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Malpractice cap ruled unconstitutional in Florida

Medical errors in the state of Pennsylvania are of serious concern. Birth injuries, missed or incorrect diagnosis, surgical errors, medication errors and more together have become among the top causes of death in the United States. Only heart disease and cancer claim more lives each year than do medical errors. The laws that govern malpractice lawsuits and the ability of victims to receive compensation vary greatly from state to state. These same laws have been known to change within just a matter of years in a single state.

In Florida, for example, a 2003 bill signed by the Governor at the time enacted a $1 million cap on damage awards for medical malpractice claims. This cap is for any non-economic or punitive portions of an award. A case that was initiated by the parents of a woman who died after having her baby, however, is been the conduit by which this law has been successfully challenged.

The woman’s parents were awarded $750,000 in damages for her death and her infant son was awarded another $500,000. Due to the cap that was in effect at the time, the judge cut the award in half. The state Supreme Court has now overturned the cap, indicating that it is unconstitutional and does not provide any positive benefits to the medical malpractice insurance situation in the state. It is not known how this ruling may affect other states.

Anyone medical error victim or family member understands the difficulties of such situations. Talking with an experienced lawyer may be a wise start in the aftermath of a suspected malpractice incident.

Source: Yahoo! News, “Florida Supreme Court voids caps on medical malpractice lawsuits,” Bill Cotterell, March 13, 2014

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