Kansas closer to raising limits on lawsuit damages

Kansas Chamber of Commerce President CEO Mike O'Neal, center, confers with Kansas Medical Society lobbyist Jerry Slaughter, right, as another society lobbyist, Rachelle Colombo, left, follows a House committee hearing, Monday, March 17, 2014, at the Statehouse in Topeka, Kan. The committee is considering a bill favored by the chamber and the society to rewrite evidence rules and raise the limit on some damages in lawsuits. (AP Photo/John Hanna)

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas House committee has endorsed legislation allowing higher monetary damages in personal injury lawsuits while revising the rules of evidence in such cases.

Tuesday’s voice vote by the Commerce, Labor and Economic Committee sent the Senate-passed measure to the full House for debate.

It would increase the state’s $250,000 limit on non-economic damages such as pain and suffering to $300,000 in July and to $350,000 by July 2022.

The change is a response to a 2012 Kansas Supreme Court ruling in a medical malpractice lawsuit. The court upheld the current limit but said it was troubled that it hadn’t been adjusted for inflation since 1988.

The bill also could narrow the use of expert testimony, and allow juries to be told that a plaintiff has received an insurance settlement.

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