Lafayette Medical Malpractice Attorneys
Medical Malpractice & Negligence in Tippecanoe County
When we visit doctors, go to the hospital, or see any medical provider for any reason, we expect to be treated professionally and with the highest level of care. In fact, medical providers are required to abide by what is known as the “accepted standard of care,” meaning they must act in the same way that any other qualified provider would in the same or similar circumstances. When they fail to do this, and a patient is injured or dies as a result, the medical provider could face legal action.
At Hovde Dassow + Deets, our Lafayette medical malpractice attorneys have more than 100 years of combined experience representing victims and families affected by medical negligence. To date, we have secured over $300 million in compensation for our clients, and we always strive to maximize each individual client’s recovery. We understand the immense impact medical negligence has on patients and their loved ones, which is why we have dedicated our practice to securing the justice our clients deserve.
What Constitutes Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice is a complex area of personal injury law, and one that is often misunderstood. To have a medical malpractice case, there are several important elements you as the plaintiff must prove.
These elements include:
- Duty of Care: You must prove that the medical provider against whom you are bringing the claim had a responsibility to you as a patient. Typically, establishing the existence of a doctor-patient relationship proves the duty of care.
- Standard of Care: You may also need to establish the standard of care, meaning the level of care considered acceptable given the circumstances of your treatment. Different settings and medical providers, including emergency rooms and general practitioners, have different standards of care.
- Breach: To have a medical malpractice case, you must prove that the medical provider breached or failed to uphold the standard of care. In other words, you must show that they failed to act in the same way another qualified medical provider would have in the same or similar circumstances.
- Injury: You must also prove that you were injured (or, in wrongful death cases, that your loved one died) to have a case. Even if a medical provider was indisputably negligent or made an obvious error, you only have a case if you can prove that you were injured and/or suffered measurable damages.
- Causation: Lastly, you must prove that the actual or proximate cause of your injuries was the medical provider’s negligence, error, or breach of the standard of care. This is often one of the most difficult elements to prove in a medical malpractice case.
At Hovde Dassow + Deets, we are well-versed in Indiana medical malpractice law. Our attorneys know how to build powerful, evidence-based claims, and we often work with medical experts who provide critical testimony in support of our clients.
Examples of Medical Malpractice
Medical malpractice and negligence take many forms, but some are more common than others.
Some of the most common examples of medical malpractice include:
- Delayed diagnosis
- Missed diagnosis
- Birth injuries
- Anesthesia errors
- Surgical errors
- Failure to treat
- Hospital negligence
- Emergency room negligence
- Medication errors
- Lab errors
These and other forms of medical malpractice often result from poor communication, dismissal of patients’ symptoms, failure to order proper tests, misanalysis of lab results, incompetence, negligence, and poor or inadequate follow-up care. When a medical provider violates the accepted standard of care in any way, leading to patient injury or death, they can and should be held accountable.
What Is a Medical Panel Review?
In Indiana, most medical malpractice lawsuits can only be filed after a medical panel review. The purpose of this is to prevent frivolous claims from passing through the legal system and ensure that all cases brought have merit. Unfortunately, the process of obtaining a medical review can be complicated and time-consuming. However, our Lafayette medical malpractice attorneys can guide you through this process and ensure that you do not miss any crucial steps or deadlines that could affect your case.
You may waive the medical panel review requirement if you are seeking $15,000 or less in damages or if you and the defendant have both agreed (in writing) to bypass the medical review process. If you do not meet one of these exceptions, you must file a proposed complaint with the Indiana Department of Insurance before pursuing a medical malpractice lawsuit in court.
What Is the Statute of Limitations on Medical Malpractice Cases in Indiana?
The statute of limitations, or deadline by which you must file your lawsuit, for most medical malpractice cases in Indiana is two years from the date of injury and/or alleged malpractice. However, in some cases, the “discovery rule” may apply.
The discovery rule states that an individual may receive “reasonable time” to file a lawsuit if they did not and could not have discovered their injury immediately after the act of alleged malpractice. For example, if a patient underwent surgery and the surgeon left a foreign object in the body, the patient may not discover that this occurred until they begin to experience negative health effects, such as an infection, at a later date. In such a case, the patient may have an extended period of time (i.e., two years from the date on which the injury was discovered or reasonably could have been discovered) to sue the liable party for damages.
Additionally, when the injured party is a child under the age of six, they and/or their parents or guardians have until the child's eighth birthday to file a personal injury lawsuit. This frequently applies in medical malpractice cases involving birth injuries, as well as other instances of medical negligence affecting young children.
Is There a Cap on Medical Malpractice Damages in Indiana?
Indiana is one of several states that impose caps on damages in certain medical malpractice cases. For cases in which alleged malpractice occurred between July 1, 2017, and June 30, 2019, the plaintiff may not receive more than $1.65 million total for economic and non-economic damages. For cases involving alleged malpractice occurring on or after July 1, 2019, all economic and non-economic damages are capped at $1.8 million.
Damages in Medical Malpractice Cases
Victims of medical negligence frequently experience numerous negative health consequences. As a result, they often require additional medical treatment and ongoing care. Often, they are left with permanent disabilities or limitations that affect their ability to earn a living for themselves and their families. They are likely to experience a significant amount of physical pain and emotional distress and may suffer from a considerably diminished quality of life.
The purpose of filing a medical malpractice claim is to recover compensation for these and other damages, including but not limited to:
- Medical expenses
- Future medical care costs
- Lost income/wages
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Lost enjoyment of life
- Diminished earning capacity
- Home modifications
When someone dies due to a medical provider’s error or negligence, their families can seek financial compensation for economic and non-economic losses, including funeral expenses, loss of income, loss of support, and more.
Why Hire Our Medical Malpractice Lawyers?
At Hovde Dassow + Deets, we genuinely care about each and every one of our clients. We know the immense challenges you are facing—and we know how to help. As your legal team, we will be there for you every step of the way, providing answers to your questions and remaining accessible to you 24/7. When you hire our firm, one of our partner attorneys will be directly involved in your case; you will never be passed off to a paralegal or a less-experienced lawyer without sufficient knowledge of the laws and statutes involved in your situation.
If you or someone you love has been injured due to medical malpractice or negligence, you need an attorney you can trust. Reach out to our Lafayette medical malpractice lawyers today to request a free, confidential consultation. There are no legal fees for you unless/until we recover a settlement or verdict on your behalf.
Words can not express how exceptional Rick Hovde and Kelly Faulk are in the Field of Medical Malpractice- Bob D
You can tell we're just not a client but a family that they care about.- Steve H.
The best thing about working with Hovde Dassow + Deets was Nick's professionalism & knowledge.- Sarah S.
Our family very much appreciates the services we received from Nick Deets & his staff.- Teresa S.
Very professional, honest, upfront all throughout the case.- John H.