Florida Supreme Court’s Rejection of 2003 Medical Malpractice Statutes Overhaul Gives Injured Patients Their Rights Back
Earlier in the year, the Florida Supreme Court rejected the central premise of the medical malpractice statute revisions enacted in the State Legislature in 2003. The Court ruled that the 2003 law’s limit on wrongful death payments for non-monetary damages was in violation of all persons’ right to equality of protection clause in the Florida state constitution.
Repeal of 2003 Law to Limit Award Damages in Medical Malpractice Cases
State Supreme Court Justice R. Fred Lewis wrote the 5-2 ruling. In it, he proposed that lawmakers manufactured a fake crisis of excessive medical malpractice award damages in order to enact the law, which placed award limits on damages in medical liability lawsuits. Specifically, the award limits capped payments of pain and suffering to half a million or one million dollars, with the final amount to be determined by the specifics of the case and the total number of injured parties involved.
New Ruling Stipulates That Award Payment Limits in Medical Malpractices Cases Are Unconstitutional
The 2003 law was unique and ultimately struck down because it effectively served to segregate victims of medical malpractice into a category with award damage restrictions that do not exist in any other category of personal injury due to negligence or a wrongful act.
The new ruling serves to effectively eliminate any award payment limits on the category known as “non-economic” damages when someone dies as a result of medical malpractice.
Unfortunately, this new ruling will have no benefit for victims whose cases were decided from the time the law took effect in late 2003 and until the Court’s ruling in March of 2014. At any given time, the Florida Justice Association estimates the number of medical malpractice lawsuits pending statewide to number in excess of 700 cases.
The State Supreme Court’s ruling deals a blow to the American Tort Reform Association, which joined with the state and federal Chambers of Commerce to devote millions of dollars in funding to political campaigns to advocate for medical malpractice damage award limits in Florida and other states.
Basics of Medical Malpractice Laws in Florida
If a patient is injured by a doctor, nurse, or other licensed health care provider, the victim or surviving relatives retain the right to pursue a medical malpractice claim against the responsible party or parties. In medical malpractices cases, fault may be attributed to the health care providers, organizations such as hospitals, or both. Frequently, medical malpractice claims arise from the tragic result of mistakes made either prior, during, or after a surgical procedure.
Get Legal Advice for Your Medical Malpractice Case
Being the victim or the family member of a victim of a medical malpractice case can be overwhelming, frustrating, and bewildering. You no doubt have many questions and concerns. Proving fault in medical malpractice cases requires a lawyer to have training and knowledge of the medical malpractice field. Please contact the Fort Lauderdale law offices of Boone & Davis by calling 954-566-9919. We are prepared to help you obtain compensation for your injuries or the death of your loved one.