December 10, 2017

Indiana Increases Cap on Medical Malpractice Payouts

Lawmakers in Indiana have approved a bill to raise a cap on medical malpractice suits. Previously, the maximum anyone could gain from suing for medical malpractice was $1.25 million. The new cap increases the amount to $1.8 million. This allows people to be awarded $550,000 more than before. The cap hasn’t been raised since 1999, meaning it has been over 15 years. Economic changes since that time have played a role in the reason for the increase. It will rise to $1.65 million in 2017 before reaching the full amount in 2019.

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Picture sourced from Pixabay

The bill was unanimously voted through by the Republican-controlled Senate. However, many feel that it doesn’t go far enough. Legislative leaders in the state were worried that the proposed new cap was too low. They thought it might be ruled so low as to be unconstitutional and unfair to plaintiffs. This has happened in several other states, so they were understandably concerned. The cap is still low when compared to some other states, according to Senator Brent Steele. His initial proposal was for the cap to be raised each year for the next four years.

Opposition to this type of legislation comes from doctors and other medical practitioners. The Indiana State Medical Association was strongly opposed to Sen. Steele’s initial proposal. The incremental increases to the cap did not appeal. A second suggestion to increase the amount allowed to $2.25 million by 2031 was raised. It also received pushback from doctors and failed to gain approval. Steele’s argument is that the costs of healthcare are rising, and it’s essential for the cap to take that into accord. If it doesn’t, it is in danger of being unconstitutional.

Medical malpractice is a complicated issue. It is sometimes easy to find answers to other legal matters without a lawyer. However, it’s not something you can risk with medical malpractice. Law firms such as New York’s Rothenberg Law Firm LLP are essential to help people. While medical professionals may object to some legislation, it is necessary to have a system that protects patients. Medical costs in the USA are some of the highest in the world. Not only that, but the American health care system often ranks far below other countries. In a World Health Organization report in 2000, the USA came in at 31. That’s below many European countries, Japan, and even Colombia.

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Picture sourced from pexels.com

Adequate protection for patients is essential, so the rise in the medical malpractice cap in Indiana is welcomed by many. However, the bill is very much a compromise between legislators and medical bodies. The bill was Sen. Steele’s last before he retires this year. VP of the Indiana Hospitals Association says the changes are “modest”. He also said “strike that balance between the interests of patients and providers”. He suggested that the bill would make Indiana an attractive place for practicing medicine.

With even some medical professionals agreeing that the cap could be raised further, more changes could come soon. Until that happens, it will be several years before the cap is increased to the full $1.8 million allowance.

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