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Panel sets hearing on medical malpractice caps

September 8, 2015

A General Assembly panel this week will study whether caps on damages in Indiana’s medical malpractice statute should be changed.

The Interim Study Committee on Courts and the Judiciary has placed the issue on its agenda  for 1 p.m. Thursday in Room 130 of the Statehouse.

The panel will hear a presentation regarding caps on damages from the Department of Insurance before hearing from groups favoring and opposing changing the caps.

Hoosiers cannot recover more than $1.25 million in damages as a result of medical malpractice under current law. Some plaintiff’s and defense attorneys say it may be time to raise the cap level, which has been in place since 1999.  

Lawmakers this year introduced a couple of bills that would have either raised caps on medical malpractice claims or increased the threshold amount under which those suits could bypass medical review panels. Those bills cleared committees but were defeated in their houses of origin.

Under current medical malpractice law, insurers’ liability is limited to $250,000, and damages in excess of that amount are paid from the Indiana Patient Compensation Fund, up to a total of $1.25 million. One bill introduced this year would have raised the total cap on damages to $1.65 million and increased insurer liability to $300,000.

Another proposal would have increased the threshold under which medical malpractice claims may bypass medical review panels. Any claim in excess of $15,000 must go through the review panel process before a lawsuit may be filed, according to statute.

 

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