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Understanding Missouri’s Maximum Damage Caps

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Missouri’s Maximum Damage Caps


In accidents where negligence is a contributory factor, such as medical malpractice cases, personal injury lawsuits are imposed with a limitation by Missouri laws. It means that there is a cap on how much compensation you can claim if you have suffered an injury due to medical malpractice or due to the negligence of the at-fault party. In this article, we aim to give a comprehensive understanding of the legal reasons behind these laws and their implication on the parties involved the plaintiff (s), the defendant(s), and the third parties. Explore how Kansas City’s damage limit laws impact legal claims. Our guide covers non-economic punitive damage caps and strategies to optimize compensation. 

What Are Damages? 

Damages are the compensatory amount that you can claim if you have met with an accident and it resulted in an injury that has caused you economic or non-economic losses. These losses can include wage loss, medical bills, reduced earning capacity, temporary or permanent disability, psychological issues, etc. Any tangible damage that is financial in nature can be claimed as damages in accidents that result from negligence. For any gross negligence or violation of laws, the victims can also claim non-economic damages (distress, mental torture and agony) as well punitive damages which serve as punishment to deter repetition of such negligence in the future. These damages are usually paid through the insurance company of the defendant(s). So what happens if damages exceed policy limits is that the exceeding amount becomes the liability of the at-fault party. 

What Is a Damage Cap? 

Damage cap is the limit on the amount of damages you can claim in injury lawsuits as a plaintiff. The damages cap is in place by the Missouri legislation because

  • It helps the businesses that are defendants in such cases to not get excessively large monetary damages from the court, as it will hurt the business. 
  • It sets a benchmark for compensation in injury lawsuits, making it easier for the parties what to expect in terms of compensation. For example, for medical malpractice lawyers in Kansas City, it’s easy to tell the clients what to expect based on these laws, even during the initial meeting.
  • It streamlines the legal proceedings of the injury courts and helps them with the determination of award amounts easily. 

However, depending on the nature of the severity of injuries and the extent of negligence in a case, the court may award more than the compensation cap, if it deems it necessary.

Exploring Kansas’s Damage Cap Policy

Kansas damage cap policy is a regulatory framework that limits compensation that can be claimed for non-economic damages such as mental agony and suffering or death. It also addresses questions like can I recover more than the insurance policy limits? The policy is regulated by the Revised Statute of Missouri § 538.210 which states that for every non-economic medical malpractice case, the limit for the non-economic damages claim shall not exceed $400,000 for every complaint. In simple words, regardless of the severity of the injury or extent of negligence, an injured person will be awarded non-economic damages exceeding $400,000. However, this does not apply to the economic damages. 

Non-Economic Damage Caps in Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Cases

In Kansas City, for any person suffering mental agony, anxiety, and distress, the compensation or damages cap for non-catastrophic injury began at $400,000 in 2015. Similarly, for the victims suffering catastrophic injury, especially in medical malpractice cases, the non-economic damages cap began at $700,000 in 2015. Generally speaking, the rationale behind the limitation is that non-economic damages are always disproportionate and impact the defendants in an unfair manner. 

Kansas City’s Approach to Punitive Damage Caps 

Missouri laws impose a restriction on capping the punitive damages as it violates the constitutional right to trial by jury. The restriction was ruled in the famous case of Watts v. Cox Medical Center case in 2012. However, for malpractice cases resulting in death, the state law 510.265 imposes a cap on punitive damages not exceeding $500,000.

Damage Cap Regulations for Government-Related Claims

Like in every injury claim, the government agencies can also be made a party to damages if they are responsible for an accident resulting from a defect that was within their jurisdiction and responsibility to fix. The Missouri Tort Claims Act (MTCA) regulates the compensation claims made against government agencies. Tort damages filed against government agencies in Kansas City cannot exceed $300,000 in injury claims, and the state’s liability also cannot exceed $2 million in a single claim. For punitive damages against the government, the damages cap is up to $300,000. 

Maximizing Compensation Under Kansas, Missouri Damage Caps 

Since there is a limitation on non-economic damages, the defendants can focus on climbing economic damages. Under Kansas laws, there is no damages cap on economic damages. 

  • Effective negotiation is the key to maximizing compensation if you are living in Kansas City. Engage a skillful injury lawyer who can negotiate a worthwhile settlement with the insurance company of the defendant. 
  • Seeking penetrative damages or involving third parties, where necessary, is always a good idea as it enhances the chance of winning favorable compensation, even when there is a damages cap. 
  • Hire an expert injury lawyer who can represent you in the injury lawsuit as well as negotiate with the insurance company of the defendants. These seasoned professionals have years of experience dealing with compensation lawsuits and can offer you the legal representation that you need to win the damages you deserve.


The damages cap is the necessary legal protection that is in place to protect defendants from unfair noneconomic damages. However, for the plaintiff, this may mean that they will not be paid more than the limitation amount, regardless of their suffering. Hiring an injury lawyer will help you determine who pays the damages that exceed the policy limits against the defendants in your case. Our expert lawyers at Royce Injury can help you navigate these challenges.

Jason Royce Allen

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