Committee advances bill raising non-panel limit in medical malpractice claims

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Medical malpractice claims of up to $50,000 would go directly to court under a proposal that cleared an Indiana Senate committee Wednesday.

Senate Bill 55 would raise the dollar amount of malpractice claims exempt from the medical review panel process from the longtime limit of $15,000.  

Neither advocates nor opponents of raising the limit who testified Wednesday were pleased with the compromise that advanced from the committee on an 8-1 vote. Author Sen. Brent Steele, R-Bedford, had written the legislation to allow claims of up to $187,500 to skip the medical review panel process enacted in 1975.

The Senate Judiciary Committee settled on an amendment from Sen. Susan Glick, R-LaGrange, to raise the limit to $50,000. Glick’s amendment passed after the committee narrowly voted down a proposed amendment from Sen. Greg Taylor, D-Indianapolis, that would have set the limit at $105,000.

Taylor tied his proposed figure to the rise in the medical consumer price index since the $15,000 limit was enacted. Glick said she would support no increase above $50,000, closer to the rise in the overall consumer price index.

Some senators who favor a greater increase in medical malpractice claims that can go directly to court said they were voting the measure out of committee in order to seek a higher limit when the bill is heard on the Senate floor.

Read more on this issue in the Jan. 28 print edition of the Indiana Lawyer.

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