Florida Finds Medical Malpractice Cap Unconstitutional And Protects Patient Rights


Medical malpractice caps on compensation are the worst. Yes, there are major health care issues and insurance issues occurring in the United States, if not the world. But the way to solve these problems is not to prevent victims—who are actually hurt—from recovering the compensation they deserve. Car insurance has skyrocketed over the years, and there are certainly many more car accidents than medical malpractice cases, but we don’t limit those victims.

The problem to the health care system is not to take away victim’s rights and avenues to the courts, but to correct the problems within the healthcare system itself. Said differently, the solution is not changing the law but fixing the medical problems.

While there have been serious national headlines pushing to change the laws throughout the United States to cap medical malpractice damages, and some states have done it, New York is not quite there yet. Thankfully victims of New York medical malpractice have their rights protected.

And in Florida, they do now too. According to news outlets, the Florida Supreme Court rules that the 2003 law in Florida limiting the pain and suffering damages in medical malpractice cases is unconstitutional. A huge victory for victims of medical malpractice. They found that caps on non-economic damages (such as pain and suffering) violated the equal protection rights of victims.

Specifically, the Supreme Court admitted there was a healthcare crisis and insurance crisis, but found the caps on non-economic damages to arbitrarily reduce damage awards for victims who have suffered the most drastic of injuries. Further, the Supreme Court said that there was no rational relationship between personal injury noneconomic damage caps and alleviating the purported healthcare insurance crisis.

Now, as a medical malpractice lawyer you may be saying that I am biased in this decision. After all, I would get a certain percentage of the award. So the higher the award, the higher I get. If there is no cap, I can get as much as awarded. However, in New York, a medical malpractice lawyer does not get one third (33%) of the total award like other personal injury lawyers.

In fact, the higher award that a medical malpractice victim receives, the lower the percentage goes! In some instances, a medical malpractice lawyer may only get 10% of the total award, which is grossly low compared to other types of cases such as car accidents and even workers’ compensation which is 15% because cases move quickly. The state default for interest rate on judgments is 9%, which some medical malpractice lawyers will not even get more than that 9%!