Missouri’s medical malpractice basics
Many people hear about references to medical malpractice but understanding exactly what constitutes such a case. Additionally, there can be confusion about what the laws surrounding malpractice claims are in Missouri and how best to handle a potential case of negligence on the part of a medical professional or facility.
How is medical malpractice defined by law?
There is a generally accepted standard of care that medical professionals agree upon for any given procedure or situation. From a legal perspective, anything that can be construed as a deviation from this standard of care can be classified as medical malpractice.
Certainly there is some subjectivity in that definition and it is upon that basis that many such claims or lawsuits are argued and the outcomes ultimately determined. Deviating from care standards can happen in a multitude of situations such as surgeries, routine examinations, interpretation of test results, diagnosing or failure to diagnose and more.
What is the Missouri statute of limitations?
The state of Missouri identifies different timelines during which malpractice cases are allowed to be filed. There is a primary rule and some exceptions, as follows:
- Most cases must be filed within two years from the date of the event or injury.
- When test results were not properly explained to patients, this two-year time period begins when the error is first discovered.
- Similarly, the two-year statute begins to run when a foreign object left inside a person's body is first found.
- For cases involving injuries to minors, claims must be filed either within 10 years of the date of injury or by the time the patient turns 20, whichever date is later.
People who believe they are the victim of a medical error should take action as soon as they suspect a problem to avoid losing the possibility for compensation due to missing these windows.
No damage caps in Missouri
Many states in the nation have limits on the amount of awards that can be given for punitive damages in medical malpractice cases. Missouri used to have such limits but revoked them in 2012.
Additionally, the state has what is called a shared responsibility law in which multiple providers can be found at fault for a certain percent of an injury. The amount each may have to pay can vary depending upon the ultimate breakdown of fault percentages.
Secure the best legal help
The delicate nature of medical errors makes the need for proper legal representation critical. It is important that anyone facing such a claim work with an experienced attorney to ensure the best outcome and professional handling of the situation.