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What constitutes hospital negligence in Indiana?

On Behalf of | Nov 15, 2020 | Personal Injury

Every day across Indiana, scores of innocent people who are seeking medical help are injured by the negligence or carelessness of a healthcare provider. If you become the victim of medical malpractice, discuss your case at once with an Indiana medical malpractice attorney.

In the United States, over 400,000 fatalities a year are linked to negligence or carelessness in hospitals. The number of non-fatal mistakes is substantially higher. In Indiana, what are your options if you’re injured receiving treatment or care at a hospital? Do you have legal recourse?

The answer to that question is yes. In many cases, when someone who is employed by a hospital commits medical malpractice, the hospital may be named as one of the defendants in a medical malpractice lawsuit.

How is Hospital Negligence Defined?

Healthcare professionals at public and private hospitals and all other medical facilities owe a “duty of care” to their patients. When a healthcare professional’s negligence leads to an injury or a fatality, victims and their loved ones need a reliable medical malpractice lawyer’s legal advice.

If you bring a malpractice claim against a hospital in Indiana, you and your medical malpractice attorney must demonstrate that an employee or agent of the hospital deviated from the professional standard of care owed by a hospital to the patient.

Hospital negligence may include a deviation from that standard of care, also known as “malpractice,” by doctors, physician’s assistants, nurses, nurse’s aides, and other hospital personnel. It includes surgical errors, failure to report changes in patient status, inadequate supervision, misdiagnosis and misinterpretation of test results.

What is the Most Common Type of Hospital Negligence?

Surgical errors make news – for instance, if the wrong limb or organ is removed from a patient – but most medical malpractice cases are not triggered by surgical mistakes. Instead, most medical malpractice cases are generated by a medical misdiagnosis.

Each year in this nation, nearly twelve million of us are misdiagnosed in doctors’ offices, clinics, hospitals, and emergency rooms. Misdiagnosis, and ordering the wrong treatment or medicine based on a misdiagnosis, is the way most victims in Indiana are injured by medical malpractice.

Hospital patients should never be placed at risk by an inadequate diagnosis or negligent treatment. Hospitals are licensed and regulated under federal and state laws, and hospitals must practice procedures, policies, and standards that protect and enhance the well-being of patients.

Does Every Medical Mistake Constitute Negligence?

If a hospital patient suffers harm or injury because the hospital’s employees were negligent, the hospital may be liable for the patient’s harm or injury, but not all mistakes that hospital employees make necessarily constitute medical malpractice or negligence.

A hospital only has liability when an employee’s departure from the standard of care or negligence injures a patient. Filing a medical malpractice claim is usually the right step to take if a technician, an aide, a nurse, a doctor, or anyone else on a hospital’s staff injures a hospital patient through negligence.

Hospital negligence often happens in emergency rooms. Emergency room work can be fast-paced and stressful. The wrong assessment of a patient’s condition in the emergency room can delay the patient’s proper treatment, exacerbate a severe condition, or even cause death.

How Will a Hospital Negligence Attorney Help You?

If someone has been victimized by hospital negligence in this state, that person should seek legal advice as quickly as possible from an Indiana hospital negligence attorney who has represented hospital negligence victims and held hospitals accountable in court.

The right Indiana attorney will thoroughly investigate your negligence claim, obtain the pertinent records, and interview potential witnesses. Good medical malpractice lawyers also retain independent physicians and nurses as consultants to review claims.

The victim (or “plaintiff”) in a hospital negligence case and his or her attorney must prove that hospital negligence legally caused or contributed to the victim’s injury. In addition, they may also show the victim suffered damages such as additional medical bills, a loss of income, and unnecessary suffering or emotional distress.

In many of these cases, an Indiana medical malpractice lawyer will hire expert witnesses – medical and financial experts – to assist in calculating a victim’s losses and help determine the appropriate compensation amount that a hospital negligence injury victim should seek.

How Are Medical Malpractice Claims Handled in Indiana?

Before you can file a medical malpractice lawsuit against a qualified hospital in Indiana, you must file a complaint with the Indiana Department of Insurance. Indiana law requires a Medical Review Panel to review your claim and issue an opinion before your medical malpractice lawsuit can move to court against any qualified healthcare provider.

A Medical Review Panel reviews the pertinent medical records, reads submissions of the parties including witness testimony, and considers the evidence in the case. The Medical Review Panel then issues its opinion as to whether “the defendant … failed to comply with the appropriate standard of care.”

The finding of the Medical Review Panel (which is comprised of three qualified Indiana healthcare professionals) is admissible at trial, and panel members can be called as witnesses. The panel’s opinion is not conclusive, but often will influence a malpractice trial which ultimately is decided by a judge or jury.

If the Medical Review Panel finds compelling evidence that the defendant failed to comply with the appropriate standard of medical care, there’s a good chance that your case may be settled out-of-court and without the need for a trial.

When Will It Cost to Consult a Medical Malpractice Lawyer?

Indiana’s statute of limitations for medical malpractice lawsuits typically gives a qualified hospital negligence victim two years to initiate or file the legal process. When children under the age of six are qualified hospital negligence victims, parents have until the child’s eighth birthday to file or take legal action.

While there are some other exceptions to the two-year deadline – your attorney will know if you qualify for an exception – you should not wait two years after a malpractice incident to speak with an Indiana medical malpractice attorney. Over time, memories fade. Evidence deteriorates.

The sooner you put your concerns in the right attorney’s hands, the more likely it is that your medical malpractice claim will prevail. Many of Indiana’s medical malpractice lawyers offer the victims of hospital negligence a free first legal consultation with no cost or obligation.

If you have been the victim of hospital negligence, take advantage of this opportunity to receive personalized advice and to learn more about how the law applies to your own case. If you are a hospital negligence victim in Indiana, and if you can prove it, the law will be on your side.