Medical Malpractice Damage Caps in Florida
In over half of U.S. states, you can expect to see damage caps on medical malpractice suits. For residents of Florida, that means you may only be able to receive a certain amount based on your case for damages.
This is not, however, a simple issue: The damage caps have been contested and discussed as recently as June 2017, and if your case is especially serious, you may still be entitled to the full damages you ask for. Understanding the caps and their purpose may help you with your case, and the attorneys at the Law Offices of Casey D. Shomo are here to help you with any questions or concerns you have.
What Are The Caps?
Medical malpractice damage caps limit the damages you can receive if your lawsuit is successful. In Florida, only non-economic damages have a cap. This covers any noneconomic damages, such as pain and suffering, which can be difficult to quantify in the first place.
This statute puts a cap on claims at $500,000 for practitioners and a $750,000 cap on non-practitioners. This cap is raised to $1 million if the patient is left in a vegetative state or if the malpractice causes death.
However, the Florida Supreme Court ruled that these caps were unconstitutional in June 2017. So while these caps are still technically on the books, they are not as likely to be applied to current Florida medical malpractice cases.
What Are Damage Caps For?
Many initially wonder why damage caps exist in the first place. After all, shouldn’t a plaintiff be entitled to the compensation the jury believes is fair?
Many believe damage caps will prevent high awards from raising healthcare costs, which could hurt consumers. If a doctor’s insurance company pays out millions for a case, it may raise insurance costs for doctors, which means doctors will charge more and healthcare will become more expensive. That’s the theory, anyway.
Researchers don’t always agree with that theory, and the way these cases play out in court is changing. The June 2017 case brought to the Florida Supreme Court involved an extreme case of medical malpractice. The court determined that the plaintiff was in need of the full non-economic damages amount she requested.
Will Damage Caps Affect My Case?
If you have been injured by your doctor or lost a loved one through medical malpractice, you may be compensated for your non-economic damages despite the caps. Already, some victims have won more than the technical maximum amount for their pain and suffering.
This, however, depends on your case. Because every claim is unique, your case will need to be reviewed to determine the value of your claim and your best next steps.
Call a West Palm Beach Medical Malpractice Lawyer
Our attorneys are here to help you through this difficult, painful time. Understanding medical malpractice damage caps can be difficult, but with the right firm on your side, you and your family can maximize the compensation for the harm done to you.