Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi filed a brief with the state’s Supreme Court asking the justices to uphold a law that puts medical malpractice lawsuit award limits in place. The court is currently hearing a case that challenges a 2003 law that establishes medical malpractice lawsuit award limits on non-economic damages. Ms. Bondi wrote the 23-page brief to the court, stating that the law sought to address a “crisis” that affected doctors, hospitals and insurers across the state.
Details on the Medical Malpractice Lawsuit Award Limits Law
The 2003 law placed medical malpractice lawsuit award limits on non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering. The state’s medical and insurance industries argued that, without the medical malpractice lawsuit award limits, the state’s medical malpractice insurance rates would be prohibitively high. The high rates would, in turn, dissuade doctors and other medical professionals from establishing practices in Florida. The law established limits based on the particular details of each case, but placed the maximum non-economic damages from all parties at $2 million.
Medical Malpractice Lawsuit Award Limits Tested In Court
A case involving a botched anesthetic procedure sought to test the state’s medical malpractice lawsuit award limits law. In 2008, Susan Kalitan suffered a perforated esophagus when an anesthesiologist inserted a tube down her throat. In her initial case, she was awarded $4.7 million in damages, with $4 million coming from non-economic damages. However, a circuit court judge overruled the verdict, stating the medical malpractice lawsuit award limits law, and reduced the total non-economic damages to $2 million.
Appeals Court: Medical Malpractice Lawsuit Award Limits “Unconstitutional”
Last year, the state Supreme Court ruled that medical malpractice lawsuit award limits were unconstitutional in wrongful death cases. Earlier this year, the 4th District Court of Appeals reviewed the Kalitan case and ruled that medical malpractice lawsuit award limits are also unconstitutional in any personal injury cases. The appeals court ruled that such caps “violate (the) equal protection (clause)” of the U.S. Constitution. The ruling also stated that “injured parties with non-economic damages in excess of the caps are not fully compensated.”
Medical Malpractice Lawsuit Award Limits Spark Debate
Ms. Bondi’s office, along with the Florida Hospital Association and the Florida Justice Reform Institute, filed brief stating that the medical malpractice lawsuit award limits are the best way to keep malpractice insurance rates attractive for medical professionals. The appeals court filed a brief favoring the other side of the medical malpractice lawsuit award limits issue. The appeals court brief said that the Legislature “has broad powers and an array of options” to control insurance rates, including “less restrictive means…which do not adversely affect anyone’s constitutional rights.”
Source: Lakeland Ledger
Get Answers For Your Medical Malpractice Lawsuit Questions
If you are a Texas medical malpractice victim, contact one of our attorneys today to find out how we help with your medical malpractice lawsuit. Our intake team will take down the details of your case and quickly connect you to an attorney who understands how to get the most from your medical malpractice lawsuit. You can also fill out the “Free Case Evaluation” form at the top of this page.
NOTE: This post is a news story and does not imply an endorsement of Arguello Law Firm by any of the parties mentioned herein.