SB 101 – Wrongful Death Damages
Authored by Sen Mike Bohacek (R-Michigan City)
Increases the aggregate damages cap for a wrongful death action from $300,000 to $700,000.
Chamber position: Oppose
The latest: The bill passed the Senate Judiciary Committee 7-3. Had two senators who are generally business friendly voted against it, the bill would have stalled 5-5.
Indiana Chamber action/commentary: No surprise: The Indiana Trial Lawyers Association strongly supported the bill. The Chamber joined the Indiana State Medical Association, the Indiana Health Care Association and the Insurance Institute of Indiana in opposition to the bill because it more than doubles the cap on wrongful death actions. After all, the business community pays for any liability premium increase due to the underwriting of this risk.
This legislation jeopardizes the Medical Malpractice Act, which impacts surcharges and premiums along with impacting the patient compensation fund.
It was clear that most of the senators thought it was time to increase the cap since it was enacted in 1999. Senator Mike Young (R-Speedway) emphasized to the opponents that if we did not find a reasonable increase that he would be forced to vote for the $700,000 increase on the Senate floor. The Chamber and other opponents will be working to find a potential solution and strategy to keep Sen. Young’s scenario from happening.