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Mississippi Medical Malpractice

Posted by attorney John Phillips

Mississippi Medical Malpractice Provisions

Mississippi State Tort Law Statute of Limitations Two years from discovery or injury

Damage Award Limits $500,000 limit for non-economic damages Joint Defendant Liability Each defendant is liable for thier proportion of damages based on percentage of fault

Expert Witness Expert witness must be a licensed physician

Attorney Fees No limit on attorney fees

Statutes of Limitations in Mississippi

In Mississippi, the action must be brought within two years of the alleged act, neglect or omission's discovery. This includes death claims. Claims accruing after July 1 1998 must also be brought within seven years of the act, neglect or omission itself. The state's laws have special provisions for cases involving fraudulent concealment or foreign objects.

Minors or the mentally disable are afforded extended time for action based on their status on the date of the cause of action's discovery (or when it could have been expected to be discovered). Minors under the age of 6 have to file suit within 2 years of the child's death or 6th birthday.

As of 1 January 2003, medical malpractice actions cannot be filed in Missouri until the expiry of a sixty-day waiting period after giving the defendant written notice. The statute of limitations is extended to accommodate this.

Mississippi and Contributory or Comparative Negligence

Mississippi follows the doctrine pure comparative negligence. The doctrine is as follows: the claimant's contributory negligence does not bar recovery, but proportionally reduces recovery.

Joint and Several Liability in Mississippi

In a malpractice action based on fault in Mississippi, each tortfeasor is liable only for their own direct proportion of the damages according to their proportion of the fault that the award is based upon. Fault must be assigned to any absent tortfeasors as well as those with immunity.

This does not, however, apply to acts committed with specific wrongful intent. A right of contribution still exists in cases of joint liability wherein the liable took part in a common plan to commit wrongful acts.

Vicarious Liability in Mississippi

Hospitals are not generally liable for the negligent acts of independent contractor physicians in Mississippi. A hospital that holds itself out as providing the service, and where the patient engages the hospital's service without regard to the physician's identity, aligns the hospital for vicarious liability. A hospital held vicariously liable is entitled to indemnity from the negligent physician.

Expert Testimony in Mississippi

Expert medical testimony is necessary in Mississippi to prove medical negligence except in cases where "a layman can observe and understand the negligence as a matter of common sense and practical experience."

Mississippi Damage Caps

The state caps non-economic damages at $500,000.

Arbitration

Mississippi does not require arbitration.

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