In Indiana, there are limits, or caps, on the amount of damages that a patient can recover for injuries suffered as a result of medical malpractice. The healthcare provider’s contribution is capped at $250,000. If the patient’s damages exceed this amount, they may recover up to an additional $1 million from the state of Indiana.
Since 1975, as part of the Indiana Medical Malpractice Act, the state of Indiana has operated the Patient’s Compensation Fund (PCF) in an attempt to keep physicians’ insurance costs down and to guarantee that patients recover money they need and deserve when they have been harmed by medical malpractice.
Kelley J. Johnson has a long record of helping patients in Indianapolis and surrounding areas to seek recovery of damages through the PCF. If you believe that you have been the victim of a preventable medical error, we can explain to you how the PCF works and how you can recover funds through it.
Call or contact us online today to schedule a free consultation.
Seeking Compensation through the Indiana Patient’s Compensation Fund
Every Indiana medical malpractice case is different. However, in general, here’s how the Patient’s Compensation Fund (PCF) operates:
Step 1: Medical Review Panel
First, you must follow the steps to have your claim against the healthcare provider proceed through a medical review panel. This is done by filing a proposed medical malpractice complaint with the Indiana Department of Insurance.
A medical review panel consists of three doctors or healthcare providers who would be familiar with the type of medical care you received. This panel will evaluate the complaint and your medical records and will then render an opinion as to whether there was a breach of the standard of care (malpractice) and, if so, whether it was a factor in any harm to you. It generally takes at least 18 months or more to receive the panel opinion from the date the Proposed Complaint is filed with the Indiana Department of Insurance.
The panel does not determine remedies or compensation. After the panel issues its opinion, you can decide whether to pursue your claim in court.
The panel’s opinion is not conclusive. However, it can be admitted and considered by a jury at your medical malpractice trial. The physicians or members of the panel that reviewed your case can also be called as witnesses.
Keep in mind: You will generally need to file this claim within two years of the alleged act of malpractice by the doctor, nurse or other medical provider. (See our Statute of Limitations page for an in-depth description of exceptions to this rule).
Step 2: Obtaining Compensation Through The Indiana PCF
Second, if you secure a recovery through one of two ways – a settlement with the medical provider and his or her insurance company or a verdict reached in court – you will need to collect enough compensation to get to the next step – the PCF.
Under Indiana law, if the healthcare provider has purchased malpractice insurance along with a surcharge to participate in the Indiana Patient’s Compensation Fund, the healthcare provider will be responsible for paying the first $250,000 of damages from the provider’s insurance coverage.
The Indiana Medical Malpractice Act allows the healthcare provider to satisfy this qualification with a settlement of only $187,001 paid through a combination of cash and an insurance annuity that will pay out the $250,000 over time.
When you have met these qualifications, you then file a petition with the PCF to recover your damages in excess of that $250,000, but only up to an additional $1 million. This means that any amount you recover would be capped at $1.25 million.
It is important to note that, before you can get additional damages from the PCF, the issues relating to the liability of the healthcare provider must be established. Consequently, the only question before the PCF is the amount of reasonable compensation for the damages you have suffered.
The PCF will consider many aspects of the damages that you have suffered in making the determination as to how much additional compensation should be received, including but not limited to medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, how it has affected your daily life and activities, how it has affected your spouse and many other factors.
If an agreement cannot be reached with the PCF relating to the amount of compensation you should receive, then a judge can make that determination.
How Does Medical Malpractice Lawyer Get Paid?
A Medical malpractice lawyer is limited to receiving no more than 15 percent of any funds recovered through the PCF. However, there is no limit to attorney fees from the first $250,000 paid by the physician’s malpractice insurance.
Keep in mind: At the Law Office of Kelley J. Johnson, we represent clients on a contingency fee basis. This means that we charge no attorney fees unless we secure a recovery for you. We then will collect a fee that is subject to the above limits. We always make sure to discuss these fees up front with our clients.
Contact Our Lawyer Today to Learn More about the Indiana Patient Compensation Fund
In order to be eligible to seek funds from the PCF, of course, you need to secure a settlement or establish liability in court. This is why it is crucial to seek assistance from a skilled, experienced and resourceful attorney.
At the Law Office of Kelley J. Johnson, we will thoroughly investigate your medical malpractice case and seek all available options for your recovery. For a free consultation about your case, please call us today or simply complete our online form.