When a person suffers an injury, whether we are talking about car accidents or medical malpractice, they can be awarded monetary compensation for medical expenses, potential lost wages, emotional stress or other physical and psychological inconveniences. A cap on damages is a law that sets a limit on the amount of money an injured person can obtain as compensation, regardless of what the proof presented in the case demonstrates the rightful compensation should actually be.
It was implemented because the Court wanted to ensure that the justice system will serve best the people who actually need it, those who are really injured and not occasional lawsuit gamblers. Problem is that these caps are actually more of a burden for those who suffer critical injuries. So, to resume, caps slice off from the authority of juries and judges, who must decide each aspect based on specific facts and evidence.
Until recently, Florida's medical malpractice caps applied only for the non-economic damages, which included the compensation for things such as pain and suffering, anxiety or disfigurement that have originated from medical negligence. Florida also used different caps, depending on the defendant's statute as being a medical practitioner or non-practitioner, with a $500.000 cap set on non-economic damages against practitioners vs. a $750.000 cap in lawsuits against non-practitioners.
At first sight, caps may still seem like a lot of money and for many individuals who were injured, the caps may indeed result in inadequate compensation, but for others, it doesn't even begin to cover the loss.
Florida Caps in Medical Malpractice Were Ruled Unconstitutional
Fortunately, 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 non-economic damages limits in medical malpractice cases.
The result of this decision is that the amount of damages that can be given to a medical negligence victim is unlimited. Besides this, there are absolutely no caps concerning the number of economic damages that can be awarded for all kinds of medical expenses and loss of income.
This ruling may leave defendants in medical malpractice vulnerable to verdicts, but it also symbolizes the fact that the equality of protection rights has to remain preserved.
The Law Offices Of Sean M. Cleary provide professional legal representation for medical malpractice victims in Miami, Florida. For a free consultation, please contacts us at 305.416.9805.