What Is Considered Medical Malpractice?

Medical malpractice is a complex issue that can have devastating consequences for patients who have been subjected to substandard medical care. It is an umbrella term that encompasses a wide range of healthcare provider negligence or misconduct, including misdiagnosis, surgical errors, medication errors, birth injuries, the use of defective medical devices and more. 

Essentially, medical malpractice occurs when a healthcare professional or institution fails to meet the appropriate standard of care and that failure results in harm to the patient. This can include a failure to diagnose or misdiagnosis, surgical errors, medication errors, and other forms of negligence.

Medical malpractice in Indiana is governed by the Indiana Code section 34-18-2. This statute defines medical malpractice as the failure of a healthcare provider to comply with the appropriate standard of care, resulting in injury or death to the patient. 

The statute sets forth specific requirements for medical malpractice claims, including the need for expert testimony to establish a breach of the standard of care and the need to file a complaint with the Indiana Department of Insurance before filing a lawsuit.

It is important to note that not every medical error or negative outcome is considered medical malpractice. In order for medical malpractice to have occurred, there must be a clear and demonstrable breach of the standard of care, which is generally established through expert testimony. Additionally, the patient must have suffered some harm or personal injury as a result of that breach.

Examples of Medical Malpractice in Fort Wayne

Medical malpractice can take many forms and can lead to serious injuries, disabilities, and even death. Fort Wayne residents can be vulnerable to medical malpractice, just like anyone else. Here are some common examples of medical malpractice that occur frequently:

  • Surgical errors: These types of errors can happen during any type of surgery, but common surgical errors include operating on the wrong patient or body part, leaving surgical instruments inside the patient’s body, or making mistakes during the suturing process.
  • Misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis: When a doctor fails to accurately diagnose a patient’s condition or makes an incorrect diagnosis, it can lead to delayed treatment or treatment for the wrong condition. This can result in a worsening of the patient’s condition or the need for more invasive treatments.
  • Medication errors: Medication errors can occur when the wrong medication is prescribed, the wrong dosage is given, or when the medication interacts with another medication the patient is taking.
  • Birth injuries: Medical malpractice during childbirth can cause serious and permanent injuries to the newborn or mother, such as cerebral palsy, Erbs palsy, and brain damage.
  • Anesthesia errors: Anesthesia is a complex process that requires careful monitoring and administration. Errors in administering anesthesia can result in serious injuries, such as brain damage, paralysis, or death in the worst cases.
  • Failure to diagnose or treat a condition: When a doctor fails to diagnose a condition in a timely manner or fails to provide the appropriate treatment, it can lead to serious complications, disabilities, or death.
  • Infections acquired in hospitals: Hospitals are supposed to be places of healing, but they can also be breeding grounds for infections. When a hospital fails to follow proper sanitation protocols or fails to identify and treat infections, it can lead to serious complications or death.

It is important to note that these are just a few examples of medical malpractice that can occur. If you suspect that you or a family member has been a victim of medical malpractice in Fort Wayne, it is important to seek the advice of a medical malpractice lawyer as soon as possible. They can help you determine if you have a case and guide you through the legal process.

Common Injuries After Medical Malpractice

While medical malpractice can take various forms, the resulting injuries can be life-changing. Patients can suffer from a range of injuries that have severe, long-term consequences. Some common injuries after medical malpractice include:

  • Brain injuries
  • Paralysis
  • Organ damage
  • Infections
  • Loss of limb
  • Birth injuries
  • Wrongful death

Types of Compensation for Medical Malpractice Cases

Before starting a claim, if you or a family member has suffered due to medical negligence, it’s essential to know what kind of compensation you may be entitled to. The types of damages you can recover in a medical malpractice case can address both your financial losses and the personal suffering you’ve experienced.

Medical Expenses

We will help you recover all costs related to medical treatment, including hospital bills, surgeries, medications, rehabilitation, and any future medical care that might be necessary due to the malpractice. We know these expenses can quickly add up, creating a significant financial burden, and we are here to ensure that you are not left to handle these costs alone.

Lost Wages and Income

If the malpractice has impacted your ability to work, you can claim compensation for lost wages and diminished earning capacity. This includes compensation for both the immediate loss of earnings and any long-term reduction in your ability to earn a living.

Pain and Suffering

Compensation can also be sought for the physical pain, emotional distress, and mental anguish you’ve experienced as a result of the malpractice. This category of damages aims to compensate you for the non-economic impacts of your injuries, which can be just as debilitating as financial losses.

Disability or Disfigurement

If the malpractice has caused long-term or permanent disability or disfigurement, you deserve compensation for the profound impact on your quality of life. Living with a disability or disfigurement can affect every aspect of your life, from daily activities to emotional well-being, and we are dedicated to securing compensation that reflects these profound changes.

Funeral Expenses

In the tragic event of wrongful death, we will work to recover the costs of funeral and burial expenses, providing some financial relief during such a difficult time.

Statute of Limitations for Medical Malpractice

In Indiana, the law sets a specific time limit within which you must file a medical malpractice claim. According to Indiana Code § 34-18-7-1, you generally have two years from the date of the alleged malpractice to file your claim. This timeframe is critical because failing to act within these two years can bar you from seeking any compensation. However, there are certain exceptions to this rule. For example, if the injury was not discovered right away, the statute of limitations may be extended.

We recommend acting quickly as this can make a significant difference in the outcome of your claim, allowing us to preserve evidence needed to support your case.

How Long Will It Take to Resolve My Medical Malpractice Case

We understand that one of your pressing concerns is how long it will take to resolve your case. While each case is unique, here’s a general timeline to help you understand what to expect:

1. Investigation Phase

Initially, we’ll gather medical records, consult with medical experts, and thoroughly investigate the details of your case. This phase can take several months but is crucial for building a strong foundation for your claim. The thoroughness of our investigation ensures that we leave no stone unturned and that we have a comprehensive understanding of the facts surrounding your injury.

2. Claim

Once we’ve gathered sufficient evidence, we’ll file the claim. The subsequent discovery process, where both sides exchange information, can last several months to over a year. During discovery, we will request documents, take depositions, and gather testimony that supports your case. This phase is essential for building a compelling argument for your compensation.

3. Settlement Negotiations

Many cases are settled out of court. We will engage in negotiations with the responsible parties to secure a fair settlement. This process can vary in length, depending on how quickly an agreement can be reached. Our goal is to achieve a settlement that adequately compensates you for your losses without the need for prolonged litigation, but we are prepared to go to trial if necessary to get you the justice you deserve.

4. Trial

If we cannot reach a satisfactory settlement, we will prepare to take your case to trial. Trials can last from a few days to several weeks, with the preparation adding several more months. During the trial, we will present the evidence we have gathered, call witnesses, and make a compelling case to the jury or judge on your behalf.

We are committed to handling your case as efficiently as possible while ensuring that we do everything necessary to secure the best possible outcome for you. For personalized advice and to discuss case results similar to yours, don’t hesitate to request a free consultation.

What Can a Fort Wayne Medical Malpractice Lawyer Do for You?

A medical malpractice lawyer can help you navigate the legal process and ensure that your rights are protected. Here are some of the processes in which a personal injury lawyer can help you claim justice:

  1. Investigate your case: A medical malpractice lawyer can review your medical records, consult with medical experts, and investigate the circumstances surrounding your injury to determine if medical malpractice occurred.
  2. Negotiate with insurance companies: We can negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf to ensure that you receive fair compensation for your losses.
  3. Represent you in court: If your case goes to trial, a medical malpractice lawyer can represent you in court and present your case to a judge and jury.

Medical malpractice can have life-changing consequences for patients and their families. If you suffered from medical malpractice in Fort Wayne, it is important to consult with a medical malpractice lawyer as soon as possible to start working on your case. 

Our team of attorneys at Christie Farrell Lee & Bell have the knowledge and decades of experience to help you understand your legal rights and seek the compensation you deserve. Contact us today for a free consultation.