If you have suffered an injury as the result of a doctor or hospital error, you likely have incurred serious damages. You may be dealing with heavy medical expenses to treat your injury and aid in recovering, as well as lost wages while you undergo treatment. Depending on the type and severity of your injury, you may be looking at permanent, ongoing disability, which will require you to make dramatic changes in your daily life. Medical malpractice injuries can impact virtually every area of daily living, and you may be unable to participate in the hobbies and activities you once enjoyed, while your relationships with family members and loved ones suffers. If you have a medical malpractice claim that involves a serious injury, you are entitled to certain types of damages meant to compensate you for your losses. Unfortunately, caps on the amount of damages the court allow people injured in medical malpractice cases may make it harder for you to get the compensation you deserve.
Florida News On Damage Caps
A July 2015 article on medical malpractice claims and damage caps in the Orlando Sentinel outlines some of the problems faced by people who have suffered these kinds of injuries. The story highlights the case of a Broward County woman who had surgery for carpal tunnel syndrome. She sued the hospital system and the anesthesiologist after suffering a perforated esophagus during the procedure. The mistake resulted in her being put into a medically induced, three-week coma, while doctors and surgeons struggled to repair the damage. She sued the parties responsible for her injuries and won her case, but the judge was obligated to reduce the damages she received as they were in excess of the Florida damage cap.
She appealed her case and won, and was awarded the full amount of damages from the court. . The appeals court followed the Florida Supreme Court’s opinion on the matter by ruling that the damage caps were unconstitutional in personal injury medical malpractice cases. The caps were originally put in place in 2003, after concerns from doctors and hospitals over soaring medical costs.
Florida Damage Cap Laws
Chapter 766 of the Florida State Statutes lays out the court rules governing medical malpractice cases. People who are injured in Florida have a right to claim the following damages in medical malpractice cases:
- Economic damages – These are actual damages based on losses which include medical expenses and hospital costs associated with the injury, as well as lost wages.
- Punitive damages – These are awarded in cases of medical negligence. Punitive damages are a form of compensation meant to punish the at fault party, and to deter others from engaging in similar behavior.
- Non-economic damages – These damages are for things which may be hard to quantify or assign a dollar amount to, such as pain and suffering, or mental anguish caused by the injury.
Under Section 766.118 of the Florida Code, non-economic damages are capped at a certain amount, depending on whether it is a medical practitioner or non-medical practitioner who is being sued. In cases involving catastrophic injuries to patients, where injuries are severe, disabling and life threatening, these caps can end up keeping injured people from getting the compensation they need in order to survive and live with their injury.
Let Us Help You Today
If you or a loved one has suffered an injury as the result of mistakes or complications in getting treatment, contact our experienced Florida medical malpractice and personal injury attorneys. At Hogan Frick, with offices in Orlando, Gainesville, Ocala, Kissimmee, and Lakeland, our attorneys may be able to assist you in getting the compensation you deserve, including medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Call or contact us online today for a free review of your case.