Missouri Senate passes medical malpractice lawsuit limits

It looks like there is compromise legislation in the Missouri General Assembly that will lead to the reinstatement of some caps on medical malpractice lawsuit awards.

The Missouri Senate this week gave final approval to Senate Bill 239, which will limit non-economic damages in medical malpractice lawsuits. The compromise will reinstate caps that were thrown out by the Missouri Supreme Court nearly three years ago.

The new legislation limits awards for pain and suffering in most personal injury cases arising from medical procedures to $400,000.

In catastrophic injuries, the limit would be $700,000. The measure also would raise the existing cap on wrongful death cases from $350,000 to $700,000.

Supporters say without caps, doctors will leave the state due to higher medical malpractice insurance costs.

The bill passed a final vote in the Senate by a 28-2 margin and now heads for the House which passed similar legislation earlier this session.