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Indiana’s Cap on Medical Malpractice Awards Could Increase

There has been a lot of activity among state officials to pass legislation that may increase Indiana’s $1.25 million limit on awards in medical malpractice cases. This happens at a time when medical errors continue to rise. The proposal recommends raising the limit by $400,000.

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The Associated Press has reported that “The discussions came as data from the Indiana State Department of Health showed a record high number of medical errors. The ISDH found 114 preventable adverse medical incidents in hospitals and health care facilities in 2014 – three more than in any of the eight years since the agency started gathering statistics. Errors have topped 100 in seven of nine years, with the previous high 111 errors in 2013.”

Recently Florida became the 8th state to rule that caps on malpractice damages are, in fact, unconstitutional and can “create devastating costs for those severely injured.”

The current cap has not changed in Indiana since it was first put in place in 1999.

Indiana hospitals are not all against it. The Indiana Hospital Association, in fact, is supporting the increase. In addition to fundamental fairness, hospitals are concerned about a constitutional challenge that could overturn caps in the 1975 Medical Malpractice Act.

Many other health care providers oppose the change, however, expressing concern that these increases would be passed along to medical providers and cause costs to rise by a significant margin and could diminish access to care.

The Interim Study Committee on Courts and the Judiciary continues to discuss the issue.

Supporters express hope that the parties involved will soon reach an agreement and that it will be included in legislation upon the return of the General Assembly in January.