Medical Malpractice law in Missouri follows the doctrine of pure comparative negligence, and has rigorous requirements for establishing vicarious liability.
Any medical malpractice action must be brought within two years of the occurrence of the alleged malpractice, according to Mississippi law. If the claim involves a foreign object, the claimant is allowed two years from discovery to bring an action, but no more than ten years from the date of the alleged act. A minor under the age of ten has until his or her twelfth birthday to bring action. Wrongful death must be brought within three years of the death in question.
|Missouri State Tort Law|
|Statute of Limitations||Two years from date of original injury or in the case of a foreign object, 2 years from date of discovery
|Damage Award Limits||Limit for noneconomic damages adjusted annually, currently around $565,000
|Joint Defendant Liability||Proportionate liability for defendants|
|Expert Witness||Expert affidavit must be filed within 90 of start of claim
|Attorney Fees||No limits on attorneys fees|
Missouri's Supreme Court adopted the pure form of comparative negligence in 1983. The doctrine states that the claimant's contributory fault does not bar recovery, but will diminish damages in proportion to their degree of fault.
Where fault is apportioned, Missouri courts will enter judgment against each liable party according to the rules of joint and several liability. Any defendant who faces paying damages is jointly and severally liable only with those defendants whose percentage of fault is equal to, or less than, his or her own. Joint tortfeasors in Missouri have a right to contribution.
In Missouri, a patient's belief that an emergency room physician is an employee of the hospital is insufficient to subject the hospital to vicarious liability. Several factors are considered when establishing a Missouri hospital's vicarious liability: whether the physician gets paid directly by the hospital or bills the patients directly; whether the physician has an office there, and many other factors.
The claimant has to file an affidavit with the court verifying that a legally qualified health care provider rendered the opinion that the defendant caused or contributed to the claimant's damages. This must happen within 90 days of filing.
A claimant in Missouri is limited to approximately $500,000 in non-economic damages, adjusted annually to inflation by the director of the Division of Insurance.
The state and its political subdivisions are immune by the doctrine of sovereign immunity. It odes not extend to state employees, including individual doctors and nurses, who may be sued. State employees may purchase up to liability insurance. Their immunity for punitive damages remains intact.
Missouri law does not require arbitration in cases of medical malpractice.