Worthley Law

Dedicated and Results-driven Medical Malpractice Lawyer in Valparaiso, Indiana

Did you or your loved one fall victim to medical malpractice? You are not alone. Every year, over 250,000 Americans lose their lives to medical malpractice or negligence, which is currently the third-leading cause of death in the US. Many more patients suffer from improper treatment, often with devastating results.

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If you believe you suffered an injury or a worsening of your medical condition due to substandard treatment, you may have the right to pursue legal action against the responsible parties. A medical malpractice lawyer in Indiana, can help you seek justice for yourself or your loved one. Contact us at Worthley Law for assertive legal support throughout your medical malpractice claim.

What Counts as Medical Malpractice in Indiana?

Medical malpractice can refer to any act of negligence, improper treatment, or deviation from an acceptable standard of medical care. These mistakes may occur for many reasons, like a doctor’s inexperience, understaffing, staff fatigue, record system flaws, lack of proper training, communication errors and inattention.

Medical malpractice can cause major and even fatal damage to patients. Common examples of medical malpractice include:

The list of professionals who may be responsible for medical malpractice includes physicians, nurses, lab technicians, nursing home staff, pharmacists, and other medical providers, as well as entire organizations like hospitals and clinics, pharmacies, and testing labs. A manufacturer, like a medical device company, may also share the responsibility in some medical malpractice cases.

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Establishing Liability in Medical Malpractice Cases

Proving liability in medical malpractice cases requires showing that:

While some medical malpractice cases are comparatively straightforward, others may get highly complicated. For example, if a doctor in a hospital prescribed the correct medication for you, and a nurse mistakenly added another medication to your IV solution bag, it may be easy enough to prove the error and pinpoint the responsible caretaker. If your case involves less clear-cut mistakes or implicates several staff members, each of whom may be partly responsible, establishing liability may be more difficult.

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How Medical Practitioners May Refute Malpractice Claims

Powerful medical organizations, like hospitals, have plenty of experience defending against medical malpractice claims. They may use various defense strategies, like attempting to prove that the care you received did not deviate from the standard or trying to refute the connection between your injury or illness and the improper care in question. In some cases, they may even blame the victim or others and attempt to prove you were responsible for your injuries.

Because medical negligence and malpractice cases are so complex, it’s important to work with an experienced medical malpractice lawyer. Your attorney will be able to provide an accurate evaluation of your case and the dedicated legal support you need as you seek compensation for your treatment-related injury or illness.

What You Should Do if You Believe You Received Improper Medical Care

Falling victim to improper medical care may feel shocking and confusing. It may take you some time to begin suspecting you or your loved one received substandard care or draw a connection between faulty care and the worsening of your condition.

If you believe a medical practitioner misdiagnosed you or gave you improper care, you should:

A competent medical professional may be able to confirm that you received substandard care or a wrong diagnosis. Switching to a different care provider will also help you get the medical treatment you need — both for your original condition and for any new injury or illness you suffered as a result of improper care.

Including your medical records, hospital documents, prescriptions, and any records of communication with your caregivers.

As soon as possible. Quick action will make it easier for us to collect evidence and build a compelling legal strategy within the general two-year frame of Indiana’s statute of limitations.

The Steps of a Medical Malpractice Claim in Indiana

So, what happens after you contact a medical malpractice lawyer in Valparaiso, Indiana, and start working on your claim? Let’s break down the steps of a typical medical malpractice case.

1. Case Evaluation

We will carefully go over all the details of your case in an attempt to identify a potential violation of the standard of care and its possible connection to an injury or death. We will always act with 100% integrity and give our honest opinion about the outcome we believe you may expect, including potential difficulties of establishing liability in your case and the legal defenses your care provider may use. If we believe you have valid grounds for a medical malpractice claim, we’ll start investigating the case, which may include gathering all your relevant medical records, reviewing witness statements, and consulting independent medical professionals. A professional opinion can help us pinpoint malpractice and evaluate the likelihood of the connection between the substandard care and your injury or illness.

2. Filing a Complaint With the IDOI

Before filing a lawsuit, we must file a a complaint to the IDOI (Indiana Department of Insurance) medical malpractice division, which starts alegal process unique to Indiana generally referred to as the medical review panel process. the parties will select an attorney to serve in an advisory capacity who oversees the selection process of three of three health care providers to review the medical treatment provided.

The panel will look into your case and examine relevant evidence, which we will submit in written form. This evidence may include your medical charts, lab tests, X-rays, witness statements, and other materials acceptable to the panel. After reviewing the materials provided by the parties, thepanel will provide its opinion regarding whether the defendant followed or violated the acceptable standard of medical care in your case.

Please note that although most medical malpractice cases in Indiana must go through a review panel, if the review panel confirms your suspicions and our case investigation, its opinion can act as important supporting evidence. However, if the panel did not believe there was malpractice, Indiana state law requires that the party produce an expert affidavit in state court to overcome the panel’s opinion, or the claim may be forever barred.

3. Litigation

Once we have a solid legal strategy, we can file a lawsuit with the proper court. Your medical malpractice lawyer, will start to prepare your case for trial and get ready for an assertive courtroom appearance.

How Long Will Your Medical Malpractice Claim Take?

It’s hard to foresee how long a specific medical malpractice claim may take. The duration of a claim may range from several months to several years, depending on your case’s circumstances, how long the medical review panel proceedings take, the process of establishing liability, the other side’s willingness to negotiate, and more.

The prospective length of medical malpractice claims in Indiana is another reason to start working on your claim as soon as possible — especially when you consider that during your claim’s process, you may deal with significant ongoing medical expenses and a reduction or loss of earning capacity. The reality is that, in general, medical malpractice cases take longer in Indiana than other types of litigation because of Indiana’s unique laws pertaining to medical malpractice cases and the need to first file a claim with the IDOI.

How Long Will Your Medical Malpractice Claim Take?

Manymeritorious medical malpractice cases in Indiana eventually settle out of court. However, this may not happen quickly.

On the other hand, a minority of medical malpractice cases go to trial for a variety of reasons, including because the healthcare providers deny they did anything wrong or an injured party values the damages at a much higher amount than the health care provider is willing to offer. Some injury victims are willing to take the risk of a trial for the potential of much higher compensation, while some prefer the security and speed of an out-of-court settlement offer.

Exceptions to Indiana’s Statute of Limitations in Medical Malpractice Cases

While victims of medical malpractice in Indiana generally have up to two years from the malpractice incident to file a claim, state law recognizes a few exceptions. For instance, if you’re pursuing compensation on behalf of a child who was under the age of six at the time of the incident, you may file the claim until the child turns eight (as long as the child has not died)

Also, if you didn’t know and reasonably couldn’t have known of the malpractice act for some time, the statute of limitations begins its countdown from the date you discover or should have discovered the resulting injury. This may happen, for example, if you seek treatment from another professional and find out that your prior treatment or imaging showed serious damages that your previous healthcare provider did not appreciate. If this happens, you must seek the assistance of a qualified attorney as soon as possible to evaluate the statute of limitations to determine if, and how much time, you may still have to file a claim.

What Compensation for Injury Victims Typically Includes

No compensation may undo the damage medical malpractice has caused or reverse a tragic loss of life due to medical negligence. However, compensation for injury victims can cover costs related to the medical malpractice incident. Malpractice claims and lawsuits may also prompt hospitals and clinics to address core issues like understaffing, lack of supervision, or inefficient record systems.

Medical malpractice can cause major and even fatal damage to patients. Common examples of medical malpractice include:

Medical costs

for treatment you need because of the negligence or malpractice

Loss of income,

In case improper medical treatment has hurt your earning capacity

Pain and suffering

both physical and mental

Loss of consortium,

in case the malpractice harmed your ability to enjoy your marital or family relationships

If you’re suing for medical malpractice following the wrongful death of a loved one, you would also be able to claim compensation for burial expenses, loss of love and companionship, and possibly other malpractice-related losses, like loss of financial support.

It’s hard to tell in advance how much your medical malpractice case may be worth, but a competent medical malpractice lawyer in Valparaiso, Indiana, can provide a detailed breakdown of your case and give you a realistic estimate of the amount of compensation you may expect.

Indiana Cap on Damages in Medical Malpractice Cases

Indiana’s state legislators wrote laws stemming from the 1970s impact an injured patient’s rights to recover for medical malpractice that happens in Indiana. For malpractice that happened before 2017, the maximum amount an injured patient could recover was $1.25 million.

In 2017, the cap on medical malpractice cases rose to $1.65 million. As of 2019, the cap on medical malpractice claims is $1.8 million. Under this system, the maximum the negligent healthcare provider pays for a maximum claim is $500,000.00 and the Indiana Patient Compensation Fund pays for any amount over up to the capped amount. Attorney fees are also capped by this law at 32% of the overall award.

Does a Medical Malpractice Settlement Count as Taxable Income in Indiana?

Understanding the taxable status of your medical malpractice settlement will help you navigate the next tax season. Generally, any settlement that compensates you for a loss, like medical costs or lost wages, isn’t taxable. Any mental and emotional distress resulting directly from the malpractice are also eligible for non-taxable compensation.

On the other hand, if a court awards you punitive damages, this amount may count as taxable income since it doesn’t directly compensate you for malpractice-associated costs. It’s important to go over your settlement with your attorney and a professional accountant to understand how much of the amount you receive is taxable.

Why Might a Potential Medical Malpractice Case be Declined by an Attorney?

Unfortunately, not all people who believe they are victims of medical malpractice have an actionable claim. Here are some reasons why an attorney might not be able to take a certain case. Most medical malpractice cases must be proved with expert testimony. If an expert will not substantiate the claim or it is too difficult or impossible to prove, an attorney will not be able to pursue it.

Sometimes, injured patients are fortunate to recover without permanent injuries. This is not to suggest the patient was not injuried. However, Indiana medical malpractice cases are often complex and require significant time and investment. A law firm may be concerned that the net recovery may not justify pursuing the claim at this time in Indiana.

There may be not enough time left within the statute of limitations for a law firm to review due to the complexity involved in evaluating medical malpractice claims.

Other times, Indiana law may limit who may recover for claims of medical malpractice for a loved one. This happens when an adult dies with no dependents.

If Worthley Law cannot take your case, we strive to be as direct and candid as possible in providing you a reason why we are unable to assist at this time.

Why Entrust Your Medical Malpractice Case to Worthley Law?

Navigating the process of a medical malpractice case can feel like an uphill battle, especially when recovering from serious injuries or grieving the loss of a loved one. A skilled medical malpractice lawyer in Valparaiso, Indiana, can support you throughout this difficult time and give your claim the best possible chance of success.

Tara Worthley hasthe skillset and experience to handle even the most complicated medical negligence and malpractice cases in Indiana. Excellent success record. Tara has helped many clients reach reasonable settlements for their injuries.

Worthley Law:

Powerful Legal Support for Medical Malpractice Victims in Valparaiso, Indiana

Did you or a loved one sustain damage due to misdiagnosis, improper treatment, negligence, or any other type of possible medical malpractice? Contact an experienced medical malpractice lawyer in Valparaiso, Indiana, and learn whether you have grounds for a claim.

At Worthley Law, we use effective, results-driven legal strategies to help medical malpractice victims and their families seek compensation. Call us at (219) 575-8565 or contact us online to schedule a consultation today.

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes. If you suffered serious harm because a health care practitioner misdiagnosed you or provided substandard treatment, you may have the right to pursue a personal injury lawsuit. Most medical malpractice cases settle out of court through negotiations between both sides’ lawyers.

The statute of limitations in Indiana typically gives you two years from the injury to file a medical malpractice claim or lawsuit. However, we recommend taking legal action as soon as possible to make it easier to source relevant evidence like medical records and witness statements. We also recommend contacting an attorney as soon as possible if you could not have discovered the medical malpractice within the general two year statute of limitations to discuss your legal rights. Also, children injured under the age of six generally have until their 8th birthday to file suit for medical malpractice.
To prove medical malpractice, you’d need to show that: a) The responsible party had a duty to provide medical care for you; b) The responsible party failed to meet the expected standard of care; c) This action or inaction led to your injury; d) The injury caused substantial damage.