The Florida Supreme Court will likely be issuing rulings about limits on medical malpractice damages in Miami and across the state. The rulings stem from a case that involves a woman who received what she believed to be unnecessary leg surgery. After the surgery, the patient suffered from complication and was awarded $1.5 million by a jury for pain and suffering. However, caps on damages in medical malpractice cases were passed in 2003 and as a result a lower court reduced the woman’s damages to $500 000. One of the decisions the Florida Supreme Court will need to decide is whether to apply the medical malpractice caps retroactively.
The cap that was instituted in 2003 was itself controversial. Then-governor Jeb Bush as well as Republican lawmakers worked to limit the non-economic damages possible in medical malpractice cases. Doctors and medical facilities supported the move, stating that medical malpractice claims were increasing insurance costs. In the end, non-economic damages in the state were limited to $500,000 or $1 million in medical malpractice cases, depending on the number of parties involved and the severity of the injury.
Attorneys and injured patients, however, disagreed with the caps, saying that the limits would deprive injured patients of their rights. While the caps do not affect economic damages – which means that patients who have been injured by medical malpractice and misdiagnosis in Miami and other cities can still claim damages for income loss, future expected wage losses, and medical costs stemming from their injuries – the non-economic damages are important in medical malpractice cases. Non-economic damages help patients recover compensation that can help pay for the many incidental costs patients sustain after medical issues. These damages also send a message to doctors who are negligent when it comes to patient safety and health.
In March of this year, the Florida Supreme Court claimed part of the new cap was unconstitutional. That claim arose from a birth injury case in which a mother died in 2006 due to complications. The family initially won $2 million in pain and suffering damages but a judge reduced the amount to $1 million, citing the 2003 law.
What does the Supreme Court deliberation mean for patients who suffer from misdiagnosis and birth injury in Miami and Florida? While it is too soon to tell, attorneys agree that anyone who thinks they have a claim should contact a personal injury attorney in Miami or their community. Even if the $500 000 and $1 million caps remain in place, patients who have been injured due to negligence and recklessness deserve justice and compensation. There are still options available for patients who have been injured.
If you have been injured in any medical setting or if you have lost a loved one due to possible medical negligence, it is important to consult with a personal injury attorney to determine whether you have a pharmacy negligence claim, a medical malpractice claim, or another claim. If you would like to speak to a personal injury attorney about your potential case, you can always contact Flaxman Law Group for a free, no obligation case review.