If you’ve been a victim of medical malpractice, then you may already have discovered that there are limits on how much you can receive in compensation. Medical malpractice limits are there to protect medical providers; the limits help them obtain the insurance they need at fair rates.
Is the limit fair for victims of malpractice, though? Florida’s medical malpractice law is controversial and has been the center of several arguments since it was implemented in 2003. At the time, limits were put in place to prevent non-economic damages from exceeding a certain amount, regardless of what a jury decided. In 2014, a Supreme Court decision found the caps unconstitutional. Why? While those who are awarded less than the caps are fully compensated, those who are awarded more are only partially compensated, and the judge did not find that fair.
Now, efforts to limit damages are being started again. The limits could make it easier and more affordable for doctors and medical providers to obtain insurance, but the cost to patients is high. The patients could lose their right to a full payout if they ever suffer malpractice, which is something that the court has to consider before implementing any kind of cap on a permanent basis.
Attorneys for one patient argued that caps aren’t the only way to make insurance affordable; lowering medical malpractice premiums and regulating premiums could be as effective without violating a person’s constitutional rights. With that process, medical providers would still be able to get affordable insurance, but patients would be able to request full payments of any award amount in a medical malpractice case.
Source: Sunshine State News, “Pam Bondi Defends Medical Malpractice Limits,” Jim Saunders, Dec. 15, 2015