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Understanding the Medical Malpractice Damage Cap in Indiana

| Jul 21, 2022 | Medical Malpractice, Personal Injury

Did you know that if you are injured while receiving medical treatment in Indiana, compensation can be significantly limited in your case? Indiana has had a damage award cap for many years. Doctors and the insurance providers rendering care their malpractice coverage have been able to reduce damages to very small amounts, with only a small portion of the claim being paid by either party. The award cap in Indiana on medical malpractice awards has been limited for many years. Many people felt it was fair and just legislation when it was enacted. because it protected doctors, patients, and their loved ones. In recent years, however, there has been a growing sentiment that the damage cap hasn’t provided justice for some victims. There are instances of gross negligence where some injured parties felt the system let them down.

Medical Malpractice History and Damage Limits

The damage cap was put into place in 1975, with Indiana leading the way. Over the years, 34 other states have joined Indiana and put in awards caps to prevent enormous punitive damages in cases. When the damage cap was first enacted, doctors and patients could see the law’s benefits. The state also created the Patient’s Compensation Fund (PCF), which is underwritten by a fee added to malpractice insurance in Indiana. The PCF covers some of the expenses of larger claims in malpractice cases using the fees excised from the insurance policies carried by physicians and hospitals.

The medical malpractice damage cap has been raised over the last five years. The maximum award was set at $1.25 million for many years, and in 2017 it was increased to $1.65 million. In 2019, the damage cap was increased again to $1.8 million. Doctors contribute $500,000 per claim to any award, and the PCF covers the remaining amount. Legal fees for attorneys are capped at 32% of the award total.

Is it Time to Sunset the Damage Cap?

Given the need to raise limits over the past several years, many argue the system is no longer fair to victims. There is also concern it’s not enough of a deterrent to negligent doctors because it only requires them to pay such a relatively small percentage of the overall claim. Many victims worry the damage cap doesn’t reflect the severity of some cases and the subsequent costs of caring for severely injured parties. Some states have ruled damage caps unconstitutional, forcing those with caps in place to wonder what’s next.

Medical Malpractice Attorneys at Hovde Dassow and Deets LLC

Medical malpractice claims can be extremely complex cases to take to court, and if you don’t have an experienced legal team, you could run into problems and delays. Finding an attorney you can trust with your case is imperative. Contact our Indianapolis medical malpractice attorneys to schedule a consultation to review the details of your case. Call 888-229-1778 or connect online using our contact form.