Following three years of unlimited payouts, medical malpractice lawsuit caps have been restored in Missouri. With the governor’s signature on a compromise bill, Missouri has taken a positive step toward protecting our state’s medical provider community.
In 2012, the Missouri Supreme Court released a decision that abolished Missouri’s previous medical lawsuit caps. An uncapped malpractice litigation environment leads to higher medical malpractice insurance costs for all physicians, making Missouri a less appealing place to practice medicine.
Senate Bill 239 fixes this problem. The bill was sponsored by Sen. Dan Brown, a Republican from Rolla, and places a $400,000 cap on noneconomic damage awards in medical malpractice cases. For catastrophic and wrongful death cases, the cap would be $700,000. The proposal received bipartisan support.
For any enterprise, cost of doing business is a major factor in deciding where to locate. Missouri’s uncapped malpractice litigation system has led to rising insurance costs for our physicians, harming Missouri’s ability to offer a competitive environment to attract medical clinicians,” said Daniel P. Mehan, Missouri Chamber president and CEO. “Ever since the injudicious Supreme Court ruling in 2012, Missouri’s uncapped malpractice system has been a critical issue. I’d like to thank our elected leaders for finding a compromise and finally resolving this problem.”
Under the law, the new caps will increase by 1.7 percent each year. The bill was handled in the House by Rep. Eric Burlison, a Republican from Springfield.