Missouri Medical Malpractice Law
When you visit the doctor or have to go to the hospital, you expect that the care you receive will help you return to health. A study by the Journal of Patient Safety, however, found that approximately 440,000 patients die each year because of preventable medical errors. This number means that medical mistakes are a significant cause of death in the United States, coming in just behind cancer and heart disease.
Missouri Medical Malpractice Law at a Glance
- Statute of Limitations – In general, medical malpractice lawsuits must be filed within two years (three years in the case of wrongful death). Different rules exist for minors or those who discover malpractice at a later date. For example, children can file a case within either two years of their 18th birthday or ten years, whichever is later.
- Affidavit – In Missouri, when you file a medical malpractice lawsuit you must have an affidavit signed by a physician or other medical expert stating that the care you received did not live up to the care one would expect from a reasonably prudent doctor under similar circumstances. The Affidavit must be filed within 90 days or your lawsuit may be dismissed.
- Damage Cap – Missouri previously limited the amount of money medical malpractice victims could recover for pain and suffering. However, in 2012, the Missouri Supreme Court struck down the law as unconstitutional finding that limits on pain and suffering damages violated your right to a trial by jury.
- Joint Damages – In Missouri, when multiple healthcare providers are sued, the jury assesses the responsibility of the medical professionals in order to determine each person's percentage of fault in causing the injury. If a medical professional is found to be more than 50 percent responsible for the error, they can be ordered to pay 100 percent of the damages. If they were less than 50 percent responsible, they are responsible only for the percent of fault assigned to them. In other words, if a doctor or hospital is found to be 30 percent responsible neither can be forced to pay more than 30 percent of the total damages.
Medical malpractice claims are complex. If you have been injured or lost a family member due to the errors of a medical professional, please contact The Hamilton Law Firm.