Every state, including Indiana, has deadlines—or statute of limitations—for filing medical malpractice lawsuits. In Indiana, a medical malpractice action must be brought within two years from the date of the alleged act, omission, or neglect. A minor under the age of six years has until his eighth birthday to file. No other instance of minority or other legal disability tolls the medical malpractice statute of limitations.
Most medical malpractice actions in Indiana are brought under the terms of the Medical Malpractice Act. This act governs actions against “qualified providers.” In cases brought under the Medical Malpractice Act, contributory negligence is held to be a complete defense that bars any recovery by plaintiff. A patient has a duty to exercise reasonable care, which includes providing his doctor with accurate and complete information and following the doctor’s instructions. In other cases, the Comparative Fault Act provides for a modified form of comparative negligence. Recovery is barred if the claimant’s fault exceeds 50 percent of the total fault.
In 2016, Indiana had 28,251 licensed physicians within a population of 6,633,053 residents, equaling 426 physicians for every 100,000 people. Medical malpractice suits in 2015 were 20.7 per 100,000 residents, with a total payout of $53.3 million. This represents a 45.62% decrease from 2014. In 2015, Indiana ranked 28th in medical malpractice lawsuits. The most common three types of medicine practiced as of 2012 were family medicine/general practice, internal medicine, and anesthesiology. A study conducted by WalletHub states that Indiana has the 4th least expensive annual malpractice liability insurance.
• Industry Average Cost of an Indiana Medical Malpractice Insurance Policy: $7,502
• Is Medical Malpractice Insurance Required in Indiana? Requirements are in places to qualify for state liability reforms.
• Minimum Carrying Requirements: The Indiana Medical Malpractice Act establishes a Patient Compensation Fund that functions as a system of excess insurance for health care providers. To become a “qualified provider,” entitled to the benefits of the Act, a health care provider must file proof of financial responsibility and pay the surcharge assessed by the Commissioner of Insurance to support the Fund. Ind. Code Ann. §§ 34-18-2-24.5 and 34-18-3-2 (West Supp. 1998). A qualified provider establishes financial responsibility by purchasing malpractice liability insurance. Effective July 1, 1999, required limits for physicians are $250,000 per occurrence and $750,000 in the annual aggregate, while required limits for hospitals are $250,000 per occurrence and $5,000,000 in the annual aggregate, if the hospital has not more than one hundred beds, or $7,500,000 in the annual aggregate, if the hospital has more than one hundred beds.
• What are the medical malpractice damage caps in Indiana? For health care treatment errors that occurred after June 30, 1999, but prior to July 1, 2017, there is a $1.25 million cap on total damages available to the plaintiff, and an individual health care provider (i.e. a doctor or other health care professional) cannot be held liable for more than $250,000 in damages. Any damages in excess of that $250,000 will be paid by the state of Indiana’s Patient Compensation Fund. If the malpractice occurs after June 30, 2017, but before July 1, 2019, the total cap is $1,650,000, of which the health care provider cannot be ordered to pay more than $400,000 (with the state's patient's fund paying the rest, up to the $1.65M cap) If the malpractice occurs after June 30, 2019, the total cap is $1,800,000, of which the health care provider cannot be ordered to pay more than $500,000 (with the state's patient's compensation fund paying the rest, up to the $1.8M cap).” Source: Nolo.com
• What is the “statute of limitations” for a medical malpractice complaint in Indiana? 2 years, Indiana Code section 34-18-7-1.