care and causes harm to a patient. Malpractice can be committed by doctors, nurses, surgeons, pharmacists, dentists, and any other type of health care provider. To prove that malpractice has occurred, a victim must demonstrate that their health care provider failed to exercise the degree of care and skill expected of a reasonable healthcare profession in the same position and such failure proximately caused the victim’s injuries.
Our team of Indianapolis medical malpractice attorneys knows all too well that malpractice occurs far too often. While malpractice can happen every day across a wide variety of health care situations, common examples of malpractice include:
- Surgical errors
- Missed or incorrect diagnosis
- Issues with prescribing or providing medication
- Failure to interpret or order test results
- Allergic reactions and cross-contamination
- Anesthesia and numbing agent problems
When malpractice causes a patient to become injured, the injured patient should contact an experienced personal injury attorney as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, the time allowed for filing a malpractice case is not unlimited, and deadlines can pass sooner than victims may realize.
Statute of Limitations in Indianapolis Malpractice Cases
Indianapolis law requires that medical malpractice cases be filed within two years of the date of the alleged act, omission, or failure that gave rise to the malpractice claim. For example, if your malpractice claim stems from a botched surgery, your filing deadline would be two years from the date of your surgery. A medical malpractice lawyer in Indianapolis would need to file your case before that date. Generally speaking, these deadlines are strict and must be followed unless an exception applies to your case.
Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations
Examples of exceptions to the statute of limitations are the discovery rule, birth injuries, fraudulent concealment, and the continuing wrong doctrine. We will explain each exception briefly in this article, but you should contact an attorney for a more in-depth explanation of these exceptions. With the help of a Wagner Reese malpractice lawyer, Indianapolis victims may be able to access additional options for filing a case past the deadline.
The Discovery Rule Exception
In some cases, the effects of a malpractice incident may not give rise to symptoms until weeks, months, and even years after the incident itself. The discovery rule provides that a case may be filed after the statute of limitations has passed if the malpractice victim didn’t become aware of their injuries until after the malpractice itself occurred and missed the filing deadline because of their lack of knowledge.
Notably, this exception does not apply to victims who discover the malpractice before the expiration of the two-year statute of limitation. In this situation, the victim must file within a “reasonable time.” This is a very complex area of Indianapolis law, and malpractice victims within this category should contact a medical malpractice lawyer immediately to increase the likelihood of preserving their claim.
The discovery rule provides an important opportunity for malpractice victims to pursue justice for their injuries. To qualify for the discovery rule exception, a malpractice victim must show that:
- They did not become aware of their injury until after it occurred.
- They did not have access to information that should have informed them of their injury and they were not otherwise acting unreasonable in seeking that information.
If the discovery rule exception applies, a victim’s filing deadline is extended to two years from the date that their injuries were discovered.
Birth Injury Statute of Limitations
Unfortunately, injuries are not always immediately evident in a newborn, and it could be years before parents realize their child suffered a birth injury. In these situations, Indianapolis’s two-year statute of limitations is not set in stone. A couple of exceptions are:
- In medical negligence cases involving children younger than six, the statute of limitations may be extended to their 8th birthday.
- Children older than six may be able to take advantage of the discovery rule if the malpractice involves delayed diagnosis.
When parents first recognize physical signs and developmental issues, it is important to contact an experienced Indianapolis birth injury lawyer to help establish medical negligence and learn your family’s options for a statute of limitations extension.
Fraudulent Concealment Exception
The fraudulent concealment exception protects malpractice victims from being affected by a statute of limitations when a health care provider has hidden evidence that malpractice may have occurred. In many cases, hospitals and doctors are quick to cover their own tracks in hopes that their wrongdoing will not be discovered. When health care providers behave in this way, the fraudulent concealment exception can assist malpractice victims in extending their filing deadline.
The Continuing Wrong Doctrine
The continuing wrong doctrine provides an exception to the statute of limitations in cases where malpractice is not limited to a singular, fixed event, such as one surgery or procedure. Most often, this exception applies in cases such as a missed diagnosis, where an initial mistake leads to further mistakes that cause more harm to a patient. In these cases, the two-year period begins on the date that the continuing wrongful conduct ends, rather than when it began.
Contact Wagner Reese Today
Our skilled attorneys in Indianapolis are dedicated to assisting victims and their loved ones in seeking compensation for injuries caused by healthcare providers. While the statute of limitations provides an important two-year deadline for filing new claims, there may be an exception that applies to your case. If you’re interested in understanding the deadline for filing a malpractice case and the potential legal exceptions, we recommend connecting with one of our knowledgeable attorneys at Wagner Reese.
We offer free consultations to our prospective medical malpractice clients, and we’re looking forward to hearing from you. Contact us today to set up a free, no risk appointment