Medical Malpractice Lawyers in Indiana
A medical malpractice lawyer is hired to represent clients involved in a case against a medical practitioner for professional misconduct. These types of cases can arise from several different errors at the hands of a medical professional. According to the Medical Malpractice Center, the United States has between 15,000 and 19,000 suits filed against health care professionals each year. If you or someone you love has a claim against a medical practitioner, contact the knowledgeable team at Alvarez Law to discuss your case.
What Is Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice is when a doctor, hospital, or other health care professional causes an injury to a patient through omission or negligence. The negligence must be the result of errors in diagnosis, health management, treatment, or aftercare. There are three criteria that a medical malpractice case must meet. These are:
- Failure to provide the expected standard of care. The law requires health care professionals to adhere to specific standards. If they fail to do so, they may face a negligence accusation.
- Injury results from that negligence. If the health care professional was negligent but their negligence didn’t result in any injuries to the patient, a malpractice claim cannot be filed. The patient must be able to prove that the negligence caused harm or injury and that without that negligence, the harm would not have occurred.
- Injury has damaging consequences. The patient must be able to prove that the harm or injury resulted in considerable damage stemming from the medical malpractice. This considerable damage can include constant pain, enduring hardship, disability, considering the loss of income, and suffering.
What Are Some Examples of Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice can happen in many scenarios, including birth traumas, misdiagnoses, surgical errors, and anesthesia errors. These claims can arise from the negligent conduct of dentists, therapists, nurses, doctors, technicians, surgeons, and other medical providers. Examples include:
- A failure to diagnose.
- Misreading laboratory results.
- Ignoring laboratory results.
- Failing to act on laboratory results.
- Unnecessary surgery.
- Leaving items inside the body during surgery.
- Persistent pain after surgery.
- Surgical errors, including operating on the wrong side of the body.
- Improper medication.
- Incorrect medication dosage.
- Poor follow-up care.
- Discharged too soon.
- Disregarding patient history.
- Fatal infections acquired at the hospital.
- Pressure ulcers, or bed sores.
- Not taking a patient history.
- Failure to order appropriate testing.
- Failure to recognize symptoms.
This wide variety of examples demonstrates the importance of hiring a medical malpractice attorney to take on your case. They will go to work for you from investigating your claim to representing you in court if a settlement isn’t possible. Take the stress out of pursuing a medical malpractice claim by contacting Alvarez Law today.
What Is Informed Consent?
A doctor or medical professional may not perform any procedures that they do not have informed consent on from either the patient of the patient’s family. If a surgeon fails to inform a patient that the procedure has a 30% risk of losing a limb, the surgeon will be held liable, even if the surgery is a success. Informed consent allows the patient to know the risks before agreeing to the procedure.
What Does a Medical Malpractice Suit Include?
The plaintiff is the person who will complain and bring the case against the medical professional in court. They initiate the suit as the one suing the other party. The defendant is the person whom the plaintiff is suing — in this case, a medical provider.
The prevailing party is the one who wins the case. This can be either the plaintiff or the defendant. If the plaintiff wins, they will be awarded a settlement. If the defendant wins, the case is done but no compensation will be awarded. The losing party is the one who does not win the case. If the defendant loses, there will be a settlement that gets paid out to the plaintiff. The judge or jury is the fact-finder.
What Are the Essential Elements for a Case?
There are four elements that the plaintiff must prove in order to be the prevailing party in a malpractice claim. These are:
- The hospital or health care provider owed a duty.
- The hospital or health care provider did not conform to the expected standard of care, thus breaching a duty.
- This breach resulted in an injury and is linked directly to that injury.
- The patient suffered considerable damage physically, financially, or emotionally.
What Is the Medical Malpractice Process?
The plaintiff or their attorney will file a lawsuit with a court of law, accusing the defendant of medical malpractice. The plaintiff and defendant will have the process of discovery to share information and documents before the case is ever brought before the court. If the parties can agree to a settlement, the case will not go to court and a settlement will be paid to the plaintiff. If they cannot agree, the case will go to court, where the plaintiff has to prove the four essential elements of a medical malpractice case in order to win.
In most trials, both sides will present evidence and experts to explain how the standard of care was either met or not met. The judge or jury will then take all of the evidence and testimony into consideration to determine which party is the most credible. The judge or jury will provide a verdict, or decide who wins.
If the plaintiff comes out on top, then the judge will decide upon an amount for damages for the settlement. The losing party may request a new trial, and either party may ask for an appeal of the judgment. If the defendant isn’t happy with a large judgment, then they can move for remittitur, or ask to reduce the amount.
What Kind of Damages Can the Plaintiff Get?
The plaintiff can be awarded a settlement with both compensatory and punitive damages in a medical malpractice case. Compensatory damages include economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages include lost wages, lost earning capacity, medical bills, future medical bills, and transportation to appointments. Non-economic damages include pain and suffering. If the defendant is found to be guilty of malicious or willful negligence, the judge may award punitive damages as an additional punishment.
If you believe that you or a family member is the victim of medical malpractice, reach out to the experienced team at Alvarez Law. We have the expertise needed to get you the settlement you deserve. You can reach us by phone at 219-852-7089 or our convenient online contact form so we can answer your questions or get you set up for a consultation.