Mississippi Gov. Ronnie Musgrove signed into law new limits on medical malpractice lawsuits that cap pain-and-suffering damages at $500,000 and require lawsuits to be filed in the county where the alleged injury occurred. The limits were overwhelmingly approved by the state Legislature on Monday. Under the law, which takes effect Jan. 1, the pain-and-suffering cap will rise to $750,000 in 2011 and to $1 million in 2017. Struggling with steep increases in malpractice insurance premiums, doctors in Mississippi and several other states have been lobbying for limits on noneconomic damages similar to those enacted in California under the landmark Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act of 1975. The American Medical Association is supporting legislation, now stalled in Congress, that would include many such provisions. Musgrove, a Democrat, said the new law sends a message that Mississippi is a good place to practice medicine in the wake of reports that many doctors have left the state, retired early or restricted their practices because of high insurance premiums. In August, Nevada capped noneconomic damages in medical malpractice cases at $350,000. Several other states are considering similar measures. -- by Michael Romano
Miss. imposes new limits on malpractice lawsuits
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