Every state in the U.S. has its own set of laws for handling different kinds of personal injury claims. Missouri is no different. One of the most over-regulated forms of personal injury lawsuits is a medical malpractice lawsuit. There are those who believe that “junk” lawsuits against doctors are one of the main culprits driving up the cost of health care in the U.S. While this is largely untrue, the legislation protects doctors and the hospitals they work at in several ways. Below, we’ll discuss how Missouri medical malpractice cases work.
Statute of Limitations on Medical Malpractice Lawsuits
If you believe that you have a case against a negligent doctor who provided substandard care, it’s important that you file the case as soon as possible. Under Missouri law, you only have two years from the date of the incident to file a claim in court. In some cases, the two years can be “tolled,” meaning that the start date is pushed back.
For instance, if you only became aware of the problem two years after the date of your surgery, you can probably argue that the statute of limitations should have begun ticking down later. Two situations that are explicitly mentioned by statute are the negligent leaving of a foreign instrument or object within the body of a patient or the failure to inform a patient about their test results.
It is also assumed that, regardless of your condition, you should become aware of the problem within 10 years of the surgery. The so-called statute of repose limits all medical malpractice claims to 10 years. The only exception to this is if the patient was a minor. The patient would then have until their 20th birthday to file a lawsuit against the negligent doctor.
Affidavit of a Qualified Health Care Professional
Missouri requires that in any medical malpractice lawsuit, the plaintiff’s attorney must file a document showing that a qualified health care provider found reasonable cause to believe that a doctor, in performing their duties, failed the prevailing standard of care in the field. They must also attest to the fact that this failure resulted in some injuries to the plaintiff.
Damage Caps in Medical Malpractice Lawsuits
The damage caps in Missouri only apply to damages related to pain and suffering or “noneconomic” damages. Plaintiffs may pursue an unlimited amount of damages related to future medical care or loss of earnings. Noneconomic damages are capped at $400,000 for an average case and $700,000 in the event of a wrongful death or catastrophic injury.
While such laws have been ruled unconstitutional in other states, these laws remain on the books in Missouri and will stay there for the time being unless they are challenged.
Talk to a Kansas City, MO Medical Malpractice Attorney Today
The Krause and Kinsman Law Firm helps those who have been injured by negligent doctors recover damages related to their injuries. These injuries often include life-altering catastrophic injuries that severely compromise the patient’s ability to continue their employment. Talk to us today and we will ensure that you get every dime you’re owed under the law.
Adam Krause is a personal injury, mass tort, business litigation, and employment discrimination attorney who practices in Kansas City, Missouri. He graduated from the University of Missouri Kansas City School of Law and has been practicing law for several years now. Adam Krause has made a career of taking complicated litigation and presenting it in the most elementary terms for a jury of your peers to understand. Learn more about his experience here.