This week, the Missouri Supreme Court ruled that placing a limit on plaintiffs' wrongful death recoveries does not infringe on their right to jury trial. The decision is likely to adversely affect the bereaved in future wrongful death civil suits seeking monetary compensation for the loss of their loved one.
As the Associated Press reports, the Missouri justices deemed that caps on non-economic recoveries (such as pain and suffering) do not violate the constitutional rights of plaintiffs. The case at hand was a plaintiff's lawsuit claiming the death of a loved due to a medical procedure. The jury awarded the plaintiff $9 million in that case but, due to state law, the plaintiff could only recover $350K.
While there have been occasional cases in which the state Supreme Court lifted the cap for medical malpractice suits, this recent ruling is likely to continue to severely limit the legal ability of bereaved people desiring justice. Politicians believe that these caps attract businesses, but rarely address how they inhibit the relief our courts can provide their constituents who are in mourning.
"Limiting" Pain & Suffering
It's always regretful to hear about a development like this that further erodes the recovery to those harmed. The deck is already stacked in favor of the “big guy.” Who are the real winners here? The prospective businesses looking to put down roots in Missouri, and the billion dollar insurance companies that cover them! By giving these corporations and insurance providers more protection, we're telling the public that the effects of a sudden loss will not be fairly and impartially assessed on a case by case basis. We must recall that if a jury awards a grossly large and unfair amount, the trial judge, who heard the facts of this specific case, can reduce the award to a fair amount. That seems far more equitable than a “one size fits all” mandate imposed in the form of a cap. Most people embrace tort reform such as this until they are the injured party, and then they are shocked at the limitations that have been imposed arbitrarily. At Adler & Manson, we fight to ensure that our clients' voices are compellingly heard before the law and that maximum recovery is aggressively pursued. If you have lost a loved one due to another party's negligence, then our trusted and experienced Kansas City personal injury attorneys are ready to hear your story.
It still can be possible to recover maximum relief. Call our offices today to start exploring your options.