Northwest Indiana medical malpractice lawyer discusses issues that clients bring to medical malpractice cases and how these issues can mess-up their “slam dunk” case.
I received a call the other day, and the caller said I have a slam dunk medical malpractice case that I would like you to handle. I asked, so you think you have a valid Indiana medical malpractice case?
The caller thought that all his lawyer has to do is gather his medical records and submit a demand and some insurance company is going to open its checkbook and pay money. I began to ask the call a number of questions and he was offended. He thought the following wasn't going to matter:
- Prior lawsuits
- Prior bankruptcy
- Past medical history
- Prior conviction for writing bad checks
Well, there are many issues that the caller needed to understand about an Indiana medical malpractice case.
It is rare that an Indiana medical malpractice case is so bad for the healthcare provider that the doctor or hospital will want to settle immediately. You see in Indiana, medical malpractice claims are capped at 1.25 million and the doctor or hospital's insurance company is only responsible for $250,000 of that money, so there is no incentive for early settlement.
Medical malpractice lawsuits in Indiana, whether it be Michigan City, Valparaiso, Merrillville, Gary, Hammond, Munster, Highland, Crown Point, Hobart, Hebron or Schererville are the most fought over and litigated matters in the Lake, Porter and LaPorte courts. The defense attorneys are some of the most experienced and knowledgeable trial attorneys around. These lawyers make their living defending doctors and hospitals.
If we were to look at the statistics for medical malpractice cases in Indiana, we would see that 85-90% of the cases that go through the medical review panel come out with a finding of “no malpractice,” and the doctor and/or hospital wins approximately 75% of the cases that go to trial. So, Indiana doctors and hospitals have nothing to lose in taking these cases to trial.
So if you think you have a strong malpractice case in Indiana? You may, but there are “no slam” dunks and you cannot have any skeletons in your closet. If you have been in lawsuits, arrested, filed for bankruptcy, and have multiple past illnesses you must disclose them to your lawyer up front so they can be dealt with initially. When you file a claim for medical malpractice – your life is put under scrutiny and the defendants will use anything in their power to discredit you in an attempt to gain a tactical advantage in trial.Also, in order to be successful in an Indiana medical malpractice case you must be able to show the jury that the doctor and/or hospital staff deviated from the applicable standard of care, or put another way, departed from good and accepted medical practice. Next, you must show that the malpractice caused or substantially contributed to your injuries. Finally, your injuries must be significant and permanent. If any of these elements are missing, you will not be successful in your medical malpractice case.
So, getting back to the caller's question: “You think you have a valid medical malpractice case?” You may, but you must understand that the facts in every case and every injury are different. At your initial consultant with an experienced Northwest Indiana medical malpractice lawyer, make sure you answer all his/her questions truthfully – warts and all. Remember, all discussions with an attorney are confidential under the attorney/client privilege. Good Luck in your quest to right the wrong that has happened to you.
Indiana medical malpractice law is complex. If you have any questions regarding a potential medical malpractice claim in Northwest Indiana, please do not hesitate to call (219) 874-4878.