A state Senator and House member from Springfield have filed medical malpractice bills for the 2014 legislative session that would reinstate caps on non-economic damages and make it harder to win those damages, which is similar to legislation rejected at this year’s session.
House Bill 1173, filed by Rep. Eric Burlison, reinstates a $350,000 cap on non-economic damages. Caps on damages were struck down by the Missouri Supreme Court in 2012, which found that the limits violated the common-law rights of Missourians to sue for damages. Burlison’s bill creates a statutory cause of action so that malpractice suits are no longer considered under common law.
Burlison argues the medical community is now fearful that unlimited damages will drive up malpractice insurance premiums. He said it is the volume of lawsuits, not necessarily the amount of the awards, that pose a challenge to doctors.