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