In Missouri, a person who was hurt by medical error or negligence can file a lawsuit against the healthcare professional that was responsible, including, doctors, nurses, surgeons, dentists, psychiatrists, chiropractors, therapists, etc.
But Missouri has restrictions on the types of medical negligence claims that can be made, the timeframe within which all legal claims must be made, and the amount of recovery victims of malpractice can obtain. And Missouri law is changing.
Timing limitations for medmal cases in MO:
There is a strict limitation on the time period for when you can file a claim for medical negligence in Missouri. This is called the “statute of limitations.”
For adults in Missouri generally, suits must be filed within 2 years of the act of negligence:
RSMo §516.105. Actions against health care providers (medical malpractice).
All actions against physicians, hospitals, dentists, registered or licensed practical nurses, optometrists, podiatrists, pharmacists, chiropractors, professional physical therapists, and any other entity providing health care services and all employees of any of the foregoing acting in the course and scope of their employment, for damages for malpractice, negligence, error or mistake related to health care shall be brought within two years from the date of occurrence of the act of neglect complained of…
For children, the time period within which you can file a medical negligence suit is generally a bit longer (note that, depending on the circumstances and facts of the case, this timing may differ).
Statute of Limitations in Missouri for Medical Negligence cases:
For children, the statute of limitations in Missouri runs when the child reaches age twenty:
RSMo §516.105(3): In cases in which the person bringing the action is a minor less than eighteen years of age, such minor shall have until his or her twentieth birthday to bring such action. In no event shall any action for damages for malpractice, error, or mistake be commenced after the expiration of ten years from the date of the act of neglect complained of or for two years from a minor's eighteenth birthday, whichever is later…
And for instances when foreign objects are left in a patient’s body after surgery or when a doctor fails to inform a patient of important medical test results, there may be still more exceptions or limitations on the timing requirements. See RSMo § 516.105 (1) and (2):
(1) In cases in which the act of neglect complained of is introducing and negligently permitting any foreign object to remain within the body of a living person, the action shall be brought within two years from the date of the discovery of such alleged negligence, or from the date on which the patient in the exercise of ordinary care should have discovered such alleged negligence, whichever date first occurs; and
(2) In cases in which the act of neglect complained of is the negligent failure to inform the patient of the results of medical tests, the action for failure to inform shall be brought within two years from the date of the discovery of such alleged negligent failure to inform, or from the date on which the patient in the exercise of ordinary care should have discovered such alleged negligent failure to inform, whichever date first occurs; except that, no such action shall be brought for any negligent failure to inform about the results of medical tests performed more than two years before August 28, 1999. For purposes of this subdivision, the act of neglect based on the negligent failure to inform the patient of the results of medical tests shall not include the act of informing the patient of the results of negligently performed medical tests or the act of informing the patient of erroneous test results…
This means that if you have been hurt by a doctor’s negligence or another medical error, it is crucial that you contact us today to let us start investigating your claim and file your case.
Damage limits for medmal in MO:
- 2005: the Missouri legislature passed a law limiting the dollar amount a plaintiff can recover in suits against healthcare providers for medical negligence (see RSMo §538.210).
- 2012: the Missouri Supreme Court ruled caps on certain damages were unconstitutional (See Deborah Watts v. Lester E. Cox Medical Centers, et al., 376 S.W.3d 633 (Mo. banc 2012)), thus overturning this statute.
- March 2013: the Missouri House of Representatives passed another bill limiting malpractice damages. That debate continues.
As the laws governing medical malpractice and negligence change in our state, litigating actions against healthcare providers for errors or carelessness becomes even more challenging.
We have a duty and we make it our responsibility to keep up with the changing laws governing our cases and affecting our clients’ rights. The combination of our long history of experience with our strong commitment to provide the best advocacy and representation for our clients makes us unique to others in our field. We work to make sure the law is on your side. If you have been injured by a healthcare provider’s error, contact us today - we will assess your case and answer your questions for no charge or obligation.