Medical malpractice cases occur when a healthcare professional neglects to provide appropriate treatment, causing harm, injury, and sometimes even wrongful death to a person. In these cases, victims and their families in certain cases can pursue legal action and obtain a compensation amount that covers the cost of their injuries and damages.
At our law firm, we have helped medical malpractice victims all over Indiana get compensation for their injuries. We have secured millions for medical malpractice victims who suffered injuries due to the negligence of others, as you can see on our case results page. If you are currently dealing with a similar case, keep reading this article to explore all you need to know about the damages you can recover.
What Damages Can You Recover in a Medical Malpractice Case in Indiana?
When medical professionals fail to uphold their duty of care, the consequences can be devastating. Patients trust their healthcare providers to make decisions that will improve their health, not harm it. Yet, when mistakes happen, the physical, emotional, and financial burden can be overwhelming.
But in Indiana, victims of medical malpractice have the right to seek compensation for the damages they’ve suffered. This compensation is categorized into two main types: economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages are the tangible, quantifiable losses resulting from the negligence of a healthcare professional. For example, if a surgical error (a common medical malpractice case) leads to extended hospitalization, the additional medical costs would be considered economic damages.
In summary, economic damages include all financial burdens directly linked to the injury, such as:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Future lost wages
- Rehabilitation costs
- Home care expenses
On the other hand, non-economic damages refer to the intangible losses suffered by the medical malpractice victim. While these damages don’t have a direct monetary value, they significantly impact the victim’s quality of life, so it’s also important to claim compensation for them.
Overall, it is more difficult to calculate non-economic damages since they are not quantifiable. They include:
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of consortium
How to Calculate the Damages You Are Entitled to Recover in Indiana
Calculating medical malpractice damages is a structured process governed by specific local laws. The Indiana Medical Malpractice Act, as referenced in the Indiana Code § 34-18, provides a detailed framework. This act not only sets the boundaries for compensation but also outlines the process to evaluate the extent of damages, considering various factors like the severity of the injury, the impact on the victim’s quality of life, and potential future complications.
Indiana’s Compensation Cap on Damages
While Indiana has established a cap on recoverable damages at $1.8 million, as per Indiana Code § 34-18-14, it’s crucial to recognize that this limitation doesn’t apply to economic damages. This distinction allows victims to pursue the full amount of tangible losses they’ve incurred.
To accurately determine potential compensation, the help of a personal injury attorney is invaluable as multiple parties may share responsibilities.
Who Might Be At Fault in a Medical Malpractice Case?
Depending on the circumstances, various professional entities and parties can be held liable in a medical malpractice case. Typically, those at fault are:
Negligent Medical Professionals
Doctors, nurses, and other healthcare providers can be held responsible if their negligence directly results in patient harm, or if they fail to provide the standard of care that is expected of them. In this case, caregiver negligence can range from misdiagnosis and medication errors to surgical errors.
Hospitals or Medical Facilities
Sometimes, the institution itself is at fault. Hospitals and medical facilities can indeed be held liable for medical malpractice if they fail to provide a safe environment for patients due to inadequate staffing, poor sanitation, or faulty equipment.
If a drug causes harm due to undisclosed side effects, manufacturing defects, or due to failing to provide adequate warnings about the risks associated with it, a pharmaceutical company can be held liable for injuries.
Medical Device Manufacturers
Faulty medical devices (from implants to surgical tools) can lead to severe complications for victims’ health when they don’t function properly. If their products are defective, manufacturers can also be at fault for injuries.
Other Parties Involved in Patient Care
Lastly, entities like labs or diagnostic centers can be at fault if their services directly lead to patient harm. ****This also includes other parties involved in patient care, such as nursing homes.
How to File a Medical Malpractice Claim in Indiana
If you have been a victim of medical negligence, you can file a medical malpractice claim to start pursuing legal action. In Indiana, these are the steps you should take:
Step 1: Contact an Attorney
Before anything else, you should consult with a personal injury lawyer in Indianapolis. We will help you understand your rights and guide you through the whole process of filing a claim, negotiating a settlement, and going to trial if necessary.
Step 2: Investigate the Claim
After the initial consultation, your attorney will investigate your claim to determine if you have a case. This may involve a thorough process of gathering and reviewing evidence.
Overall, this includes collecting medical records and witness statements and consulting with medical experts.
Step 3: File a Complaint
Once all evidence is compiled, your attorney will file a complaint against the at-fault party or parties on your behalf. The complaint will outline all the details of your claim and the damages you are seeking.
Step 4: Discovery and Depositions
During the discovery phase, both sides will exchange information and evidence. Additionally, this may involve depositions, where witnesses are questioned under oath and give sworn statements.
Step 5: Trial Preparation
In some cases, the case will proceed to trial. In this scenario, your attorney will prepare your case and represent you in court, where both sides present their arguments and evidence and a judge and jury determines the outcome.
Step 6: Settlement Negotiation or Trial
Most often, medical malpractice claims are settled out of court. For this, your attorney will negotiate with the other side to reach a fair settlement. However, if a settlement cannot be reached, the case will go to trial.
After being injured in a medical malpractice case, victims can exponentially increase their chances of securing fair compensation if they consult with an experienced medical malpractice attorney. If you are ready to take the first step toward pursuing legal action, contact us today and get a free consultation to discuss your case.