Indiana Lawyer Website Tries to Predict the Future of the Medical Malpractice Act in Indiana
Here in Indiana, we have seen significant changes to the Medical Malpractice Act in the past year or so. Indiana law has been unkind to medical malpractice victims since 1975. In fact, Indiana was the first state in the nation to enact medical malpractice tort reform with "hard caps" on damages, Medical Review Panels, and a state-operated excess fund for high-value cases. However, during the 2016 session of the Indiana General Assembly, the Legislature voted to increase the damage caps effective July 1, 2017. The new caps will also increase from $1.65 million in 2017 to $1.8 million effective July 2019. The Indiana Lawyer website also looked to the future to predict other changes to the Indiana Medical Malpractice Act.
According to the Indiana Lawyer website, the recent amendments to the Medical Malpractice Act “will undoubtedly increase the number of total claims.” The website reasons that because of the increase in caps “plaintiff attorneys now have more incentive to accept malpractice cases because of the increased financial rewards of accepting new cases” and also “malpractice insurance premiums for each medical provider are also likely to increase because the proportion of the damage cap covered by each provider will increase”
The second prediction by the Indiana Lawyer is that the Act will likely be subject to constitutional challenges. The Indiana Supreme Court most recently discussed the constitutionality of the Medical Malpractice Act in a 2013 case. In that case, the Court failed to directly rule on the constitutionality but explained that a determination of constitutionality can be revisited in the future. The Court also stated that the challenging party has the burden to prove that changes in circumstances (social and economic factors) require reversal of existing law in light of changes in social or economic conditions.