When we get injured or become sick, we trust medical professionals to help us. However, sometimes these medical professionals; doctors, nurses, anesthesiologists, physical therapists, etc, make mistakes and these mistakes can result in serious illness, injury or even death.
It is estimated that there are approximately 1,000,000 medical injuries per year in the United States. It is these medical injuries that can result in a medical malpractice lawsuit being filed.
Medical professionals are expected to practice medicine with a degree of care and skill; they owe a duty to their patients. It’s when their duty to provide such care is breached that a person suffers through misdiagnosis, a birth injury, a defective drug or product or surgical error.
According to some studies, it is estimated that roughly 10% of medical errors are the result of a misdiagnosis. Having an illness misdiagnosed means you risk being treated with the wrong medications, or you risk having your illness worsen due to having the correct diagnosis delayed.
you go to your doctor or hospital with certain symptoms and are misdiagnosed, and possibly treated, for an illness you do not have.
The result of receiving a “wrong diagnosis” is that it can lead to a delay in treatment resulting in severe health problems and in some cases, death.
When a person makes the decision to go to the emergency room due to certain symptoms, they are usually in great distress at that point.
And while emergency rooms are equipped to deal with more obvious injuries, such as wounds and symptoms of heart attack, they are not always well-equipped to make accurate diagnoses on the spot.
In fact, some studies have reported that appendicitis in children under the age of 12 is misdiagnosed almost 50% of the time.
Medical Errors during the birth of a child can have life-altering affects. These mistakes can result in debilitating pain for mother and child, as well as permanent disability. Not monitoring for fetal distress, administering the epidural incorrectly, not performing a c-section in time are examples of common birthing mistakes that can result in brain trauma, dislocated shoulder for the infant, or even unintended death.
Not all surgical mistakes turn into malpractice lawsuits as any surgery comes with certain risk and all patients are required to sign consent forms prior to surgery that they have had these risks explained and understand. There are, however, three circumstances common to surgical malpractice:
Mistakes in surgery can occur even before the first incision is made. During the preoperative phase it is for the medical staff and surgeon to ensure all appropriate tests have been performed and thorough review of the patient’s medical history has been accessed to determine any potential risk to the patient.
It is also during this time that the anesthesiologist to determine the correct amount of anesthetic to be administered; as too little can result in the patient waking during the procedure and too much can result in death.
It is during an actual surgery that most errors can occur. It is at this point that a patient is 100% dependent on the surgeon and his or her supporting medical staff to be sufficiently trained and experienced with a particular procedure.
The surgical team is trusted to ensure proper sterilization of medical instruments and also keep track of the instruments and ensure none have been inadvertently left inside the patient.
Once a surgical procedure is complete, care for the patient does not end. It is the post-operative medical team’s responsibility to ensure the patient remains under observation for any signs of distress or infection and that the patient is not discharged prematurely.
Medical care has been revolutionized over the past decade due to advancements in technology. Smaller incisions and minimally invasive techniques have resulted in quicker healing time, less infection and overall better patient care.
However, despite these technological advancements, defective medical products still cause a large percentage of medical class action lawsuits per year.
The most commonly seen defective medical devices include; defective pacemakers, defective IUD’s, defective heart valve implants and defective joint implants.
The FDA is in place to protect the public from defective and contaminated products, including medical equipment and implant devices. Medical products typically go through years of testing before being approved.
While most medical devices pass testing and inspection, other manufacturing companies can take advantage of legal loopholes that allow them to bring their medical devices to market without thorough safety inspection. When this happens, it can, unfortunately, results in a large number of injuries being reported.
Here are some of the most commonly known defective medical devices:
It has happened on occasion that a pharmaceutical company has failed to fully divulge risks and side-effects to consumers or purposely hid negative results of a particular drug causing devastating injury or illness to patients. When this happens, class action lawsuits can be brought against the drug corporations.
Other times, it is a personal physician who fails to explain potential risks or side-effects or prescribes conflicting medications causing illness or injury to patients. When this type of bad injury occurs, it can lead to medical malpractice lawsuits.
Determining who is responsible for injuries caused by prescribed medications depends on many factors:
Did your doctor fail to review your medical history and prescribe a medication that conflicts with another prescribed medication causing injury?
If you feel you have been injured as the result of taking a prescribed medication as directed, or have taken any of the medications currently under FDA recall, you may want to speak with an Indianapolis personal injury attorney.
Here is a list of class action lawsuits involving popular prescription drugs.
Medical Malpractice cases are filed so that an injured patient has the opportunity to recover compensation for the injuries caused by a doctor or other medical professional.
It is important to note that the state of Indiana has certain rules and guidelines that medical malpractice lawsuits must adhere to:
Indiana requires all medical malpractice suits to be filed within two years of the medical accident or injury taking place. The exceptions to this rule:
If an injured person does not file their claim with the court within the 2 year time frame, then the case is considered closed and no further legal action may be pursued.
If your medical malpractice lawsuit is for less than $15,000, in Indiana, you simply file your initial complaint with the court within the 2 year time limitation.
If your lawsuit totals more than $15,000, then you must first submit your complaint to a medical malpractice review board. The review board can take up to 90 days to issue an opinion about the case, during which time the statute of limitations is suspended or “tolled”.
In addition, if you began your claim under the $15,000 threshold and later decide you want to increase the amount, you can retract your filed claim and submit it to the medical review board. In this instance, the board will add an extra 180 days to your time limit amount.
Prior to July 1, 2017, a medical malpractice lawsuit could not recover more than $1,250,000 in total compensation. The at-fault doctor or health care provider had to provide the first $250,000 of that amount and The Indiana Patient Compensation Fund covered the rest, up to $1,000,000.
However, these compensation rules have changed in recent years. For medical malpractice suits filed after June 30, 2017 and before July 1, 2019, the total awarded amount is $1,650,000. The liable health care provider is responsible for covering $400,000 and The Indiana Patient Compensation Fund covers the rest, up to $1.65M.
For cases file after June 30, 2019, the total amount that can be awarded is $1,800,000, with the at-fault health care professional responsible for no more than $500,000.
Most medical malpractice lawyers work on a contingency basis and do not require any upfront payment from you. Initial consultations are usually free and it is during this meeting that the lawyer will determine if you have a viable case.
The lawyer then pays all out-of-pocket expenses to take your case to trial, including cost for medical records, court filing fees, hiring medical experts, etc.
It is only if your lawyer wins your case that they are reimbursed for court costs and paid for their services at an agreed-upon percentage rate, which is typically between 30% and 40% of the total amount awarded.
Notice: The basic information on this page is NOT in any way legal advice or legal representation. Read our notice here