Court Rules Cap on Payouts Does Not Extend to Personal Injury Cases
In a win for individuals and victims, a Florida court ruled that financial caps on payouts for certain types of medical malpractice lawsuits cannot be applied to other personal injury cases.
The Florida state legislature in 2003 passed a $500,000 limit on “non-economic damages” in medical malpractice lawsuits, according to an Associated Press report.
In 2014, the Florida Supreme Court ruled that such limits do not apply in medical malpractice cases that involve wrongful death.
The recent ruling out of the state’s 4th District Court of Appeals applied that 2014 decision to other personal injury cases. The case could be appealed to the state Supreme Court, the report states.
The ruling was borne out of a case brought by Susan Kalitan, who sued North Broward Hospital District and other health agencies over issues with her carpal tunnel syndrome surgery, the report states. The 4th District Court’s ruling reinstates her $4.7 million award in damages..
How Does Florida’s Cap Rule Work?
Florida is not alone in establishing a financial cap in medical malpractice lawsuits. More than half of the states have a similar law on the books.
Most of these states stipulate that the cap governs only “non-economic” damages, which typically refers to pain and suffering claims. Pain and suffering refers to any emotional or mental anguish that you or your family has suffered as a result of a botched surgery or misdiagnosis, in terms of a medical malpractice lawsuit. It may also result from a bad car accident or injury caused by a defective product or slip and fall accident in other personal injury lawsuits. Pain and suffering can also refer to anxiety, loss of family or companionship, permanent disfigurement and other non-quantitative losses as a result of the accident or injury.
The cap in Florida for medical malpractice lawsuits for medical practitioners, meaning doctors and other health care professionals, is $500,000. For non-practitioners, the cap goes up to $750,000 in medical malpractice lawsuits in Florida.
But, of course, there are many exceptions to this rule and a judge can decide to increase or ignore the cap altogether if it’s an exceptional case.
Again, this refers to non-economic damages — the quantifiable damages incurred, including lost income, present and future medical bills, future lost wages and other economic issues as a result of a negligent medical practitioner are all recoverable without any sort of financial cap in Florida.
States with non-economic damages caps
The states with non-economic damages caps in medical malpractice lawsuits include:
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- West Virginia
Have your or loved ones been victim of medical malpractice?
If you or a loved one has been a victim of medical malpractice, contact experienced lawyers today to assess your options. You need to start mounting a case immediately to give yourselves the best chance possible to receive compensation. Reach out to the attorneys at Boone & Davis in Fort Lauderdale today.