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Missouri Takes Aim at Tort Reform

Missouri Governor Eric Greitens recently signed a “Right to Work” bill into law, which overshadowed two more recent major legislative moves aimed at another pivotal issue: tort reform. Many people support tort reform until they or a loved one is injured and they realize how dreadful it can be. Interestingly, the corporations and insurance companies lobbying for tort reform do not seek to reform the rules that apply to them should they be wronged.

Rep. Joe Don McGaugh’s collateral source rule bill and Rep. Kevin Corlew’s expert witness standard bill both passed through the state’s House of Representatives early this month. This is fast progress on an issue that Governor Greitens has taken aim at both throughout his campaign and early in his tenure.

Many conservative politicians have stated that the legal landscape in Missouri has made operations difficult for businesses and insurance companies, ultimately leading to extremely prohibitive costs and businesses either being unable to get off the ground or closing their doors due to insurance costs or other factors. However, opponents of tort reform are concerned that more tort reform would give big businesses with extensive resources at their disposal an increased advantage against the average citizen when the advantages are already significant.

Assistant Minority Floor Leader Gina Mitten stated: “I’m opposed to anything that shuts the courthouse doors to all Missourians. Folks deserve access to our justice system and both of these bills do nothing other than to try to deny that access to my constituents and the constituents of every other person of this body.”

McGaugh’s bill limits the evidence the jury can see with regard to economic damages, including medical bills, medication, treatments, future treatments, and more for automobile accidents, truck accidents, and other injury cases.

Rep. McGaugh says that his bill is designed to prevent plaintiffs from earning a windfall on a case. However, this could put Missouri on a slippery slope towards its neighbor, Kansas, particularly in terms of even lower maximum recoveries allowed under the law (“caps”). Many lay people do not realize that a judge can reduce the amount awarded by the jury if the judge feels the amount was too high under the circumstances. This is called “remittitur.” The judge who heard the evidence in the case is in a far better position to decide if an award is too high. This is far more equitable than an “across the board” cap for even the most catastrophic injury.

If you are injured from an auto accident, truck accident, a defective product, or other matter, facing a jury and large legal team of an insurance company can be a daunting task. At Adler & Manson, we are not afraid to take on big insurance companies. We can fight to put the law on your side and help you obtain the compensation you deserve for your injuries. As Kansas City personal injury attorneys, we are well-versed in the laws and regulations regarding injury claims, and work diligently and tirelessly to gather all of the evidence in your case to get you the financial relief you need.

Start discussing your case with an attorney today; call Adler & Manson at 816-399-2283 and request a free initial consultation!

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