Medical Malpractice

Indianapolis Medical Malpractice Lawyers

Results-Driven Representation for Medical Negligence Claims

In the wake of COVID-19, with hospitals being understaffed and overburdened, with doctors having to cancel elective surgeries that may have been urgent, with patients contracting the vicious disease onsite, the medical world turned upside down and inside out.

The lasting ramifications of this pandemic perfect storm are still unfolding, but one that is sure to make an appearance, and soon, are medical malpractice suits. The world was unprepared for COVID-19, and that includes the hospitals that so desperately tried to treat it.

Considering all of this, the understanding of medical malpractice laws has never been more vital. The ascertaining of whether you have been wronged by a healthcare professional has never been more essential. Luckily, Crossen Law Firm provides our clients with the most current and accurate information about medical malpractice lawsuits in Indiana. Read on to learn more about Indiana’s negligent medical malpractice act, its special laws, and whether you have a case.

Indiana’s Medical Malpractice Act

Medical Malpractice Claims

Health care providers have a legal obligation to provide quality care. If the care is inadequate and leads to patient injury, medical malpractice has occurred. Patients who suffer at the hands of an ill-equipped doctor have the right to file a medical malpractice claim. This claim must illustrate what the doctor’s duties should have been, how he or she violated such duties, subsequent injuries to the patient, and the ensuing damages such as lost wages.

Indiana Medical Malpractice History

Established in 1975, the Indiana Medical Malpractice Act (MMA) was born out of a country-wide concern over high medical malpractice insurance rates and the subsequent large increase in medical care for residents in the state of Indiana. Both doctors and their patients were frustrated with a system they felt did not support them. Enter the Indiana Medical Malpractice Act.

The MMA is the group of laws that control how medical malpractice is handled in Indiana. It was unique at the time as it equally protected both doctors and patients, relieving the tension that had reached a boiling point in 1975. The current MMA undergoes yearly review and has been amended several times over the years. The special heart of MMA has stayed the same, though.

Does Indiana Have Any Special Laws Regarding Medical Malpractice?

The answer is yes! Before filing a claim, three special MMA requirements must be followed or understood.

  1. The first requirement is that a patient who wants to file a medical malpractice claim must initially meet with a medical review panel before filing the claim in an Indiana court. This panel, comprised of three Indiana health care professionals, helps to determine the legitimacy of the claim. Indiana is among seventeen states who offer this service and the findings therein can be extremely helpful to plaintiffs seeking a suit. The opinion of the review panel does not prevent a plaintiff from filing, but the findings can be used in a court trial. So, it’s important to take this review seriously, so you can likewise be taken seriously in court.
  2. The second requirement is the amount of damages a patient can be awarded. This amount was amended in 2019 to include a 3 million dollar increase and is currently capped at 1.8 million dollars. This money comes from the Indiana Patient’s Compensation Fund and consists of surcharge funds taken from the medical malpractice insurance of a hospital or medical practice. This fund experiences yearly rate and penalty changes.

For instance, the 2021 surcharge rate decreased for physicians by 1.65%, but increased for hospitals by 2.1%. These fluctuations have a direct correlation to how much money is in the compensation reservoir for those who are owed money for damages in a medical malpractice suit.

  1. The final important requirement of the MMA is the statute of limitations. Injured patients must file a claim within two years of the date of injury. Though, experienced personal injury attorneys advise those injured in a medical context to start the claim process as soon as possible. If a person does not file a medical malpractice claim within those two years, he or she will not be eligible for injury compensation.

How Do You Know If You Have a Case for Medical Malpractice?

The most recent data from the Indiana Medical Error Reporting system shows that health care professionals made 108 surgical and hospital neglect errors in 2018. Who knows what this number has become in a post-pandemic, post-traumatized society.

Such findings clearly show medical malpractice claims have a basis, and a substantial one. So, how do you know if you have a case? Let Crossen Law Firm help you to determine that; we have decades of experience handling different types of medical malpractice cases.

Review the case types below for more information on how you could have been unwarrantedly wronged in one or more of these medical contexts and contact our Indianapolis medical malpractice attorneys for legal advice if you need assistance with your claim.

Surgical Cases

Definition of Case

Most surgeries mandate a person sign an “informed consent” form attesting that he or she understands the risks of surgery, as all surgeries have a degree of risk. However, sometimes a surgeon makes a mistake beyond the scope of those defined risks. So, a surgical medical malpractice case involves a mistake during surgery that could have otherwise been prevented, no matter how minor or major the surgery.

Cause of Errors

Each surgery medical malpractice case has a unique footprint, but those footprints have underlying structures that can be categorized. There are myriad reasons for surgical errors: lethargy, negligence, ineptitude, an inadequate preoperative outline, imprudent surgical steps, drug and alcohol use, and ineffective communication strategies. Determining which category your case falls under is the first step in a surgical malpractice case investigation.

Types of Errors

From surgery on the wrong body part or even on the wrong person, to leaving a surgical instrument behind in the patient’s body, to incisions that cause nerve damage, or to inadequate surgery protocols, there are many mistakes a surgeon can make during the line of duty. Contact Crossen Law Firm today if your case sounds like this; we can help you recover from the lasting trauma of your surgery.

Anesthesia Cases

Definition of Case

For a patient to undergo surgery, anesthesia is frequently administered to make sure the patient does not experience pain during surgery. Types of anesthesia include general anesthesia, local anesthesia, and regional anesthesia. An anesthesiologist or nurse anesthetist is present during surgery to administer these different types of anesthesia. If this person makes a careless anesthesia mistake during surgery that causes injury, then there may be grounds for a medical malpractice case.

Cause of Errors

There is a check-and-balance system for hospitals or surgical centers to ensure medication is prescribed and administered safely. However, in an actual surgical context, those security measures aren’t as strong. The surgery room is an intense environment, with life and death decisions on the line. It is all too easy to get caught up in the fervor of it all, which weakens the anesthesiologist’s ability to double-check for mistakes and it’s this negligence that leads to serious errors.

Types of Errors

Errors made while administering anesthesia are complex, as they can happen before surgery, during surgery, and after surgery. Pre-surgical errors include neglecting to check a patient’s anesthetic-reaction history or failing to inform the patient about risks or restrictions.

During-surgery errors include inaccurate timing or dosing of anesthesia, improperly monitoring of patient vital signs, or inappropriate positioning of the patient’s body while under anesthesia.

Post-surgical errors include keeping the patient under for too long, leaving the patient alone while he or she is still anesthetized, or not providing the patient with the proper postoperative information. There are many ways anesthesiologists can misstep while performing their duties. Contact Crossen Law Firm today if your case sounds like this; you can benefit from our expertise with anesthesia cases.

Diagnosis Cases

Definition of Case

Most people go to health care professionals because they become alarmed by what their body is experiencing. It is the legal duty of doctors and others in the medical field to accurately assess these signs and symptoms and to properly diagnose the patient based on these evaluations. When a medical professional makes an erroneous assessment of a patient’s symptoms, leading to a subsequent misdiagnosis, a patient can suffer needlessly. This is when there is a basis for a medical malpractice suit.

Cause of Errors

Doctors misread symptoms because of job fatigue, lack of education or experience, drug or alcohol influence, or even hubris. These factors contribute to a doctor being at fault. When these three causes are in play, doctors can misdiagnose a patient based on a false-positive lab, despite other factors suggesting otherwise. Similarly, doctors can misdiagnose a patient based on a false-negative lab, despite symptoms that all point in that direction. Finally, a doctor’s ambivalence about test findings can cause harmful delays in proper treatment.

Types of Errors

From failure to perform a full physical exam or to check a patient’s medical history, to ordering the wrong diagnostic tests, to inaccurate lab conclusions, or to the dismissal of patient concerns, there are many avenues doctors can take which can lead to diagnosis mistakes and to serious health consequences. Contact Crossen Law Firm today if your case sounds like this; we can properly diagnose and treat your diagnosis claim case.

Emergency Room Cases

Definition of Case

People of all ages frequent emergency rooms (ERs) for chest pains, broken bones, breathing problems, excessive vomiting, serious cuts or burns, bodily injury, or weakness and dizziness. An ER doctor must accurately assess these conditions and administer the proper emergency treatment. When an ER doctor fails to do this properly and a patient is subsequently injured, a medical malpractice claim is warranted.

Cause of Errors

Over the past two decades, emergency room visits have increased by 61%. This increase suggests emergency rooms have become more and more crowded and ER doctors have become more and more burdened. Fatigue, sensory overload, miscommunication, and lack of staff and resources are all factors why ER mistakes occur. The reason for an ER misstep is usually unearthed in a medical malpractice investigation.

Types of Errors

From disorganization of patient charts, to rushed patient histories and labs, to defects in ER machinery, to errors in drug prescription or dosing, to performance of unnecessary tests, or even to substandard sanitary efforts, there are many issues with ER-doctor care that can give rise to patient injury. Contact Crossen Law Firm today if your case sounds like this; we can offer you the guidance you seek on your emergency room suit.

Hospital Neglect Cases

Definition of Case

Hospital neglect is a general claim category for hospital employees who neglect to perform at the legally required standard of care. It offers an expansive list of who could be at fault. Doctors’ assistants, nurses, aides, technicians, or other hospital staff all have a responsibility to keep patients safe and well. A hospital neglect medical malpractice case involves an injurious mistake by any of the above parties that could have otherwise been prevented.

Causes of Errors

Hospital neglect stems from fundamental weaknesses in a hospital’s foundational system. Failure to update staff on the newest policies and procedures, inattention to out-of-date hospital equipment and machinery, inadequate training and supervision of hospital employees, or even false advertisement of hospital ability and resources are all reasons why hospital negligence is part of the medical malpractice world.

Types of Errors

From failure to monitor patients or execute doctors’ orders, to inaccurate reporting, to patient neglect or abuse, to drug administration errors, to procedural mistakes, or to the neglect in following hospital hierarchy, there are many ways hospital employees can perpetrate injury to patients. Contact Crossen Law Firm today if your case sounds like this; we are here to serve you in ways you were not served at your hospital.

Birth Injury Cases

Definition of Case

Obstetrics is a medical field that offers care throughout a woman’s pregnancy, during delivery, and after delivery, in the postpartum period. When obstetricians, nurses, or other obstetric medical personnel make a negligent mistake, the mother or her baby can suffer serious, life-threatening complications. So, a birth injury medical malpractice case involves the negative health repercussions of an infant or mother due to an employee oversight.

Causes of Errors

There are three main causes for pregnancy and birth errors. The first cause is a lack of communication training for OB staff, which results in employees staying silent when a concerning event is unfolding. Similarly, staff should undergo safety bundle education, but many times corners are cut regarding these sessions.

These bundles teach staff members the protocol for risky obstetrics situations like opioid use, hemorrhages, cesarean birth, hypertension issues, cardiac issues, and postpartum depression. Without the proper education on these scenarios, employees can make the wrong calls, causing severe or deadly consequences to mother and child alike.

The final cause lies in the number of cesarean deliveries performed by an OB practice. According to the CDC, over 30% of all deliveries in the United States were C-sections in 2019, which is problematic because a C-section is serious abdominal surgery. As such, they run the risk of greater health consequences for baby and mother than vaginal deliveries. Many C-sections are performed because of convenient scheduling and larger billing. Practices that don’t try to limit cesarean deliveries, run the risk of preventable injury to mother and baby.

Types of Errors

From misdiagnosis of pregnancy or pregnancy conditions, to c-section surgical errors or vaginal birth technique mistakes, to improper monitoring of mother and child during delivery, to inappropriate medication prescription or administration, there are many ways an obstetrician or OB staff can induce a life-threatening injury. Contact Crossen Law Firm today if your case sounds like this; we help you get the justice you deserve on behalf of yourself and your child.

Medical Device Cases

Definition of Case

The FDA approves all new medical devices and many times these innovative tools save lives that were once lost. However, sometimes medical devices slip through FDA cracks and fail patients who need them the most. When there are failures in medical device functionality or defects in design, patients are the ones who suffer. This becomes grounds for a medical device malpractice claim.

Causes of Errors

There are two main causes for medical device failure, the first of which is a flaw in design or production. Inappropriate material or molding, poor design and functionality, and manufacturing contamination are all common reasons for a defective medical device.

These defects are not noticed because medical devices do not have as rigorous safeguards as their drug counterparts, which brings us to the second cause of medical device failure. Clinical studies and scientific review standards are lacking in this realm, which means devices are approved for the market when they might pose risks to patients. If a patient is injured by a defective medical device, he or she has cause to file a medical malpractice suit.

Types of Errors

From dangerous bone replacements or grafts, to ineffective surgical mesh, to explosive implants, to ill-timed pacemakers, to risky surgical robots, or to outdated hospital machinery, there are plenty of medical devices that fail patients, the errors of which subsequently injure the patient they are meant to help. Contact Crossen Law Firm today if your case sounds like this; we can provide expert advice on how to move forward with your medical device claim.

Medication/Pharmaceutical Cases

Definition of Case

1.5 million people are injured each year due to medication errors, which suggests that despite the widespread availability of pharmaceutical drugs, many are not safe for people to take. Health care professionals and pharmacists have a legal responsibility to prescribe, administer, and monitor drugs responsibly. When shortcuts are taken and negligence wins out, a medical malpractice claim is just around the corner.

Causes of Errors

There are two main reasons why medication or pharmaceutical malpractice cases exist. The first reason for medication errors is simply because some drugs are so similar, both in name and appearance. In the middle of a bustling pharmacy or a chaotic emergency room, it is all too easy to grab the wrong medication because of inattention to what the drug is called, especially if the name is abbreviated, or to what it looks like. The next reason for medication errors is doctor-to-doctor communication or a lack thereof. Many patients have multiple attending nurses and doctors and if they do not communicate with one another about drug decisions regularly, mistakes can inadvertently happen and tragedies can unjustly unfold.

Types of Errors

From drug and dosage misallocation, to patient misinstruction, to drug confusion, to drug mislabeling, or to improper drug combination, there are many ways the ill-judgment of a doctor or pharmacist can lead to serious injury. Contact Crossen Law Firm today if your case sounds like this; we can help you receive the compensation you deserve!

Crossen Law Firm: You Deserve Compensation

At Crossen Law Firm, we fight for your right to compensation. If you have a basis for medical malpractice, don’t hesitate to contact us. Many clients will tell you that our collective experiences and abilities are invaluable tools for navigating the rocky medical-malpractice terrain, no matter which type of medical malpractice case you bring to us. Reach out today for a free consultation. Dial (317) 401-8626 or contact us online. We are here to help when the medical experts have not.

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