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Medical Malpractice Damages In Indiana

Medical Malpractice Damages In Indiana

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While not every medical mistake will rise to the level of malpractice, those that do are actionable as long as it can be proven that you suffered a tangible injury (among other criteria). However, even if you are able to prove that a medical professional or hospital is liable for malpractice, you still may not necessarily receive the amount of compensation you would require in order to cover all your bills. Depending on your situation, you may find your recovery reduced under Indiana law.

Establishing Malpractice

To establish that a medical professional did indeed commit malpractice, Indiana law holds that a professional must be shown to have breached the prevailing standard of medical care that exists between patient and physician. In other words, it must be shown that their conduct would not have been replicated by a reasonable professional with similar experience and ability. A duty of care must exist between physician and patient, but Indiana law may establish a duty in fact even if one does not exist at law, based on the three factors detailed in the landmark case of Webb v. Jarvis (1991). Indiana is somewhat unique in that it does ascribe some responsibility to the patient in that contributory negligence can be imputed if the patient does not, for example, provide the physician with all relevant medical history.

It also must be established that the patient suffered a tangible injury (that is, actual damages, rather than temporary or otherwise brief issues such as bruises, cuts, or momentary shock), and that the injury was caused directly by the conduct of the defendant professional. No intervening cause can have occurred, or at the very least, your suit might have to be amended to join another defendant.

Damage Caps

If you are able to prove these factors and show that a physician did indeed commit malpractice, your recovery will almost always come at least in part from Indiana’s Patient’s Compensation Fund (PCF). Indiana instituted the PCF upon the passage of the state’s Medical Malpractice Act in 1975, with the rationale that having a guaranteed compensation fund would benefit both patients and medical professionals.

The standard procedure in most malpractice cases is that the defendant physician, if found liable, is responsible for the first $250,000 in damages assessed by a jury or other fact finder, with the PCF making up the aggregate, though the total is not to exceed $1.25 million as of this writing. This may seem like a significant amount, and for many plaintiffs it is sufficient to cover the costs of recovery at the very least. This can still be an issue in cases where the damage done by malpractice is very severe, but in March 2016, Governor Pence signed an increase in the damage cap into law. Senate Enrolled Act 28 increases the limit from the current $1.25 million to $1.65 million in 2017, and $1.8 million in 2019. It remains to be seen how this new increase will affect the climate for the medical profession in Indiana.

Contact A Medical Malpractice Attorney

Medical malpractice can severely impact a person’s life in every respect. If you or a loved one have been a victim, consulting a knowledgeable medical malpractice lawyer can be the first step to getting the compensation you are owed. The skilled Indianapolis medical malpractice attorneys at Holland & Holland are happy to help you through what can be a difficult process. Contact us by phone today to set up an initial consultation.

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