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Overview of how Indiana’s malpractice laws work

Like some other states, Indiana has a fairly detailed process about how a patient has to go about suing her doctor for medical malpractice.

While this process may not apply to every lawsuit involving a doctor, most medical negligence cases must go forward via this process. Otherwise, a patient risks losing his case out of the box for not following the correct procedures.

Two important features of the process are, first, a patient must submit a proposed complaint to the Department of Insurance before filing suit.  Then, within 20 days, either the physician or the patient may ask for an independent review.

Both sides have a role in selecting the attorney who chairs the panel and the 3 medical providers who will be on the Medical Review Panel.

Once formed, the Panel considers only written evidence, such as medical records and reports and the like. The Panel may, however, examine sworn testimony from the doctor and patient as well as third-party witnesses.

At the end of the process, the Panel concludes whether or not the doctor involved failed to uphold the standard of care. A Panel costs over $3,000 to conduct; the doctor only pays in full for the Panel if the Panel holds that he or she fell short of the standard of care.

Although it will depend on the specific circumstances, the opinion of the Panel may be admissible in a later court proceeding if the patient goes forward with a lawsuit.

Preparing one’s case for review by a Medical Review Panel

The result of a Medical Review Panel can be critical to the outcome of a patient’s case. It is important for a person to prepare carefully for the Panel’s review. Likewise, a careful investigation is necessary if a case goes forward into litigation.