The Florida Supreme Court just ruled that a law limiting non-economic damages (pain and suffering, emotional distress, mental anguish, etc.) is unconstitutional, nullifying the controversial law passed by the Florida legislature back in 2003.

The divided Court handed down the 4-3 ruling, with the majority of Justices holding that the arbitrary caps on non-economic damages violated equal protection rights.  Essentially, these caps meant that, in most cases, victims of Florida malpractice were limited in the amount of compensation they could recover in a lawsuit, regardless of how severe their injuries may be.

The majority opined, “We conclude that the caps on non-economic damages arbitrarily reduce damages awards for plaintiffs who suffer the most drastic injuries.”  From our perspective, this ruling got it right.  While there may be some valid concerns that frivolous lawsuits might have an ancillary impact on medical malpractice insurance rates for health care providers, the impact that medical malpractice can have on Florida victims can be catastrophic.  For example, to say that a Florida medical malpractice victim that was left paralyzed due to a doctor’s negligence should be limited in the amount of compensation he can receive, despite what a jury of his peers determined was appropriate, is ludicrous.

Every person who brings a claim for Florida medical malpractice should be able to seek justice in our courts based on the individual circumstances of their case and not be restricted by legislators who never took their individual circumstances into consideration.  There is no question that doctors, nurses and other healthcare providers have extremely difficult jobs, and that like everyone else, they can make mistakes.  But the gravity of those mistakes should be determined on an individual basis so that deserving victims of Florida medical malpractice are not punished unnecessarily.

This ruling by the Florida Supreme Court restores the balance of power between the victims of medical malpractice and the powerful special interests in the healthcare industry that are only concerned about their profit margin, as opposed to the quality of care they provide to those in need of care.

If you or someone you know has been the victim of Florida medical malpractice, it is imperative that you contact a skilled and experienced Fort Lauderdale medical malpractice attorney, to ensure that your interests are competently represented.

For more information, please contact the Schulman Law Group at (954) 349-3300 or at info@schulaw.com