In his recent ruling, Coahoma County Circuit Judge Charles Webster said that Mississippi’s cap on noneconomic damages violates that state’s constitution. Since 2004 the state has limited the amount of non-economic damages a plaintiff could recover to $1 million. The cap in medical malpractice cases is $500,000.
Judge Webster says that the cap was the result of overreaching by the state legislature. The reason, according to Judge Webster, is that any change to Mississippi trial law must be made through the state’s constitution and not simply by legislative action. Judge Webster wrote that, “The issue is not whether the limits imposed under the statute are reasonable. Rather, the issue is whether the legislature has the authority to impose any limits, reasonable or not.”
Whether the mother in this case actually collects such a large figure depends in large part on what happens with another case currently before the Mississippi Supreme Court. Right now the high court is hearing a case concerning a $2.2 million non-economic damage award. If the Supreme Court upholds the award with the damage amount as it is then the decision will have a major impact on personal injury cases across the state of Mississippi. However, the Court could uphold the caps and reduce the amount of damages.
The mother’s attorney recognized the novelty of the ruling but said he doesn’t think it will be the last time such a challenge will be made to the damage cap law. The mother’s attorney went on to say that he expects his case to make its way up to the state Supreme Court and that he’s ready for the fight that is to come.
As Mississippi personal injury attorneys, who represent injured individuals every day, we believe that non-economic damage caps restrain the will of juries and are bad for consumer rights as they send the wrong message to those that inflict harm on others. They also simply prevent those who have suffered the most because of the negligence of another from being fairly compensated. If you or some you know has been injured, you need the help of a Mississippi injury attorney knowledgeable of the state’s confusing personal injury law to help protect your rights and recover damages for your injury.
Source: “Mississippi Tort Cap Overturned — For Now,” by Courtney Sherwood, published at JDSupra.com.
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