Florida Supreme Court says no to medical malpractice caps

Currently, 35 states have laws that limit the amount of money that a person can receive in non-economic damages in a medical malpractice lawsuit. Florida, however, is not one of them. A state law would have put a cap at $1 million, but the Supreme Court turned it down.

Medical malpractice cases have no limits on compensatory damages. That means that these awards would continue to pay economic damages such as medical bills, lost wages, rehabilitation and other expenses required to treat the victim’s injuries. The issue is whether emotional damages — such as pain suffering — should be unlimited.

There is much debate over this issue. Those who support medical malpractice caps say that they eliminate non-economic damages that can exceed $1 million. When these damages are reduced, the result can be reduced costs for malpractice insurance. This allows doctors to pass these savings on to the patients.

Those who oppose the caps, however, say that victims who are seriously hurt by their doctors’ negligence are forced to settle for less even though they deserve more. Plus, caps are not fair to those who are injured by malpractice because those who are injured in other ways can still receive huge sums of money because their damages are not capped.

In medical malpractice cases, every victim should get a fair settlement based on the pain and suffering they endured due to their injuries. When a compensation limit is put in place, cases are treated more equally, but not necessarily fairly. Plus, doctors may be more likely to get away with their negligence because they know that there will be a limit on the amount of money they will have to pay to the victims.

SourceConsumer Eagle, “Medical Malpractice Caps Voided in Florida” Stephan Westlake, Apr. 20, 2014