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Medical Malpractice

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​Indianapolis Medical Malpractice Lawyer

Understanding Medical Malpractice: Causes, Consequences & Your Rights

When you seek medical treatment, schedule surgery, or go to the hospital for a health emergency, you have the right to expect all medical professionals to prioritize your health and safety by adhering to acceptable medical standards. Unfortunately, a stark reality is that medical professionals sometimes make errors in healthcare that cause patients to suffer serious injuries and deaths. When the mistake should have been reasonably avoidable, it may constitute medical malpractice, and those who acted negligently should be held accountable for their negligence.

The Cline Law Firm, LLC provides professional legal counsel to people who have been seriously injured by the negligence of healthcare providers. Our Indianapolis medical malpractice attorneys have decades of experience in medical malpractice cases and have successfully resolved hundreds of such cases, both in and out of court. We prioritize your best interests and fight for your rights to financial compensation.

Contact our experienced Indianapolis medical malpractice lawyers online or by phone at (317) 526-4467 to schedule a free consultation today. No case is too big or daunting for us to handle!

What Is Medical Malpractice?Spacer

Medical malpractice is a form of negligence that occurs when a medical professional fails to perform their duties reasonably or safely, and as a result, causes injury or illness to a patient. In some contexts, medical malpractice occurs when a medical provider fails to uphold the accepted standard of medical care that another medical practitioner or institution would have reasonably provided in the same situation. If your medical provider did or did not do something and you were injured as a result of that decision, it could be grounds for a medical malpractice claim or lawsuit.

What are Common Types of Medical Malpractice?

There are many different types of medical treatments and medical professionals. As a result, there are just as many and more forms of medical malpractice. If something goes wrong in a medical treatment and it reasonably shouldn’t have, or any type of medical professional deviates from the accepted standard of medical care, medical malpractice can occur.

You don’t need to lose time and energy looking for a law firm that can handle your specific type of medical malpractice case, though. Our team has successfully handled a variety of different medical malpractice claims for injured patients, and we can work with third-party medical experts when needed. As a result, we are prepared to handle virtually any medical malpractice claim.

Examples of common medical malpractice forms include:

  • Misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis: Misdiagnosis occurs when a healthcare professional incorrectly identifies a patient's condition, leading to inappropriate or ineffective treatment. Delayed diagnosis involves a significant delay in identifying the condition, causing harm as the illness progresses untreated.
  • Failure to diagnose: Physicians must take all reasonable and expected measures to identify a patient’s health condition and reach an accurate diagnosis without unnecessary delay. If a diagnosis is inaccurate, needlessly delayed, or never given at all, it can be a form of medical malpractice.
  • Improper treatment: Improper treatment occurs when a patient is treated in a way that reasonably should not have been attempted to treat the condition, especially when it results in the patient’s injury or illness worsening.
  • Birth injuries: Birth injuries can occur from improper handling during childbirth, resulting in harm to the mother or child. Failure to diagnose conditions that could endanger the baby or incorrect use of delivery tools like forceps or vacuum extractors are common examp
  • Surgical errors: In the operating room, medical malpractice can cause immediate life-changing or fatal injuries. From operating on the wrong body part to accidentally cutting a nerve or artery, surgical errors should always be taken seriously and be answered with a medical malpractice claim.
  • Anesthesia errors: An anesthesiologist must be precise when administering anesthesia to a patient, including localized anesthesia. Too much or too little can have disastrous consequences. Also, doctors need to check the patient’s record for a known anesthesia allergy before allowing it to be used.
  • Failure to inform patients: Medical professionals have a duty to inform their patients about the risks, expectations, and alternatives to treatments and procedures before they are performed. When a patient is given enough information about a procedure, it is called “informed consent.” If something goes wrong and informed consent was not established, it could be a serious form of medical negligence.
  • Failure to monitor: Failure to properly monitor a patient during and after a procedure can lead to serious complications. For example, a patient under sedation who isn't adequately monitored may suffer from respiratory distress or cardiac arrest unnoticed.
  • Pharmaceutical malpractice: Even a pharmacist can make a mistake that results in serious injuries to a patient. Giving a patient the wrong medication or the wrong dose of the right medication can cause all sorts of side effects, many of which may be unpredictable and life-threatening, depending on the medication.
  • Infections and poor sanitation: Infections resulting from inadequate sanitation practices in medical facilities are a significant issue, leading to serious health complications. Failure to properly sterilize medical instruments can also cause harmful infections.
  • Emergency room errors: Mistakes in the high-pressure environment of an emergency room, such as failing to triage correctly or missing a critical diagnosis, can have severe consequences. Misinterpreting symptoms of a heart attack as less serious conditions like anxiety can delay life-saving treatment.
  • Laboratory errors: Mistakes in laboratory testing, such as incorrect blood type matching for a transfusion or erroneous biopsy results, can lead to improper treatment plans. Mislabeling samples can cause patients to receive incorrect diagnoses and treatments.
Millions of Dollars Recovered For Our Clients

Real Results

The Cline Law Firm, LLC exists for the sole purpose of listening to and advocating for individuals and families who have sustained great harm and losses as a result of the negligent, intentional, or other wrongful conduct of others. It is the sole type of legal work that attorney Lance D. Cline has done during his 40-year legal career. Every lawyer and employee of our team is solely and fully dedicated to helping victims of such conduct in our society.

  • $5,634,669 Verdict for a Wrongful Death Caused by Pneumonia

    Lance D. Cline obtained a jury verdict of $5,634,669.84 for the wrongful death of a fifty-two-year-old Indian female married to a sixty-four-year-old Indian male at the time of her death. The couple had no children. The decedent developed MRSA pneumonia, a rare form of pneumonia.

  • $4,100,000 Verdict for Birth-Related Brachial Plexus Nerve Injuries

    Lance D. Cline tried this case to a jury in 2012. The plaintiff was a minor male who sustained injuries to brachial plexus nerves in his right arm at the time of his birth. A shoulder dystocia occurred during the vaginal delivery.

  • $3,500,000 Verdict for a Brachial Plexus Nerve Injury During Shoulder Replacement Surgery

    Lance D. Cline tried this lawsuit to a jury in a conservative, northern Indiana county in 2018. The sixty-five-year-old plaintiff had a history of multiple dislocations in his left shoulder between the ages of fourteen and twenty-five that led to the performance of a Magnuson-Stack procedure upon his left shoulder at the age of twenty-five that prevented further dislocations.

  • $1,285,000 Verdict For a Minor Who Sustained Permanent Brachial Plexus Nerve Injuries at Birth

    Lance Cline presented expert witness testimony from two board-certified obstetricians and a biomechanical engineer with expertise and knowledge regarding physician-applied forces during child delivery. The Defendant made no offer of settlement before the trial. The jury deliberated for ninety minutes before ignoring the medical review panel opinion and returning a verdict in favor of the client in the amount of $1,285,000. That was a record verdict in the county where the case was tried.

What are the Common Causes of Medical Malpractice?

Once we know what type of medical malpractice hurt you, we can start to dive into the details of why it happened. Knowing the cause of your injuries is the start of knowing who is liable for them.

Medical malpractice can be caused by many different forms of negligence, such as:

  • Attempting to complete a medical procedure without the right training.
  • Failing to order the right diagnostic tests.
  • Making mistakes during the diagnostic testing process.
  • Misinterpreting the results of a diagnostic test.
  • Failing to read a patient’s medical history before prescribing treatment or medication.
  • Mixing up one patient for another.
  • Miscommunicating with other medical professionals during a medical procedure or surgery.
  • Not giving the patient enough information to understand the medical procedure.

Who Can You Sue for Medical Malpractice?

The defendant in a medical malpractice case will be unique based on the circumstances of each case. Let us investigate your situation to see who did what wrong, and how it could have been prevented with a reasonable amount of care and caution. While we investigate your case to see who you can sue or hold liable, you should focus on resting.

Defendants in a medical malpractice case are typically one of two parties:

  • Individual medical practitioners: If the medical malpractice was caused by the mistakes of a single medical professional – typically, a doctor or surgeon – then that specific person might be the sole defendant in the case. If the medical professional is an independent contractor and not an employee of the hospital or clinic that treated you, then you might only have the option to file against the medical professional.
  • Nurses and nursing staff: Nurses can be held liable for mistakes such as incorrect medication administration, failure to monitor a patient’s condition properly, or not reporting critical changes in a patient’s status to the attending physician. Nursing errors that lead to patient harm are grounds for malpractice claims.
  • Healthcare groups or clinics: In some cases, an entire healthcare group, medical clinic, or hospital is named as the defendant in a medical malpractice lawsuit, such as when the error occurred due to poor management or unsafe and unhygienic conditions at the treatment center. Also, liability laws can sometimes allow employers to be held liable for the mistakes of their employees, which can apply to medical professionals who are considered employees.
  • Pharmacists and pharmacies: Pharmacists can be held liable for errors such as dispensing the wrong medication or incorrect dosage instructions. They are responsible for ensuring prescriptions are filled accurately and for advising patients on the proper use of medications.
  • Medical device manufacturers: Manufacturers of medical devices can be held liable if their products are defective and cause harm to patients. This includes situations where the device design is flawed, manufacturing errors occur, or there is a failure to provide adequate warnings or instructions for use.

How to Prove Liability in a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit

You have the option to hold these negligent medical professionals liable through a medical malpractice claim. However, naming a party as a defendant and proving that they should be liable for our losses and harm are two different things entirely. Your case needs to be able to convincingly prove that your injuries would not have happened had it not been for the preventable negligent acts committed by the medical provider. Also, a medical mistake must typically include four specific elements for it to be considered malpractice worthy of a lawsuit.

Four elements that should be present in a medical malpractice case are:

  1. A doctor-patient relationship existed between the patient and the negligent healthcare provider.
  2. The medical provider deviated from accepted standards of medical care or acted in a way that a reasonable medical provider would not have done in the same situation.
  3. The deviation from the accepted standards of medical care is what caused the patient’s injury.
  4. The patient’s injury resulted in damage or losses, including economic and non-economic damage.

If your case has these four elements, we can start to look for useful pieces of evidence to prepare your case and back up our arguments. Medical records are usually the most helpful, but other documents and testimonies can be just as important. 

What Damages Can You Recover for Medical Malpractice in Indiana?

The types of damages that might be pursuable in your medical malpractice case are:

  • Economic damages: Damages related to financial losses that can be tracked through receipts, bills, and expense reports are types of economic damages. Medical treatment costs and lost wages are the two most common forms of economic damage.
  • Non-economic damages: Damages related to intangible losses are types of non-economic damages. Pain and suffering are recognizable forms of non-economic damages, but there may be many others that apply to your case, like shortened life expectancy or lessened enjoyment of life.
  • Punitive damages: Punitive damages are meant to punish the negligent party instead of compensating the plaintiff. Courts only consider punitive damages when the medical negligence was particularly egregious or unforgivable, so punitive damages might not be available in your case.

Keep in mind that Indiana law tends to protect medical providers in ways that injured patients may find frustrating. Specifically, compensatory damages recoverable through a medical malpractice claim may be subjected to a cap or upper limit. Although legal updates have raised this cap several times in recent years, it might still be less than what you arguably deserve. Our attorneys always fight for the most compensation possible for our clients.

What is the Indiana Statute of Limitations for Medical Malpractice?

According to Indiana Code section 34-18-7-1, you have two years from the date you were injured or the date you discovered your injury to file a medical malpractice claim. If you did not discover your injury right away, you will have to prove that you did not and that it would be unreasonable to say that you should have discovered it sooner. For example, if a doctor failed to diagnose a patient’s cancer, but that cancer did not start showing outward symptoms until many years later, the statute of limitations could begin on the date the symptoms began to show, rather than the date of the misdiagnosis.

Furthermore, medical malpractice survivors under the age of 6 years have until their 8th birthday to file a claim, which provides them with a slightly longer statute of limitations to take legal action. The idea is that children might struggle to report their symptoms to their parents, guardians, or medical providers, so it can be more difficult to notice the signs of medical malpractice.

Steps in a Medical Malpractice Case

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Millions of Dollars Recovered For Our Clients

Our Satisfied Clients

  • "I truly want to thank you for helping us through these hard years of litigation. It's finally over."
    MM
  • "With warm appreciation for all you've given of your time, your energy, and yourself, I am so glad that I was referred to you. Thanks a million."
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  • "I so admire your work ethic and dedication to your profession."
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Award-Winning Representation of Injured People

Nationally Recognized, Locally Focused

  • The Inner Circle of Advocates
    The Inner Circle of Advocates
    Founding member, Lance D. Cline, is one of only two Indiana lawyers ever invited into this most prestigious and selective organization of plaintiff trial attorneys.
  • Best Lawyers
    Best Lawyers
    Lance D. Cline has been voted by his peers as a Best Lawyer in America in the fields of medical malpractice and personal injury every year since 1997, as the Indianapolis Medical Malpractice Lawyer of the Year three times and as the Indianapolis Personal Injury Lawyer of the Year in 2019.
  • Super Lawyers®
    Super Lawyers®
    Lance D. Cline has been selected by his peers as an Indiana Super Lawyer and as one of Indiana's Top 50 Lawyers since the inception of the award in 2004. He has also been selected as one of Indiana's Top 10 Lawyers in 2018, 2019, and 2020.
  • Indiana Trial Lawyers Association
    Indiana Trial Lawyers Association
    Lance D. Cline has been a member of ITLA's Board of Directors since 1984 and was selected by his ITLA peers as the Trial Lawyer of the Year in 2018.

What Sets Us Apart

  • Triumphant in Complex Injury Cases
  • A Record of Client Satisfaction
  • A Legacy of Success in the Court Room
  • Membership in the prestigious Inner Circle of Advocates

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