Medical Malpractice Caps Violate Equal Protection Clause
Finally, the victims of medical malpractice will be entitled to the compensation they deserve without the restrictions of the recovery limiting caps. In a 5-2 decision, the Florida Supreme Court held that section 766.118 violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Florida Constitution. Specifically, the decision written by Justice Lewis states, “the statutory cap on wrongful death noneconomic damages fails because it imposes unfair and illogical burdens on injured parties when an act of medical negligence gives rise to multiple claimants…in such circumstances, medical malpractice claimants do not receive the same rights to full compensation because of arbitrarily diminished compensation for legally cognizable claims.” Under the prior law, caps limited a victim’s recovery for pain and suffering. Specifically, Florida Statute section 766.118 states, “with respect to a cause of action for personal injury or wrongful death arising from medical negligence of practitioners, regardless of the number of such practitioner defendants, noneconomic damages shall not exceed $500,000 per claimant… No practitioner shall be liable for more than $500,000 in noneconomic damages, regardless of the number of claimants.”
Arguably, this recent decision overturning the caps on damages will cause doctors to avoid taking on difficult cases. However, this view is incorrect. Folks, let’s be clear. Doctors do not get sued for doing the right thing. They get sued for being negligent. In other words, doctors get sued for not exercising the same degree of care and skill as a similar healthcare provider presented with the same or similar situation. When we visit our doctors we expect a certain level of professional competency. The recent Florida Supreme Court decision will allow the victims of medical malpractice to fully recover for damages when a doctor fails to act like other similar healthcare providers presented with the same or similar situation. If you or a loved one has been injured due to the negligence of a doctor, please contact an experienced attorney to protect your rights and learn about your options.
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Attorney Rafael Diaz is a personal injury attorney with extensive knowledge in handling civil and criminal cases in both Federal and State Courts. Mr. Diaz is known for his commitment and attention to his clients’ legal matters, and he is fluent in both English and Spanish