Filing a lawsuit for medical malpractice is a complicated matter. Missouri has a two-year time limit (the statute of limitations) to file your lawsuit or ten years after the discovery of a medical malpractice injury. You will also face a high standard to prove your case.
Medical malpractice can include a range of different types of injuries, such as:
- Failing to diagnose
- Misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis
- Prescription errors
- Dangerous drugs
- Birth injuries (both mother and baby)
- Anesthesia errors
- Surgical errors
- Hospital and emergency room errors
- Hospital-acquired (nosocomial) infections
- Defective implants and other medical devices
- Negligence and medical malpractice in relation to a nursing home or other care facility
These are just some of the causes of a medical malpractice claim.If you are planning to file a claim, you may be wondering about the compensation or damages, you may receive at the end. Most cases have a combination of economic and non-economic damages.
Similar to other personal injury cases, a plaintiff can request damages for out-of-pocket expenses such as:
- Medical expenses, past, and future
- Loss of income, past, and future, if applicable
As the name describes, the intent is to compensate the plaintiff for losses incurred after an occurrence of malpractice.
Limits On Non-Economic Damages
Missouri Revised Statutes section 538.210.1 only allows a plaintiff to recover $442,574 in 2021 for non-economic damages in a medical malpractice case. The amount rises to $774,504 if wrongful death or “catastrophic personal injury” is involved. The amounts increase every year.Non-economic damages are those that aren’t out-of-pocket, and can include:
- Pain and suffering
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Stress and Anxiety
- Loss of enjoyment of life
These amounts vary among plaintiffs because they aren’t easy to determine.
Although it can happen, punitive damages—awarded for “punishment” of the defendant—are rare. Punitive damages are also intended to serve as a warning for others who would act out of negligence that leads to injuries. They are also called “exemplary damages” in Missouri.The state of Missouri does allow for punitive damages but also places a limit on how much you can receive.With the passing and signing of Missouri SB 591 by Governor Parsons in 2020, the standards are much higher proving the defendant’s negligence for any type of punitive damages.Since Missouri is also a “split-recovery” state, a plaintiff will only collect half of any punitive damages awarded by a judge.
Proving A Claim Of Medical Malpractice
There are three elements to a successful claim:
- Duty of care, in which a physician agrees to treat a patient, and their actions are compared to what any doctor would do in the same circumstances
- Breach of duty of care, in which the physician in question fails to provide care (i.e., X-rays, blood testing), causing injury or additional suffering to the patient as a result
- Injury and causation, the doctor’s negligence and breach of care directly caused the patient’s harm, such as a condition that worsens or becomes increasingly harmful
All three of these elements must be positively proven, and that the care or lack thereof was a proximate cause of your injuries. It isn’t enough to state that your condition didn’t improve after being treated by a physician.
KC’s Medical Malpractice Law Firm
The Popham Law Firm represents people who have been victims of medical malpractice and need help getting compensation for their injuries. Our goal is to help those who have been hurt by negligent medical professionals and obtain the best outcome possible for them.Contact Kansas City’s most trusted medical malpractice and personal injury lawyers today for a free consultation. Remember, we don’t ask you for lawyer fees until you win your case. Call us now at (816) 221-2288 or visit our downtown office.