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INDIANA MEDICAL INJURY: THE 5 ELEMENTS AND THE 2 RULES

Gavel and stethoscope in background. Medical laws and legal concept.

To win any lawsuit for negligence, you must prove five “elements”, findlaw.com explains:

  1. Duty: Did the defendant (the medical provider) have a duty to act in a certain manner towards the plaintiff (the patient)?

  2. Breach of duty: Did the medical provider breach that duty by failing to exercise reasonable care?

  3. Cause in Fact: Were the medical provider’s actions the actual cause of the injury?  In other words, had it not   been for the defendant’s actions, would the injury have occurred?

  4. Proximate cause: Could the medical provider have foreseen harm coming through his or her actions?

  5. Damages: Did the failure to exercise reasonable care result in actual damages to the patient (to whom the provider owed a duty of care)?

In the state of Indiana, as is true in several other states, medical expert witnesses must be called in on the elements that affect causation. An expert witness is usually a physician, surgeon, nurse or other licensed practitioner who has knowledge about the applicable standards of care. In a medical malpractice case, a patient (or survivors of a patient) is accusing a healthcare provider of failing to use the degree of care and skill that a reasonably careful, skillful, and prudent provider would have used under the same or similar circumstances,.

Medical malpractice lawsuits are often lengthy in addition to being complex, and it is important to work with a personal injury attorney who is experienced in handling this type of case.  Cases brought under the Indiana Medical Malpractice Act are subject to two special rules:

Statute of Limitations

Victims generally must bring any action within two years of the negligent act or omission. This statute of limitations may be hard to define in cases where the fact of the negligence was not discovered until months or even years after the negligence occurred, so it is essential to contact an attorney as soon as you become aware of negligence by a healthcare provider.

Plaintiff-Claimant Negligence

If a patient was at all negligent (not providing accurate information or following doctor’s orders), and that contributed to the injuries, the patient may not be able to recover against the provider (the doctor, nurse or other healthcare professional who breaches the standard of care and causes injury to the patient).

In addition to those two rules, in the State of Indiana, if you’re suing for more than $15,000, the complaint must first be submitted to a medical malpractice review panel before it can proceed to court.

After forty years of handling medical malpractice cases in Indiana, we at Ramey & Hailey have come to believe that medical malpractice is one of the saddest categories of the law, because it involves injury and suffering that happened when what was hoped for was – help and healing.

For that reason, medical malpractice is an intensely personal and deeply emotional area of the law. Our mission is helping the injured attain the compensation they deserve and ensure that the suffering is not repeated on other victims.

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