What Constitutes Medical Malpractice in Indiana?
Indiana Code 34-18-2-18 defines "Malpractice" as a tort or breach of contract based on health care or professional services that were provided, or that should have been provided, by a health care provider, to a patient. In simple terms, Malpractice is when a health care provider not doing what he/she is supposed to do or did what he/she was not supposed to do. The term is used to indicate medical negligence by a health care provider that causes an injury.
In order to prove Malpractice, a Medical Malpractice attorney in Indiana must show the four essential elements of a tort: Duty, Breach, Injury and Causation.
- Duty: If you have been treated by a health care provider, a duty is created, meaning the health care provider owes the patient a duty to act as a reasonably competent physician would act under the same or similar circumstances. Doctors have the duty to meet the applicable "standard of care".
- Breach: In order for a patient to establish that a health care provider has breached the duty to the patient by failing to meet the applicable standard of care requires that the patient establish this fact through expert testimony.
- Injury: The patient must show that he/she was harmed in such ways as, death, disfigurement, deformity, physical loss of function, impairment to bodily or mental function, loss of earning capacity and reduced chance of recovery.
- Causation:The injured patient must prove that the harms they are complaining of were directly caused by the health care provider's failure to meet the applicable standard of care.
Despite the fairly simple language used above to define what malpractice is, there has been a great deal of case law determining who is a patient, when does a doctor patient relationship and thus a duty arise and when does it cease, what is an act or occurrence, what is the cause of an injury and which injuries received in a health care setting are from malpractice versus which are not from malpractice. Future articles will attempt to explain the various distinctions of these terms and situations.
Malpractice cases present a unique set of challenges that require a thorough understanding of both medical and legal issues. WKW has an experienced Malpractice team, including a Physician-Attorney and Legal Nurse Consultant on staff, to assist in analyzing and evaluating your claim.
Injuries suffered as a result of malpractice can be serious and life altering. If you or a loved one has been injured by Malpractice, contact us. Let your recovery begin.