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Covering state lawmakers, bills, and policy emerging from Jefferson City.

Medical Malpractice Limits Bill Returns for 2014 Session

Rep. Eric Burlison/Credit: Facebook

Republican State Rep. Eric Burlison is again seeking to restore caps on damages awarded in medical malpractice lawsuits. KSMU’s Scott Harvey reports.

The Springfield lawmaker has pre-filed a bill that would restore the $350,000 cap. A similar bill was passed by the Missouri House during the 2013 regular session but died in the Senate.

“Without these reasonable limits, patients in Missouri are gonna continue to pay higher medical bills just to cover the costs of these frivolous lawsuits,” Burlison said.

Lawmakers passed legislation in 2005 that capped non-economic damages at $350,000, but that limit was ruled unconstitutional by the State Supreme Court in 2012. 

Burlison says the medical community fears limitless damages will drive up malpractice insurance premiums and force many doctors out of the state. Critics say the non-economic damage limit is not enough for victims of medical mistakes. 

Burlison’s bill would replace the common-law right to sue over health care services with a statutory right to sue.

The General Assembly will convene for the 2014 legislation session on Jan. 8.

Marshall Griffin contributed to this report.