New Florida Bill Aims to Cap Damages for Medical Malpractice Cases

Statutory caps on monetary damages in medical malpractice cases carry some controversy because they attempt to limit what an injured patient can recover. On the one hand, these restrictions help attract the best physicians to Florida without the fear of massive lawsuits. However, caps on damages also result in many victims not being able to recoup their losses after suffering harm at the hands of a healthcare provider. The Florida Senate has recently taken action on the issue by moving a bill out of committee for full voting. 

The proposed legislation would reinstate statutory caps for medical malpractice cases, putting injured patients at a severe disadvantage. It may be some time before the bill becomes law, but it is a consideration for many people seeking compensation for their losses. A Miami medical malpractice lawyer can assist with your claim if you suffered harm, but some information about the proposed statutory cap is useful.

Overview of Proposal to Cap Med Mal Damages

Florida did place a limit on compensation for these cases, but it was found unconstitutional in 2018. The key in the court’s decision was that a statutory cap violates the equal protection clause because it reduced damages to an exact amount regardless of actual losses.

The full Senate will now consider and vote on a new bill that replaces the law found unconstitutional. Some of the important provisions include:

  • A statutory cap of $500,000 per injured patient, regardless of whether multiple healthcare providers are found liable for the harm;
  • A $750,000 limit on damages for claims against non-practitioners, which refers to hospitals, clinics, health care systems, and facilities; and,
  • A statutory cap of $150,000 on claims against healthcare providers in emergency cases.

How Damages Work

It is important to realize that the proposed statutory cap in med mal cases would only apply to noneconomic damages. These are the losses that affect your quality of life, such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, and other personal, subjective losses.

The proposed bill does NOT impact economic damages, so there is no limit on what you can recover for losses in this category. Economic damages are the tangible, concrete losses that you sustain because of your injuries, so you will typically have receipts or other paperwork as evidence. For instance, you may be entitled to:

  • Amounts for medical costs, including emergency care, surgery, hospitalization, prescriptions, rehabilitation, physical therapy, and many other forms of treatment;
  • Your lost wages, if you missed work because of your medical malpractice injuries; and,
  • Out-of-pocket expenses related to care, including over-the-counter medications.

Talk to a Miami Medical Malpractice Attorney About Details 

The new bill is at the committee stage of the legislative process, so it could be a while before it becomes law if it even passes. To learn how we can help with your med mal case, please call (305) 371-6000 or go online to reach Gerson & Schwartz, PA. We can schedule a free consultation at our offices in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, or West Palm Beach.

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