Florida Supreme Court Overturns Medical Malpractice Damage Cap

The ruling may spark other states to only allow fact-based measures of tort reform

malpractice-thumb-170x255-31512.jpgMedical malpractice lawsuits have long been the political scapegoat for the exorbitant cost of U.S. healthcare. Although facts have never supported claims that malpractice lawsuits are the cause of rising medical malpractice insurance premiums and healthcare costs in general, politicians have used these allegations as a platform to spark tort reform in every U.S. state.

It has been maddening for injured patients and the attorneys that represent them, as the laws have decimated victims' ability to receive sufficient compensation after they are wrongly harmed in a hospital or doctor's office.

The Florida Supreme Court recently acted as a voice of reason, emphatically overturning a state medical malpractice damage cap. The court stated that evidence did not support the reasoning used to create 2003 damage cap, that a malpractice insurance crisis was causing doctors to flee the Sunshine State.

It's encouraging that Florida's highest court boldly struck down the cap, allowing the plaintiffs in the case to recover noneconomic damages surpassing Florida's $1 million cap. The underlying case involved the death of a 20-year-old woman during childbirth.

Hopefully, other states will follow Florida's lead and turn back tort reform measures that were created on fictitious grounds.

Source: LA Times, "Sanity On 'Malpractice Reform' - From Florida, Of All Places," Michael Hiltzik, March 19, 2014

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