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Missouri Governor signs measure into law capping medical malpractice damages

The state’s governor has signed into law a measure capping medical malpractice damage awards.

05/14/2015 // JusticeNewsFlash // (press release)

Missouri – Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has signed a bill into law that caps the amount awarded for damages in medical malpractice claims. According to a report by the Insurance Journal, the action comes after the Supreme Court of the state struck down comparable limitations as unconstitutional.

Nixon said of the measure in a statement “This bipartisan legislation protects patients by making sure that significant financial restitution can be sought in cases of medical malpractice, while also helping to attract and retain health care providers in our state.”

In accordance with the limits set forth in the measure, noneconomic damages would be capped at $400,000 in a majority of medical malpractice cases. Economic damages; however, such as medical expenses resulting from injury, would not be restricted in the same way.

In cases defined by the measure as “catastrophic” the cap would be $700,000. The existing cap of $350,000 for wrongful death cases also doubles to $700,000.

Opponents of the imposed limits have argued that such a bill can be hurtful to patients and allow healthcare practitioners who have repetatively damaged patients to continue to practice without facing adequate consequences.

House Minority Leader Rep. Jacob Hummel, D-St. Louis, has stated in opposition of caps, “I don’t think you should put a dollar figure on a person’s life.”

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