Lost Chance of Survival under Missouri Law

Posted By Kansas City Personal Injury Attorney || 11-Sep-2011

Lost Chance of Survival recognized under Missourilaw.

If the professional negligence of a physician (medical malpractice) results in the death of the patient, the case becomes one of "wrongful death." Under Missouri law, however, it is not absolutely necessary in all cases to prove that, in the absence of the negligence of the treating physician, the patient would have survived. Instead, Missouri law recognizes the "lost chance of survival" claim, also known as the "lost chance of recovery" claim.

The essence of this type of claim is that the Plaintiff (or his surviving dependents) would not necessarily have survived had proper medical diagnosis and treatment been provided to him. Instead, the claim is that the Plaintiff lost a chance of survival or recovery that he would have had in the context of proper (i.e., non-negligent) medical care.

For example, the Plaintiff has a particular type of cancer. For patients similarly situated to the Plaintiff, the average survival rate is 60% if proper medical treatment is administered. Because of a particular physician's negligence, however, the patient loses this chance of survival or recovery. Accordingly, the patient's total loss (essentially, the resulting loss based on a 'normal' life expectancy) is multiplied by the lost chance of survival or recovery—in this case, 60%. Therefore, all purposes of the law of negligence are served. There is no "windfall" for the Plaintiff, and yet Missouri law recognizes that the loss of a CHANCE of survival or recovery is a very real and tangible loss—and allows compensation accordingly.

If a loved one has died as a result of medical negligence, you need an experienced trial lawyer to assess your claim and to present your case in a manner most likely to prevail in court—and therefore increasing your chances for a meaningful settlement. Contact the offices of the Law Firm of Martin & Wallentine as soon as possible. The law imposes strict time deadlines for bringing your claim to court.