What Are Missouri’s Medical Malpractice Laws?
Posted in Medical Malpractice on September 1, 2020
Although we expect competent care during a doctor’s visit, not all medical professionals uphold their duties to their patients. From misdiagnoses to prescription and surgical errors, many healthcare professionals harm patients through acts of negligence or omission. Under Missouri law, these actions are instances of medical malpractice.
In response to negligent healthcare workers, Missouri enforces a series of rules to protect patients who fall victim to medical malpractice. These regulations give patients the right to hold at-fault medical professionals accountable for their actions through civil lawsuits.
The Affidavit of Qualified Health Care Provider
You can file a medical malpractice claim against any medical worker who treats you in a professional capacity, including nurses, doctors, and obstetricians. However, in order to bring a lawsuit against the at-fault party, you must obtain and file an Affidavit of Qualified Health Care Provider within 90 days after you file your lawsuit.
This affidavit is essentially a written opinion of a legally qualified healthcare provider. In this document, the provider will assert that the defendant failed to provide the same treatment that a careful and reasonably prudent professional would have in the same situation. The provider must also state that the negligence of the defendant caused or contributed to the injuries you suffered.
Missouri’s Medical Malpractice Statute of Limitations
You have two years from the date of the malpractice to file your lawsuit in Missouri. If you do not file within the two-year time period, the court will dismiss your case. This dismissal will remove your right to collect compensation for your malpractice injuries.
The reason for this deadline is a law known as the statute of limitations. A statute of limitations sets a time limit for your claim to ensure that you file quickly and while the evidence is still fresh. These deadlines also ensure that your witnesses are still reliable and available to testify on your behalf.
There are some exceptions to the medical malpractice statute of limitations.
- If your case involves a medical professional leaving a foreign object in your body, you have two years from the date you discovered the object to file your claim.
- If you suffered harm after a medical professional failed to inform you of your test results, you have two years on the date that you discovered or should have reasonably discovered the negligence.
- If you were a minor at the time of the malpractice, you must file your claim by your 20th birthday.
Despite these exceptions, Missouri also enforces a statute of repose for medical malpractice claims. You cannot file a lawsuit if more than 10 years has passed since the initial act of negligence.
Hiring an Attorney for Missouri Medical Malpractice Lawsuits
Navigating the Missouri civil court system can be a challenge. You may not know any legally qualified healthcare providers who can submit an affidavit, you may not know what damages you qualify for, and you may be unsure of your specific filing deadline.
Hiring a lawyer who specializes in medical malpractice claims can alleviate these uncertainties. Your attorney can also provide important benefits to your case, like medical experts who can evaluate your condition and testify on your behalf. If you have not done so already, schedule an appointment with a Kansas City medical malpractice lawyer to discuss your next steps.