The Langer & Langer Difference
Simple, yet commanding truths are the hallmark of our practice. We uphold the highest standards in client service and our firm is committed to the following:
- Demonstrate an exceptional caliber of trial lawyering
- Handle every case with discretion and compassion
- Proactively check-in and stay in touch with clients at all times
- Work collaboratively as a unified team to secure results
- Remain devoted to a lifetime of learning and education
What Is Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice is a very serious matter that should not be taken lightly and proving a case against a medical professional is rarely easy. In Indiana, a doctor or other healthcare provider must act as a reasonably careful, skillful and prudent healthcare provider would under the same or similar circumstances.
Medical malpractice may consist of 1) doing something the healthcare provider should not have done under the circumstances or, 2) not doing something the healthcare provider should have done under the circumstances. This is often referred to in the legal setting as “violating the standard of care,” which means the healthcare provider did not act in a reasonable manner. In addition, the medical malpractice must cause identifiable injury to the patient. This means the negligence must be a cause of the injuries to the patient.
What Qualifies as Medical Malpractice?
The following is a list of examples of possible medical negligence; however, it is not meant to be an exhaustive list of all types of medical malpractice that could happen.
- Errors during emergency room care
- Surgical procedure errors
- Obstetrical errors
- Labor and delivery errors (birth injuries)
- Negligent nursing home care
- Wrong diagnosis or failing to diagnose
- Failure to properly calculate medication dosage
- Administering the wrong medications
- Delayed diagnosis
- Incorrect reading of diagnostic test results
- Medical device errors
- Complications with anesthesia
- Operating on the wrong body part
- Failing to properly monitor a surgery patient
- Failing to monitor hospitalized patient
I Think I Have a Claim. What Happens Next?
When thinking about whether you should sue a doctor or hospital, the first step should be to consult an attorney with experience in handling medical negligence claims on behalf of patients. A good attorney will conduct an investigation and take time to get your information, assess the facts, and determine if your claim has potential merit. Sometimes the investigation includes obtaining medical records and imaging studies, having a nurse, doctor or other medical professional review the records, or talking to other healthcare providers. This process can take time. At Langer & Langer, we believe that a strong investigation at the beginning is key to favorable resolution in the long run.
Can I File a Lawsuit Against a Doctor or Hospital?
Indiana has a unique procedure known as the “Medical Review Panel Process.” Before an injured patient can pursue a medical negligence claim in an Indiana court, the patient must first go through the medical review panel process. In general, three Indiana physicians are randomly selected to review the case. These doctors then make a determination whether they believe medical malpractice occurred. This process can take time, generally 1-3 years. A patient cannot just file a lawsuit against a healthcare provider who is qualified under these special laws without going through this process. After this process is completed, the patient is then permitted to pursue the claim in court, which can generally take another 1-3 years and maybe longer.
What Happens if I Lose a Loved One Due to Medical Malpractice?
Indiana law often permits a spouse, child, or other loved one to pursue a claim for injuries related to the loss of their family member. There are special laws that govern what types of damages can be recovered in cases involving the death of a loved one and who can recover.
How Long Do I Have to Take Action?
Indiana has special laws on the time limits an injured patient has to file a lawsuit. Generally, an injured patient only has two years from the date of malpractice to file a claim against the doctor or hospital. However, an experienced attorney should know that there are exceptions to this rule. One exception involves children. A victim of medical malpractice under the age of six generally has until the child’s eighth birthday to file a claim. Another exception comes into play if the victim has no idea and could not discover the medical negligence within the general two-year time limitation. Determining the statute of limitations in these type of situations can be challenging, which is another reason having an experienced attorney becomes important.
How Much Is My Case Worth?
The value of a lawsuit can differ on a case-by-case basis. It is important to note that the state of Indiana has special laws that limit the amount of money an injured patient can recover if they are a victim of medical negligence. Currently, the Indiana cap on the amount of money a patient can recover is $1.25 million. This is for an act of malpractice resulting in one injury, regardless of how serious the injury is, how much the past or future medical expenses are, how much wages have been lost or will be lost in the future, or if the patient died.
If an injured patient dies with no dependents, the recovery is further limited to $300,000 for the loss of love, care and companionship of the deceased. It is important to have an experienced attorney evaluate the nature and extent of injuries to determine to what extent these caps apply.
Do I Really Need a Lawyer?
Our Northwest Indiana medical malpractice lawyers are real legal advocates. We are also researchers, negotiators, and compassionate people who help victims of preventable medical errors. They want to see healthcare providers take personal responsibility for the injuries they cause in order to hopefully improve safety during the provision of healthcare.
While it may not be possible to restore lost health or wellness, we can provide help in bringing a resolution, either by settlement or trial. If settlement or recovery can be obtained, then this can ease the financial burden to the victim or victim’s family and hopefully effect change within the healthcare system and help save lives in the future.