Florida Supreme Court Overturns Cap on Medical Malpractice Damages
Jun 3, 2019
Tampa, FL (Law Firm Newswire) June 03, 2019 – The Florida Supreme Court declared that a law capping damages in medical malpractice lawsuits to be unconstitutional. The Court issued its decision on the 2003 law in June of 2017 in the case Kalitan v. North Broward Hospital District. The law was signed by then Governor Bush in 2003 purportedly to help lower doctors’ high malpractice insurance premiums.
The law only affected non-economic damages in medical malpractice lawsuits. Non-economic damages are those damages awarded for pain and suffering. This is distinguished against economic damages such as lost wages or medical bills that were caused by the malpractice.
The case decided by the Florida Supreme Court came out of Broward County and involved a patient who, in 2007, was having carpal-tunnel surgery but had their esophagus accidentally perforated. After a lawsuit was filed and a trial, a jury awarded the plaintiff $4 million dollars. However, the medical malpractice cap law reduced that award by over $2 million dollars. At this point the plaintiff appealed the award reduction.
The Florida Supreme Court declared the law unconstitutional based upon the argument that it violates the equal-protection rights in Florida’s state constitution. Specifically, the Court stated that, “because the arbitrary reduction of compensation without regard to the severity of the injury does not bear a rational relationship to the Legislature’s stated interest in addressing the medical malpractice crisis.”
Tampa attorney Lillian Reyes-Joyce, Esquire commented, “This ruling will help the thousands of individuals who are harmed by medical malpractice every year. It will also help cut down the number of medical errors and make seeking treatment safer.”
For those who have been injured due to a medical error, do not hesitate to contact the lawyers at Joyce & Reyes at (813) 251-2007. The initial consultation is free.
Joyce and Reyes Law Firm, P.A.
307 S Hyde Park Ave
Tampa, FL 33606
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