In Pennsylvania, the statute of limitation for a wrongful death, personal injury, product liability, and medical malpractice lawsuit is two years.
What are statutes of limitations? A statute is a common law legal system that sets forth the maximum time period after certain events such as a wrongful death that legal proceedings may be initiated.
What is Missouri statute of limitations?
- Negligence – 5 year statute of limitations
Medical Malpractice–Against health care providers – within 2 yrs. of date of injury; children under 18 – must file by 20th birthday
- Product Liability – 5 years after suffering injury
- Wrongful Death – 3 years after date of death
- Survival - Follows common law - actions based on tort died with the death of either the wronged or the wrongdoer
Caps on MO Attorney Awards: There are no caps on attorney awards in Missouri
Caps on damages – Missouri Statute of Limitations Laws
Medical Malpractice – § 538.210 R.S.Mo.; (2007) § 538.210; Limitation on noneconomic damages -- jury not to be informed of limit -- limit -- punitive damages, requirements
1. In any action against a health care provider for damages for personal injury. or death arising out of the rendering of or the failure to render health care services, no plaintiff shall recover more than three hundred fifty thousand dollars for noneconomic damages irrespective of the number of defendants;
2. (1) Such limitation shall also apply to any individual or entity, or their employees or agents that provide, refer, coordinate, consult upon, or arrange for the delivery of health care services to the plaintiff; and
(2) Who is a defendant in a lawsuit brought against a health care provider under this chapter, or who is a defendant in any lawsuit that arises out of the rendering of or the failure to render health care services.
(3) No individual or entity whose liability is limited by the provisions of this chapter shall be liable to any plaintiff based on the actions or omissions of any other entity or person who is not an employee of such individual or entity whose liability is limited by the provisions of this chapter.
Such limitation shall apply to all claims for contribution.
3. In any action against a health care provider for damages for personal injury or death arising out of the rendering of or the failure to render health care services, where the trier of fact is a jury, such jury shall not be instructed by the court with respect to the limitation on an award of noneconomic damages, nor shall counsel for any party or any person providing testimony during such proceeding in any way inform the jury or potential jurors of such limitation.
4. For purposes of sections 538.205 to 538.230, any spouse claiming damages for loss of consortium of their spouse shall be considered to be the same plaintiff as their spouse.
5. Any provision of law or court rule to the contrary notwithstanding, an award of punitive damages against a health care provider governed by the provisions of sections 538.205 to 538.230 shall be made only upon a showing by a plaintiff that the health care provider demonstrated willful, wanton or malicious misconduct with respect to his actions which are found to have injured or caused or contributed to cause the damages claimed in the petition.
6. For purposes of sections 538.205 to 538.230, all individuals and entities asserting a claim for a wrongful death under section 537.080, RSMo, shall be considered to be one plaintiff.
Product Liability– $350,000 limitation on noneconomic damages, annually adjusted for inflation
A Actual Damages
a. A plaintiff in a products liability action may recover compensatory damages for personal injury and property damage. When property damage only is claimed, the measure of damages can include the cost of repair and removal of an unsafe product (e.g., asbestos) from plaintiff's premises.
b. The "enhanced injury" or "second collision" rule in products liability cases limits recovery of damages to those proximately caused by the product defect, as opposed to those caused by the initial collision or event setting in motion the events which produce injury due to the product defect. However, if the acts of the defendants produce indivisible injuries, such that the injuries caused by the product defect cannot be separated from those caused by the concurrent negligence of a co-defendant and each cause is a substantial factor in bringing about the harm, then all defendants are jointly and severally liable for plaintiff's total damages. (child suffered brain and other injuries due to collision with drunk driver and defective design of child car seat; injuries indivisible).
c. Damages in a wrongful death action based on products liability are governed by statute. V.A.M.S. § 537.090
d. When a products liability claim is joined with a medical malpractice claim, the products liability defendant is not entitled to any reduction of the damage award in proportion to a reduction required by the statutes governing malpractice damages.
e. Note that the Litigation Reform Act of 2005 contains a curious provision that the statutory limit on noneconomic damages in medical malpractice actions applies to any individual or entity that provides or arranges for the delivery of health care services to the plaintiff and who is a defendant in a lawsuit brought against the health care provider, or who is a defendant in any lawsuit arising out of the rendering of health care services. V.A.M.S. § 538.210.2(1–2) (2005). “Health care services” is broadly defined to include transfer to a patient of goods or services. V.A.M.S. § 538.205(5). It may be argued that the provision of amended V.A.M.S. § 538.210.2 serves to supersede the rule announced in denying the products liability defendant the benefits of the malpractice damages “cap.”
c. The law regarding punitive damages in products liability cases was restated recently in one of the most notorious cases in Missouri history, in which the trial jury awarded aggregate damages of $350,000,000. The Court of Appeals for the Western District noted: "In a negligence action, punitive damages may be awarded if the defendant knew or had reason to know a high degree of probability existed that the action would result in injury … . To submit punitive damages in a strict liability case, a plaintiff must present evidence that the defendant placed in commerce an unreasonably dangerous product with actual knowledge of the product's defect … . Under both theories, evidence must also be presented that the defendant showed a complete indifference to or conscious disregard for the safety of others."
d. "State of the art" evidence is admissible on the issue of punitive damages.
e. The award of "aggravating circumstances" damages in a wrongful death case based on products liability is governed by the same procedure as that governing punitive damages.
f. The Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment has now been construed to place significant substantive and procedural limits on the award of punitive damages. Constitutional standards now require that punitive awards be evaluated by trial and appellate courts de novo in light of three "guideposts": (1) the degree of reprehensibility of the defendant's misconduct toward the individual plaintiff; (2) the disparity between the actual or potential harm suffered by the plaintiff and the punitive damages award; and (3) the difference between the punitive damages awarded by the jury and the civil penalties authorized or imposed in comparable cases, for conduct similar to that directed to the individual plaintiff. Although due process does not impose a maximum ratio of actual to punitive damages, "single digit multipliers are more likely to comport with due process."
Pharmaceutical cases – $350,000 limitation on noneconomic damages, annually adjusted for inflation
Special Rules for Missouri Minors (minors tolling)
Except in cases of medical malpractice or wrongful death, the statute of limitations begins to run on a minor's 21st birthday
Missouri Trial Lawyers Association
240 East High Street, Suite 300
PO Box 1792
Jefferson City, MO 65102
Missouri State Highway Patrol
1510 E. Elm Street
PO Box 568
Jefferson City, MO 65102