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What is Medical Malpractice?

Medical malpractice is a lawsuit claim resulting from a medical provider’s mistake. This mistake can come in the form of the misdiagnosis of an illness, an incorrect treatment of a patient, or a mistake in a surgical procedure. Medical malpractice claims against health professionals in Indiana must be conducted within the laws enacted by the Indiana General Assembly. This malpractice system controls any malpractice claim above $15,000. Working within the system of law requires proper medical advising in order to properly submit cases within the channels of the law.
Today, the Court of Appeals issued a decision striking a blow against the trial tactics of the insurance industry. Here in Indiana, when someone is injured by the negligence of another that person is entitled to the "reasonable value" of the medical treatment she was forced to undergo. In Patchett v. Lee, Case No. 29A04-1501-CT-00001, State Farm argued that it should be allowed to provide the jury with the amounts Healthy Indiana Plan (a Medicaid program) paid on Plaintiff's behalf in an effort to establish the "reasonable value" of Plaintiff's medical treatment. Noting that HIP paid approximately 13% of what Plaintiff's doctors charged, the Court of Appeals held that evidence of the HIP payments were properly excluded by the trial court as not being probative of reasonable value. A copy of the opinion can be found here (click on the "Opinion" link in the upper right corner of the docket). Riley Williams & Piatt attorney, Joe Williams provided briefing and oral argument for the Indiana Trial Lawyers Association, which assisted the Court in reaching its decision. The Court of Appeals' opinion cited to both Joe's brief and his oral argument. His oral argument starts at 32:15 here. When asked about the Court's decision, Joe said, "In reading the Court's decision, I was impressed with how thoroughly the panel reviewed the issue before reaching such a just conclusion. This decision will assist many Hoosiers in obtaining the justice to which they are entitled after being hurt by the carelessness of another."
Medical Malpractice refers to an event or circumstance in which a healthcare professional’s actions or lack of, result in injury or harm to the patient. Essentially, when the care provided to the patient is substandard and it results in negative consequences for the patient, malpractice has been committed. It is important to note that in order to establish (and prove) a medical professional committed malpractice it must be proven that

a) They made a mistake
Medical Malpractice can be confusing and difficult to actually prosecute. In any Medical Malpractice case, you need to prove the negligence or fault of the medical professional, and you also have to prove that their negligence or fault resulted in injuries on your end. Anyone making these claims are often treated by several medical professionals and perhaps have even undergone several different procedures, so it can be difficult to determine exact fault in certain cases.

There is a time limit to filing a medical malpractice lawsuit, so it’s important to understand and acknowledge Indiana’s Statute of Limitations regarding medical malpractice claims. Indiana specifically gives a two-year time limit to file any claims, and that two-year time limit starts when the medical injury starts – immediately following the procedure that caused it, or if the symptoms aren’t apparent right away, the date that the symptoms started. The implication of this is you cannot wait. The day you notice symptoms should be the day you contact a legal professional or begin the filing process. If the patient suffering injury is less than 6 years old the time limit is extended, and parents/guardians have until the child turns eight years old to file a claim.