When a person suffers injury or illness caused by the negligent acts of others, whether in a car accident or a medical malpractice case, he or she can recover compensation for medical expenses, for example, medical bills and medical treatment, potentially lost wages, diminished earning capacity, emotional stress and other physical and psychological 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 the fair compensation should be.
This law was 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.
Until recently, Florida had caps for medical malpractice damages that applied to non-economic damages, including compensation for pain and suffering, anxiety or disfigurement caused by medical negligence. Florida also differentiated the caps depending on the defendant's statute, a $500.000 cap in lawsuits against practitioners vs. a $750.000 cap in lawsuits against non-practitioners.
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.
Florida Caps on Medical Malpractice Damages Were Ruled Unconstitutional
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.
The result of this decision is that the amount of damages that can be recovered by a victim of medical negligence is not limited. Also, there are no caps on the economic damages that can be recovered for all types of medical expenses and loss of income and there are no caps on punitive damages. This ruling preserves equal access to legal rights.
At The Law Offices Of Sean M. Cleary, we provide legal help to medical malpractice victims in Miami, Florida. For a free initial consultation, contacts us at 305.416.9805.