Missouri lawmakers plotting medical malpractice cap reinstatement

As 2013 winds down, Missouri lawmakers are laying plans for what they hope to accomplish in the new year. For some legislators, a top priority is to help protect the medical industry in cases of medical malpractice, when patients are injured by a negligent doctor, nurse or hospital staff.

Missouri House Speaker Tim Jones has said creating limits on compensation in medical malpractice lawsuits is a top priority in 2014.

Jones and like-minded lawmakers hope to put back in the place the $350,000 cap on noneconomic damages that was struck down by our state's Supreme Court back in July of last year.

The court ruled at that time that the cap violated a right to seek damages for medical malpractice; a right that predates the Missouri constitution adopted in 1820.

The cap was designed to limit compensation for pain and suffering for victims of doctor or hospital negligence. You might recall the widely reported case that made its way to the high court in which a woman sued on behalf of her son, who sustained severe brain injuries during his birth.

The jury decided the boy should receive $5 million, but that amount was reduced by the cap-law to $350,000. However, the Supreme Court in striking down the cap said the boy "will receive the benefit of the jury's award for future medical care."

Lawmakers hope to get around the court's ruling in that case by doing away with the common-law right and making medical malpractice lawsuits subject to Missouri law.

A similar effort to protect the medical industry came to a standstill in the Senate earlier this year.

For those harmed by a negligent doctor, an experienced medical malpractice attorney can help victims pursue full and fair compensation for damages.

Source: Kansas City Star, "Missouri lawmakers will try to limit medical lawsuits," Dec. 16, 2013



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