Florida Supreme Court Rules Medical Malpractice Damages Caps Unconstitutional | Law Firm Newswire

Florida Supreme Court Rules Medical Malpractice Damages Caps Unconstitutional

Tampa, FL (Law Firm Newswire) July 28, 2017 - On June 8, 2017, the Florida Supreme Court ruled that caps on non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases are unconstitutional, backing the earlier ruling of a lower court.

“This is a big victory for patients,” said Robert Joyce, a medical malpractice attorney with the Tampa law firm of Joyce & Reyes. “When patients are harmed by medical mistakes, they should be able to use the legal system to obtain compensation for the full extent of their injuries, and not have the amount of damages arbitrarily capped.”

The 4-3 decision by the state high court found that the law capping damages is unconstitutional. The 2003 law limits non-economic damages to $500,000, or $1 million in extreme cases. Non-economic damages are non-pecuniary harms such as pain and suffering or disability, as opposed to economic damages that can be more easily quantified, such as medical expenses and lost earnings. The court found that the law violates the equal protection clause of the state constitution, because some plaintiffs are fully compensated for their injuries, but those with the most serious injuries face an arbitrary limit.

The decision came in the case of a woman who suffered a complication from surgery at North Broward Hospital District in 2007. The lawsuit claimed that the patient’s esophagus was perforated during intubation for anesthesia, which required emergency surgery, and the patient never returned to full health. A jury awarded the woman $4 million in non-economic damages, but the trial court reduced the damages because of the cap on non-economic damages.

The original justification for the law was that it was needed to address a “crisis” in the high cost of medical malpractice insurance. However, many observers have disputed whether any such crisis ever existed, or whether caps on damages have any effect on insurance premiums.

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


View Larger Map

  • What to Do After a Car Accident
    Car accidents are potentially life-changing events that can do far more the physically cripple victims. Under many circumstances, car accidents also can bankrupt victims when the medical costs greatly exceed any insurance coverage amounts. The following tips should help to ensure maximum payouts when involved in a car accident. Almost everyone has a cellphone that […]
  • Uber, Lyft are driving accident fatalities
    In large cities, ride-hailing services provide an affordable alternative to taxi cabs, without the hassle of mass public transportation systems. Uber is the king of ride-hailing services, with Lyft a slightly distant second across the nation. Since their sudden rise starting in 2011, a new study suggests they have increased traffic fatalities in large cities […]
  • Common signs of nursing home abuse
    Placing a loved one in a nursing home is often a very difficult decision that a family has to make. Usually, a family makes this decision because ultimately they believe their loved one will have a better life and be well taken care of. However, in some Florida nursing facilities, families learn that not only […]
  • Accident involving pedestrian ends in fatality
    On September 14, 2018, a fatal accident involving a Gibsonton woman occurred on U.S. 301 in Hillsborough County, Florida. The pedestrian accident occurred near Sabal Industrial Boulevard. The Florida Highway Patrol reported that the woman was walking southbound on the side of U.S. 301 when she was struck in the head by the side mirror […]
  • Serious injuries caused by dump truck accident in Hillsborough County, Florida
    On August 22, 2018, three children and one adult were seriously injured when a dump truck hit their vehicle head-on. The crash occurred on US 309 in Hillsborough County, Florida. The Florida Highway Patrol reported that the dump truck driver failed to see stopped traffic in front of him and swerved into the opposite lane […]



Get headlines from Law Firm Newswire sent right to your inbox.

* indicates required