Missouri Capitol caps pay outs for personal injury cases

Senate Bill 31 targets what's called the "Collateral Source Rule." (KTVO)

Senate Bill 31 went into effect in late August. The bill limits the amount people with health insurance can sue for, potentially costing plaintiffs thousands of dollars from pay out in personal injury cases.

Kirksville Personal Injury Attorney Jay Benson fought against the Republican-backed bill, which after numerous tries to pass, was finally signed into law by Missouri Governor Eric Greitens.

"It's bad policy. It's bad law," Benson said.

The bill is a significant tort reform targeting the "collateral source rule," a rule which prevented admission of evidence other than damages sought by plaintiffs.

"It limits the amount of medical expense to whatever their health insurance paid, not what the medical provider charged," Benson said.

For example. in two separate lawsuits, each plaintiff sues for $10,000. The one who has insurance will only be allowed to sue for what was paid by the insurance company, not the full cost of what the hospital or medical provider charged.

Representative Nate Walker (R)-Kirksville did not back the bill calling it "one sided."

"I can see some benefits in it, but I think it probably went too far. I think we have to represent the needs of everyone. The plaintiff is important, but the defendant is important," Walker said.

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