Indiana Birth Injury Lawsuit

Indiana was one of the first states in the nation to enact laws that protect healthcare professionals and facilities from the high costs of medical malpractice lawsuits. Filing a birth injury lawsuit in Indiana requires strict adherence to the laws, and an understanding of how damages will be awarded and paid out if the case is found in favor of the plaintiff.

Indiana Patient’s Compensation Fund

Under the laws of Indiana, physicians are only responsible for up to 250,000 dollars in a proven case of medical malpractice. Any damages that are awarded beyond this amount are paid for from the Indiana Patient’s Compensation Fund, up to one million dollars. This means that the total amount of damages a plaintiff family can recover in the state of Indiana is 1.25 million dollars.

There is an additional limit placed on damages that can be recovered from the physician if they have been involved in other birth injury lawsuits that year. A physician cannot be ordered to pay more than 750,000 dollars in malpractice lawsuits in the same year by an Indiana court. If a physician has already been ordered to pay 750,000 dollars in malpractice damages in the same year, then the total amount that can be recovered by the plaintiff is the one million from the Patient Compensation Fund.

In 2013, an Indiana court awarded a family 15 million dollars due to the excessive medical care their daughter needed after a birth injury resulted in a diagnosis of cerebral palsy. The child requires around-the-clock care and frequent visits to expensive specialists. An expert who testified at the trial said that the child’s lifetime health care costs could run as high as 10 million dollars.

Under the caps in place by the Indiana government, the most the family will recover from that 15-million-dollar award is 1.25 million dollars. Additionally, Medicaid will receive approximately 500,000 dollars of the award to reimburse medical care the program has already covered for the child’s previous healthcare needs.

Statute of Limitations and Other Prerequisites

In order to file a birth injury lawsuit in Indiana, plaintiffs must begin the process of filing a claim within two years of the child’s birth. However, if the injury could not be detected until later, when the child’s development was easier to measure and diagnose, then the statute of limitations extends to two years after the date of discovery.

If you are suing the healthcare facility or doctor for more than 15,000 dollars, you must first submit the claim to a malpractice review panel. This panel is made up of state-appointed experts who will give their opinion on the validity of the claims from the plaintiff. If they believe that a clear case of malpractice is presented, their testimony will be used as proof in the court case.

Types of Birth Injuries Recognized by Indiana

There are many types of birth injuries that could result in a lawsuit in Indiana. Generally, any injury that causes a severe medical condition like cerebral palsy, seizure disorders, amputation, mental or physical disabilities, or other types of palsy are all considered “catastrophic birth injuries” under the law. These types of conditions can occur when brain damage or spinal cord damage happens during birth, or when a bone is broken in the delivery process.

If the attending physician or healthcare team’s actions or inactions caused the injury which led to the condition, they could be found guilty of malpractice. Additionally, if the policies of a facility, or multiple teams employed by the facility, are found at fault, the entire healthcare facility could be found guilty of malpractice in a birth injury lawsuit by an Indiana court.

Sources:

https://www.medicalmalpracticelawyers.com/indiana-medical-malpractice-2/indiana-birth-injury-case-is-an-example-of-unfair-damages-caps/

http://www.alllaw.com/articles/nolo/medical-malpractice/laws-indiana.html

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