Missouri Supreme Court deals a blow to medical malpractice victims

| Sep 17, 2021 | Personal Injury

How much is your good health actually worth? While no amount of money can truly compensate someone for a devastating medical malpractice injury, the money you can receive as part of a claim can go a long way toward providing for your future needs.

Well, back in 2015, the Missouri General Assembly enacted a new law that put caps on non-economic damages for a regular personal injury at $400,000, while non-economic damages for a catastrophic injury were capped at $700,000. There have been legal battles over the constitutionality of the law ever since.

Missouri’s highest court weighs in — and the verdict isn’t good

The state Supreme Court ruled that the damage caps are constitutional and enforceable. This is in sharp contrast to its ruling nine years ago that a similar law was not. The difference, per the court’s majority opinion, is that the new law repealed previous common law associated with “medical negligence actions.”

The Missouri Association of Trial Attorneys blasted the decision, saying that it “eviscerates Missouri’s constitutional protection” for plaintiffs and basically allows the legislature to change the rules any way they see fit, whenever they see fit.

In practical terms, this means that plaintiffs will still be able to sue for whatever economic damages they have. Still, juries are limited in how much they can award for less easily quantified losses, like disfigurement, loss of enjoyment of life and pain and suffering. 

It’s difficult to watch the rights of badly injured plaintiffs being chipped away by legislative action. This news will force medical malpractice plaintiffs to work extra hard to ensure that their cases receive the consideration they deserve.


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