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A recent Seventh Circuit ruling puts before the Indiana Supreme Court two issues of interest to healthcare providers in Indiana, their professionals and their insurance companies.  Johnson & Bell Shareholder, Sharon L. Stanzione, provides an overview.

On February 3, 2021, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit certified two questions to the Indiana Supreme Court that can greatly impact Indiana health care providers. The certified questions arose in a medical malpractice and wrongful death case against the health care providers of a third party whose car collided with the plaintiff’s decedent resulting in death. Plaintiff pursued a medical malpractice claim under the Indiana Medical Malpractice Act against the defendant health care providers alleging that they negligently failed to warn the third-party (their patient) that she should not have driven a car while taking certain prescription medications. Pursuant to the Indiana Medical Malpractice Act, plaintiff settled with a health care provider defendant for that provider’s statutory maximum liability of $250,000 and then sought up to $1,000,000 in “excess damages” from Indiana Patient’s Compensation Fund. The Fund claims it has no liability to pay excess damages because plaintiff’s decedent was not a “patient” under the terms of the Medical Malpractice Act and that it can challenge whether the Medical Malpractice Act even applies to a case after a plaintiff and health care provider defendant settle a medical malpractice case.  The certified questions are: (1) whether the Indiana Medical Malpractice Act prohibits the Patient Compensation Fund from contesting whether the Medical Malpractice Act applies to a case after the plaintiff and a health care provider defendant enter into a court-approved settlement agreement for the provider’s maximum statutory liability and (2) whether the Indiana Medical Malpractice Act applies to claims brought against health care providers by plaintiffs who did not receive medical care from those providers but who are injured as result of a provider’s negligence in treating someone else.

If you have questions about how this might affect your organization, please contact Ms. Stanzione at stanziones@jbltd.com or 219-472-7510.  You also can contact the Johnson & Bell Health Care attorney you regularly work with by clicking here.