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Missouri governor signs limits for medical malpractice cases

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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) – Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has approved a measure that limits non-economic damage awards in cases where a patient has been harmed by a medical profession.

The measure Nixon signed Thursday reinstates caps on medical malpractice lawsuits in Missouri, after the state Supreme Court struck down previous limits three years ago.

Supporters say caps are needed to bring certainty to insurance costs for hospitals and doctors, while opponents argue the limits hurt patients who have already been damaged by a doctor’s actions.

The limits apply only to non-economic damages, not medical costs or lost wages.

Most non-economic damages would be capped at $400,000. For catastrophic cases, including paralysis or brain injury, the cap would be $700,000.

The bill also doubles the limit in wrongful death cases to $700,000.