- There are no caps on the amount of non-economic damages that can be recovered by a victim of medical negligence
- There are no caps on the economic damages that can be recovered for all types of medical expenses and loss of income
- There are no caps on punitive damages
Until recently, Florida had caps for non-economic medical malpractice damages, including compensation for pain and suffering, anxiety, disfigurement. Florida also differentiated the caps depending on the defendant's statute:
- A $500.000 cap in lawsuits against practitioners
- A $750.000 cap in lawsuits against non-practitioners
All caps were ruled unconstitutional by a Florida Supreme Court decision in June 2017. The Court decided that caps "arbitrarily reduce damage awards for plaintiffs who suffer the most drastic injuries" and canceled any limits on non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases. This ruling preserves equal access to legal rights.
What Are Caps on Damages?
A cap on damages is an injury law that sets a limit on the amount of money an injured person can obtain when making a claim to receive compensation, regardless of what the evidence presented in the case proves.
When a person suffers injury or illness caused by the negligent acts of others in a medical malpractice case they can recover compensation for:
- Medical expenses: medical bills and medical treatment
- Potentially lost wages and diminished earning capacity
- Emotional stress
- Other physical and psychological damages
Cap on damages laws are adopted to ensure that the justice system will serve best the people who need it the most - those who suffered permanent injury - and not the occasional lawsuit gamblers. The problem is that damage caps are actually a burden for those who suffer serious injury. Damage caps slice off from the authority of juries and judges, who should decide each aspect of injury cases based on specific facts and evidence.
On the surface, it may appear that, even if capped, medical malpractice damages are large sums of money, but oftentimes, they don't even begin to cover the losses an injury caused.
How Can an Attorney Help With Your Medical Malpractice Claim?
Florida does not have a cap on damages in medical malpractice cases but this does not mean that that will always be the case.
HB 7077 - a bill filed in 2019 in the Florida House to reinstate caps on non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases - was part of a nationwide trend of attempts to deny injured patients full recovery. Bills like it could come up at any time.
If you or someone you love has suffered an injury due to medical malpractice and you would like to explore your legal options, please contact a Miami medical malpractice attorney at The Law Offices of Sean M. Cleary. We provide legal help to medical malpractice victims.