Car Crash Kills Patient Driver, Others; Physician May Have Duty to Warn of Medication Effects in Indiana

June 7, 2022 | Strategic Insights for Ambulatory Care


​The patient of a clinic physician went to pick her vehicle up from a repair shop, accompanied by her adult granddaughter. Before they left the repair shop, the granddaughter saw the patient take two pills from a medicine bottle. As their vehicle approached a red light at an intersection, the patient, who was driving, allegedly said, "I can't stop," and went through the red light. The vehicle collided with another vehicle; the driver of the second vehicle was killed, as was her daughter. The patient also died in the accident, but her granddaughter was uninjured.

The husband of the driver of the second vehicle brought suit for wrongful death because of his wife and daughter's deaths. Suit was brought against the physician, the clinic, and the Indiana Department of Insurance under the Indiana Medical Malpractice Act. Under this latter act, a state patient compensation fund acted as an excess insurer. Physicians had to have malpractice insurance coverage for up to $250,000 and pay a surcharge to fall under the Act's protection. The fund would then pay up to...

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