Judge rules in favor of medical malpractice victim in Florida

In 2003, Florida lawmakers placed a limit on the amount of damages that may be awarded to victims of medical negligence for pain and suffering. A recent case resulted in a ruling in favor of a medical malpractice victim, stating that her claim is not subject to the current law because her case occurred prior to the law’s inception. The Supreme Court has reportedly overruled an appeals court that attempted to reduce the compensatory amount awarded to the woman for pain and suffering.

The reported victim in the case underwent a surgical procedure in 2002 to remove Melanoma cancer from her leg. Her legal claim states that her doctor performed an unnecessary second surgery after indicating that it was warranted in order to ensure that any lingering cancer would be removed. According to reports, the woman suffered from infection in the aftermath of the second surgery, which proved unnecessary as postoperative test results showed that no remaining cancer existed.

In conjunction with the woman’s successfully litigated case, she was awarded $1.5 million in damages for pain and suffering. An appeals court reduced this amount to $500,000, ruling that the law stipulated a limit to the amount of compensation allowed for non-economic damages. The Supreme Court overturned that reduction, holding that it does not apply to the woman’s case because it occurred before the law placing a cap on those types of damages was passed.

Florida medical patients who have suffered complications from unnecessary surgeries or other negligent actions or maltreatment from medical staff have the right to file a medical malpractice claim in order to pursue claims for financial liability. Depending upon the severity of injury or illness caused by a medical error, patients may require long-term treatment and/or physical therapy that can result in an accumulation of medical bills. This can bring undue financial stress to a victim who is already suffering from his or her illness or injury. A successfully litigated case may result in an award of compensation to help absorb some of those costs.

Source: orlandosentinel.com, “Florida Supreme Court awards higher damages for victim of medical malpractice“, Jim Saunders, May 22, 2015