Noneconomic damage cap overturned in Missouri

Since 1992, Missouri has had a cap on the amount of noneconomic damages a person can recover following a medical malpractice accident. This cap was set at a maximum of $350,000 in noneconomic damages.

Last Tuesday, however, the Missouri Supreme Court overturned this ruling and removed the damage cap for these types of cases. The case that brought about this decision was one involving a child who suffered a birth injury due to medical negligence. The mother of the infant sued the hospital where her child was delivered.

The jury in this medical malpractice case awarded the woman $1.45 million in noneconomic damages, which includes pain and suffering, mental anguish, and emotional harm. Because this amount was supposed to be capped at $350,000, the woman’s lawyers fought this limit, claiming that the damage cap was unconstitutional.

The Supreme Court voted on the matter, and the 4-3 decision favored the removal of the cap. The jury in a malpractice case will now be solely responsible for determining the amount of noneconomic damages in a medical malpractice lawsuit.