A bill has been signed by Governor Jay Nixon (D) that enacts limits on non-economic damages patients can pursue against health providers during medical malpractice cases. The new limits apply to amounts awarded for pain and suffering in medical malpractice cases, not on awards for things like missed work or medical expenses. The limits, which will increase 1.7% annually, are $400,000 for non-catastrophic personal injury, $700,000 for catastrophic injury and $700,000 for death.

Gov. Jay Nixon UPI/Bill Greenblatt

Gov. Jay Nixon UPI/Bill Greenblatt

“The bill signing marks a successful completion of a bi-partisan effort to ensure that our healthcare providers can do what they do best: help and heal Missourians in need,” said Nixon. “We needed to devise an approach that would protect patients by making sure that appropriate financial restitution can be sought and garnered in serious cases where there is medical malpractice. Taking this dissonance away and giving cost certainty, while still protecting the rights of folks who are damaged, strikes the right balance.”

Senate bill sponsor Dan Brown (R-Rolla) agrees with the Governor.

“I think this law is just about right for the people of the state of Missouri,” said Brown. “I think this does translate into less healthcare cost, which is what we are all trying to reach.”

House Minority Leader Jake Hummel (D-St. Louis) told Missourinet he’s against every type of malpractice cap.

“I’m fundamentally opposed to putting a dollar figure on someone’s life. That’s why we have courts, that’s why we have a jury, and they should decide that,” said Hummel. “Not bureaucrats in Jefferson City.”