In an attempt to stop medical malpractice claims, many states have made it more difficult for patients to sue healthcare providers, such as doctors, nurses, and hospitals. Nearly half the states have “damage caps”, which limit the amount of money you can recover for your injuries. Other states require medical malpractice screening panels before litigation can commence. Here is what you need to know.
Elements of a Medical Malpractice Claim
Before you file a medical malpractice claim, you need to establish the following:
- A physician owed you a duty of care
- A specific standard of care should have been followed
- The physician violated that standard of care
- You suffered a compensable injury
- The physician’s violation of the standard of care was a cause of your injury
If the following facts are determined, you may have a medical malpractice claim on your hands.
Indiana’s Screening Panels
In Indiana, a screening panel is required before you can file a medical malpractice lawsuit. One way it can be avoided is if the damages you seek are no more than $15,000.00. Unfortunately, many claims exceed this amount, so a panel is usually required. The requirements for this panel are set forth in Indiana Code §34-18-10. A panel of three medical professionals and one lawyer, who serves as the panel’s chairperson. The medical professionals review the evidence and issue a nonbinding opinion. The panel must give one or more of the following opinions:
- Evidence supports the conclusion that the defendant failed to comply with the appropriate standard of care
- Evidence does not support the conclusion that the defendant failed to comply with the appropriate standard of care
- There is a material issue of fact, not requiring expert opinion, bearing on liability for consideration by the court or jury
- The conduct was or was not a factor of the resulting damages
The panel’s opinion report is admissible as evidence in court proceedings, but is not considered a conclusive decision, as that is up to the judge and/or jury. Screening panels impose more hurdles for injured victims to jump over, which is why it is important to have legal guidance by your side. If you have been injured as the result of a medical professional’s negligence or recklessness, please contact our Indiana medical malpractice lawyers at Langer & Langer today to learn more.