Indiana Medical Malpractice Insurance Rates Threatened by Courts

side note: Since 1975, capping non-economic (pain and suffering) damages in medical malpractice lawsuits has been considered the Gold Standard of effective tort reforms. There is gobs of data supporting the conclusion that state’s with non-economic damage caps have considerably lower medical malpractice insurance premiums than states of a comparable size and demographic that do not have non-economic damage caps. If the Indiana cap on non-economic damages is ruled unconstitutional by its court system, expect rates to rise for doctors practicing in the Hoosier state.

A ruling from the Indiana Court of Appeals will allow a Hancock County widower to challenge the constitutionality of the state’s medical malpractice law.
Timothy Plank’s wife Debbie died after he said doctors waited too long to perform intestinal surgery.
“It’s been a living hell to have to go through this all the time,” Plank said. “There were several different mess-ups throughout the chain of events.”

In 2009, a jury awarded Plank $8.5 million, $7.25 million more than the state’s cap on malpractice damages allows, RTV6’s Joanna Massee reported.
Plank’s wife died at Community North hospital. Lynda de Widt, Community North spokeswoman, said officials are still evaluating Plank’s claims.
“On Oct. 25, 2011, the Indiana Court of Appeals issued a preliminary opinion in the Plank matter. Mr. Plank is attempting to challenge the constitutionality of Indiana’s cap on damages in medical malpractice cases. Without addressing the merits of Mr. Plank’s arguments, the Court found he was entitled to an evidentiary hearing regarding the constitutionality of the state’s malpractice cap. We are still evaluating the Court’s ruling and are beginning our preparation for the evidentiary hearing. After this evidentiary hearing, we believe that the appropriate court will uphold the constitutionality of the medical malpractice cap, which has preserved the availability of health care services in Indiana and has served this state well over the last 35 years,” de Widt said.

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