You should be able to trust the professional judgment and guidance of your doctor and other healthcare professionals. Doctors serve an important part in protecting our health and livelihood, by ensuring that we remain healthy and that we recover from illnesses and injuries. However, sometimes doctors and other healthcare professionals actually cause injuries and fail to meet professional standards, which may be considered medical malpractice.
Medical malpractice is defined as “a tort or breach of contract based on health care or professional services that were provided or should have been provided, by a health care provider to a patient” in Indiana Civil Code § 34-18-2-18. In a medical malpractice case in Indianapolis, an injured person will, therefore, need to prove the essential elements of the tort of negligence: duty, breach, injuries, and causation.
A qualified Indianapolis medical malpractice lawyer understands the complexities and challenges of medical malpractice cases and could help you hold negligent doctors liable for medical malpractice. Contact an experienced injury attorney to begin your case today.
Understanding Medical Malpractice and Liability
Medical malpractice and liability involve thoroughly examining the facts and circumstances of an injury. In any medical malpractice case in Indianapolis, it is critical to answer the following questions.
Did the Doctor Have a Duty to the Patient?
If a person goes to the doctor seeking medical advice and treatment, this establishes a duty on part of the doctor to conform to a standard of care.
Did the Doctor Breach the Standard of Care?
Once a duty has been established, a person must demonstrate that their doctor or healthcare professional deviated from the standard of care, and in doing so failed to exercise the same degree of care that a reasonably careful, skillful, and prudent health care provider would have in a similar or identical scenario.
Did the Doctor’s Negligence Cause an Injury?
This may mean that a disease or condition worsened because a doctor failed to diagnose, or made a delayed diagnosis. However, this could also mean a doctor such as a surgeon directly caused an injury—for example, if a surgeon operated on the wrong body part.
Did the Doctor’s Actions Cause the Injury?
Finally, causation is an essential element to any medical malpractice case in Indianapolis. The causation element requires a person to demonstrate a connection between a health care provider’s actions and their injuries.
Statute of Limitations for Malpractice Claims
A plaintiff has two years to file a medical malpractice action against a health care provider. The statute of limitations in Indianapolis usually begins at the time of the alleged negligent act or omission, and not at the time the patient discovers the negligence. Children who are the victims of medical malpractice prior to the age of six are allowed until their eighth birthday to file a medical malpractice claim.
In 1999, the Indiana Supreme Court decided in Martin v. Richey that Indiana’s two-year statute of limitations could be extended in a limited number of cases where the patient proves that the act of malpractice is concealed.
When an act of medical malpractice is concealed, a person may file a medical malpractice complaint within two years of the discovery of the malpractice and resulting injury, or of learning facts that with reasonable diligence should have led to the discovery of the malpractice.
Contacting an Indianapolis Medical Malpractice Attorney
An Indianapolis medical malpractice lawyer could help secure compensation to cover your medical expenses, lost wages, disability, and disfigurement, and for your pain and suffering. Call today to discuss your case.