In our August 1, 2012 blog, we reported on the July 31, 2012 decision (modified on September 25, 2012) of the Supreme Court of Missouri that held “that section 538.210 [Missouri’s $350,000 statutory cap on noneconomic damages] is unconstitutional to the extent that it infringes on the jury’s constitutionally protected purpose of determining the amount of damages sustained by an injured party. Such a limitation was not permitted at common law when Missouri’s constitution first was adopted in 1820 and, therefore, violates the right to trial by jury guaranteed by article I, section 22(a) of the Missouri Constitution.” Source
On March 28, 2013, the Missouri House of Representatives passed House Bill 112 that would over-ride the Missouri Supreme Court’s decision in the Watts case. HB 112 would disavow the common law in Missouri by repealing Section 538.210 and putting in its place a new Section 538.210 that would reinstate Missouri’s $350,000 cap on noneconomic damages in Missouri medical malpractice claims that was found to be unconstitutional in the Watts case.
HB 112 states, in part, “1. A statutory cause of action for damages against a health care provider for personal injury or death arising out of the rendering of or failure to render health services is hereby created, replacing any such common law cause of action. The elements of such cause of action are that the health care provider failed to use that degree of skill and learning ordinarily used under the same or similar circumstances by similarly situated health care providers and that such failure proximately caused injury or death.”
Paragraph 2 of Section 538.210 would read, “In any action against a health care provider for damages for personal injury or death arising out of the rendering of or the failure to render health care services, no plaintiff shall recover more than three hundred fifty thousand dollars for noneconomic damages irrespective of the number of defendants.”
HB 112 now goes to the Missouri Senate for its consideration.
One member of the Missouri House of Representatives issued the following statement regarding the passage of HB 112:
“The bill we approved would replace the common-law right to sue over health care services with a statutory right to sue. The move would address the Supreme Court’s ruling that liability limits violate the common-law rights of Missourians to seek damages for medical malpractice claims. The end result would be a reinstatement of the limits approved by the Missouri General Assembly in 2005. The change is an important one if Missouri hopes to compete for doctors with states like Kansas, which saw its Supreme Court uphold $250,000 damage limits last year.
Reasonable liability limits worked well for years here in Missouri and will work well again. In fact, we have seen where the caps helped reduce the cost of liability insurance for health care providers by more than $44 million over a five-year period. This is a move supported by the entire medical community because it is the fairest way to contain costs while still allowing Missourians to recover damages against doctors who are negligent in their duties.”
We ask the members of the Missouri House of Representatives and its member quoted above the following:
While you proclaim your allegiance to the financial interests of health care providers and “the entire medical community” in Missouri, who stands up for and represents the interests and the rights of the victims of medical malpractice?
Why do you forsake the innocent victims of medical malpractice in Missouri so that careless and negligent physicians and other negligent health care providers in Missouri may save a few dollars on their medical malpractice insurance?
Why do negligent doctors need to be protected by the State of Missouri at the expense of the lives of the victims of medical malpractice and their families in Missouri?
If you or a family member were harmed due to medical malpractice in Missouri or in another U.S. state, you should promptly seek the advice of a Missouri medical malpractice attorney or a medical malpractice attorney in your state who may agree to investigate your medical medical malpractice claim for you and represent you or your family member in a medical malpractice case.
Click here to visit our website or call us toll-free at 800-295-3959 to be connected with Missouri medical malpractice lawyers or medical malpractice lawyers in your state who may be able to assist you and your family with a medical malpractice claim.
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