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What is Indiana’s Medical Malpractice Act?

Medical malpractice laws vary from state to state in regards to compensation caps, statutes of limitations, and immunity. In 1975, Indiana was the first state to draw up a series of laws that offered balanced protection to both patients and the doctors that treated them. According to the Indiana State Medical Association, the Indiana Compensation Act for Patients (INCAP) strives to compensate injured and wronged patients while keeping insurance rates reasonable.

INCAP includes laws on damages caps, which have gone up twice since the Act took effect over thirty years ago. Currently, the cap is $1.25 million for any patient seeking medical malpractice compensation.

If a doctor is found
negligent, he or she is only responsible to pay the first quarter of a million dollars in damages. The rest of the money is taken from Indiana's Patient Compensation Fund (PCF). This arrangement protects doctors from paying exorbitant insurance rates and also ensures that medical malpractice victims don't lose money because of others' inadequate insurance policies.

The plaintiff's lawyer may receive any reasonable amount from the first $250,000 (received from the doctor or hospital) but no more than 15% of the PCF amount.

INCAP's statute of limitations is two years from the point of the act of medical malpractice. Children six and under have until their eighth birthday to file a medical malpractice lawsuit. However, if an act of medical  malpractice is not discovered for a time after the event, individual judges may allow cases to move forward despite the 2-year statute of limitations.

INCAP also states that patients must file a complaint to the
Indiana Department of Insurance and have their case approved by a panel of three medical experts unfamiliar and unaffiliated with the case. Two out of three of the medical experts must share the specialty of the physician who is being sued. The panel's report is admissible in court if the lawsuit moves forward.
 

Jim Keller
Partner at Keller & Keller

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