Indiana’s Medical Malpractice Reform Legislation
Since this blog was posted, Indiana lawmakers have enacted changes in Indiana’s Medical Malpractice Law. To learn more about changes that benefit Indiana’s residents, visit our blog, 2016 Update on Indiana’s Medical Malpractice Act.
When you visit your doctor or go to the hospital to undergo surgery or to give birth, you may be putting your life in another person’s hands. When medical professionals fail to provide a pre-determined standard of care that results in your injury, an Indianapolis medical malpractice attorney can help you pursue legal action to recover for your losses and receive just compensation.
Indiana was the first state to pass medical malpractice reform through legislation in 1975, and its Medical Malpractice Act remains effective for both physicians and patients. There are a few key points in Indiana’s medical malpractice laws that are important to understand, including:
- Liability caps: Patients can only receive up to $1.25 million in damages from an act of malpractice. This cap has been raised twice since 1975 and is meant to keep insurance rates low, making it more affordable for physicians to practice in Indiana. This allows citizens more options when pursuing medical care. Physicians are not required to carry medical malpractice insurance, but they must buy insurance to be eligible for capped liability.
- Patient’s Compensation Fund (PCF): Physicians are only responsible for the first $250,000 in damages owed to one patient for one act of malpractice, and no more than $750,000 combined annually. The PCF covers the rest of a patient’s damages, which allows patients a guarantee of full compensation by excluding physicians’ insurance plans as a factor in the ability to cover damages awards.
- Attorney’s fee caps: A patient’s attorney cannot charge more than 15 percent of the total damages from the PCF. There is no cap on the first $250,000 paid by the physician.
- Time limits: The statute of limitations for filing a complaint is two years from the act of malpractice. Children less than six years-old have until their eighth birthday to file a complaint.
- Filing complaints: Before taking a case to court, patients must file a complaint with the Indiana Department of Insurance, where a three-physician medical review panel reviews the claim. If there is one defendant, two of the three panel members must be from the accused physician’s specialty. The panel gives a non-conclusive, non-binding report, but they can be called as experts if the defendant chooses to take the case to court.
While Indiana’s law provides protection to physicians and patients, the process can be complex and stressful, particularly when coping with an injury or health complication. Indiana medical malpractice lawyers who have been publicly recognized by peers and clients can help you through this process to get you the compensation and justice you deserve.
Call Ward & Ward Law Firm at 317-639-9501 and ask for “Charlie” for a free consultation.