ARTIFICIAL LIMITS ON RECOVERY IN MEDICAL MALPRACTICE CASES

MISSOURI AND KANSAS

Both Missouri and Kansas have adopted statutes (laws) that limit the amount of non-economic damages a victim of medical malpractice is allowed to recover. Non-economic damages are those intended to compensate a person for their past and future pain and suffering, what they have been through and may continue to go through as well as the alteration of their lifestyle due to the medical malpractice they have suffered. Regardless of the nature and extent of the injuries they have suffered or how poor their ultimate result, $250,000.00 is the maximum amount recoverable for such damages in Kansas. In Missouri, while the non-economic damages cap is significantly higher, tied to inflation and adjusted annually, it still serves to artificially limit the amount a medical malpractice victim can recover for his or her damages. Although there is no limitation on recovery for economic damages involving medical bills and wage loss, these caps adopted by the Missouri and Kansas legislatures artificially protect negligent doctors and hospitals at the expense of the seriously injured medical malpractice victim. 

As medical costs continue to skyrocket, more and more victims of medical malpractice are impacted by the Missouri and Kansas arbitrary limits. The caps leave malpractice victims and their families with the bill for the incompetence of their medical providers and this is patently unfair.

While such caps are generally created by the legislatures with a goal to protect medical providers from unreasonably high medical malpractice insurance premiums, many studies have shown that shown that damage caps have no significant impact on these insurance premiums. Nevertheless, the courts have upheld the constitutionality of these caps. While individuals who have sustained injuries with moderate noneconomic damages can still obtain a full recovery in Missouri and Kansas, those who are catastrophically injured due to medical malpractice, those who are in the greatest need due to the negligence of their medical providers, are faced with the real possibility of being severely under compensated for their injuries. The artificial limits “solution” does nothing but put the burden on those who have been the most seriously injured by their physicians and other healthcare providers. 

Another cost of the artificial limits “solution” is paid by Missouri and Kansas taxpayers, since artificial damage caps can result in increased litigation costs. Medical malpractice victims are less likely to receive a fair settlement offer to compensate them for their injuries and damages when the insurance companies are aware that artificial caps will limit their exposure if the case goes to trial. As a result, not as many cases get settled and more injured parties must file a lawsuit and proceed to trial in cases that otherwise might have settled. 

Do You Think You May Have A Medical Malpractice Claim?

If you believe you may have a medical malpractice claim you need to speak with an experienced medical malpractice attorney. Please contact us online or call our Kansas City office directly at 816.471.5111 to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.

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James Roswold
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James Roswold is a Kansas & Missouri personal injury, workers comp, and medical malpractice attorney.