Your Gary Medical Malpractice Case: The Basics

Your doctor is a fraud. A phony. A quack. Does he even have a medical license? He misdiagnosed you are suffering. You were supposed to attend your family reunion in Santa Claus last week. That's shot. You were making serious plans to finally live out your childhood dream and travel to the RV Museum and Hall of Fame out in Elkhart. Not happening. And worst of all, your Saturday night scrapbooking group surely isn't the same without you there.

You know this isn't right and want to file a medical malpractice lawsuit against your doctor in Gary. First, it may be a good idea to get acquainted with the state of Indiana's laws, rules, and medical malpractice terminology before going any further.

How Do I Begin a Medical Malpractice Case?

The Indiana Medical Malpractice Act controls medical malpractice lawsuits in Indiana. Under the Act, a medical review panel must review all medical malpractice claims before the claim can be filed in a Gary courtroom.

If you think you've been harmed or injured by a doctor's negligence, you or your attorney will file a complaint with the Indiana Department of Insurance.

What Happens After I File a Claim?

The panel consists of three doctors or healthcare providers, and an attorney chairs it. The panel reviews the written evidence submitted by the parties and issues an opinion as to whether a preventable medical error occurred and damage resulted.

Each side has the right to question the doctors about their view on the case. The medical review panel then expresses an opinion as to whether the evidence supports your complaint.

What if the Review Panel Finds Against Me?

The opinion of the panel doesn't decide the case. You still have the right to go to court, regardless of the panel's opinion. However, the jury will likely hear about the panel's decision and it could impact your case.

How Do I Know If I Have a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit?

"Medical malpractice" is sometimes referred to as medical negligence. Medical malpractice is a civil court action taken when a patient sues a health care provider alleging a failure by the health care provider to exercise the degree of care and skill that a health care provider of the same medical specialty would use under similar circumstances. In order to prevail in court, typically the injured patient must prove that the health care provider failed to provide adequate treatment to the patient resulting in a personal injury or substantial loss of income.

An injured patient may recover for the damages incurred by a medically negligent healthcare provider.

Examples of Medical Malpractice

Medical malpractice can happen in a variety of ways -- giving a patient the wrong dosage or wrong medication, leaving things inside the patient's body after surgery, misdiagnosis, operating on the wrong part of the body, persistent back pain after surgery, potentially fatal staph infections, birth injuries, even disfigurement and death.

Time Limit

A "statute of limitations" is a fancy way to say there's a time limit to bring your medical m alpractice claim. Most states use this term.

In Indiana, you have up to two years from when the negligent act occurred to file your lawsuit. Sometimes your injury isn't discovered right away. The time limit doesn't start until you discovered or reasonably should have discovered your injury or harm. Also, some cases have longer time limits, such as those with children under the age of 6. The child's parent or guardian has until the child's 8th birthday to file a claim.

Patient Compensation Fund

If you win or settle your lawsuit, you can be awarded damages for actual costs, including medical bills and loss of wages for days of work missed. You can also be compensated for things such as pain and suffering.

However, the Indiana Medical Malpractice Act limits awards to $1.25 million. The Healthcare provider's liability is limited to $250,000. The Indiana Patient Compensation Fund pays the balance, if any, up to the limit. The fund covers a wide range of health care providers. The list includes doctors, nurses, emergency medical technicians (EMTs), optometrists, hospitals, HMOs, ambulance services, blood banks and home health agencies.

A Final Word About Gary Medical Malpractice

There are times when a patient may suffer a medical complication through no fault of the physician or hospital. Your injury might be serious, but there hasn't been malpractice. Don't assume that proof of a medical complication is proof of medical malpractice. You may want to consider consulting an experienced Gary medical malpractice attorney who is skilled at "screening" cases early on and taking it from there.

Next Steps: Search for a Local Attorney

Contact a qualified attorney.