Caps on medical malpractice lawsuits win OK from Missouri house panel

Posted by Dave Berry

By Marie French

JEFFERSON CITY • A House committee on Wednesday endorsed legislation to cap some awards in medical malpractice cases.

The measures would limit non-economic damages for medical malpractice lawsuits to $350,000. That limit would not apply to economic damages such as lost wages or hospital bills.

Supporters say the legislation is necessary to keep medical malpractice insurance premiums from soaring and potentially driving doctors out of the state, or at least making it more difficult for them to stay in business.

Opponents say the limit could let bad doctors off the hook.

Rep. Bill White, R-Joplin, said unlimited awards for medical malpractice increase insurance premiums for hospitals and doctors, raise the cost of medical care and make it more difficult to recruit doctors in high-risk specialties such as neurosurgery. He said non-economic damages could be extremely arbitrary. The economic damages would be unchanged.

Source: St. Louis Post Dispatch

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