» Florida Supreme Court Hears Arguments on Constitutionality of Malpractice Damages Caps

Florida Supreme Court Hears Arguments on Constitutionality of Malpractice Damages Caps

Tampa, FL (Law Firm Newswire) July 15, 2016 - The Florida Supreme Court heard arguments June 9 about whether damages caps in lawsuits over medical malpractice are constitutional.

The medical malpractice case stems from injuries suffered by Susan Kalitan, a dental assistant who underwent surgery for carpal tunnel syndrome in 2007. Her esophagus was perforated when tubes were inserted into her mouth during the anesthesia process.

The Supreme Court is expected to address the constitutionality of a 2003 law that set limits on non-economic damages, otherwise known as damages for pain and suffering, in medical malpractice cases.

“Arbitrary limits on the amount of damages that can be awarded have been found unconstitutional in several other states, for good reason,” said Robert Joyce, a Tampa medical malpractice attorney with the law firm of Joyce & Reyes. “Injured people have a right to be compensated in an amount that is commensurate with the severity of their injury.”

In 2003, when the damages cap was being considered, lawmakers heard arguments about a supposed crisis of doctors having to pay high premiums for medical malpractice insurance, which would supposedly drive physicians out of the state. Opponents pointed out that high insurance premiums could be addressed through regulation of the insurance industry.

In 2014, the Florida Supreme Court ruled that caps on non-economic damages in wrongful death cases were unconstitutional. Advocates for injured people argue that the limits should be removed in other medical malpractice cases as well.

In the Kalitan case, a jury awarded non-economic damages of $4 million, but the amount was reduced to $2 million because of the 2003 law.

Joyce and Reyes Law Firm, P.A.
307 S Hyde Park Ave
Tampa, FL 33606
Call: 813.251.2007


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