The Florida Supreme Court upheld a ruling that overturned certain limitations for pain-and-suffering damages in medical malpractice, which was passed by the state legislature and former Gov. Jeb Bush in 2003.
Out of seven justices, four voted in favor of affirming an appellate court ruling on setting caps medical malpractice awards for personal injury cases. The decision found that the 2003 limitations on “non-economic” damages violated the Equal Protection Clause of the state constitution.
Chief Justice Jorge Labarga and three other justices said that there is no need to impose limitations on coverage for medical malpractice victims, amid the lack of proof for a “medical malpractice insurance crisis.”
The said crisis became the main argument among lawmakers who approved the caps in 2003. By overturning the approval, C.W. Smith Law, P.A. further explains that the clients of a Miami or Orland personal injury lawyer will have a higher chance of successfully making claims.
However, Justice Ricky Polston criticized the majority’s actions. He said that the court should leave the task of determining the existence of a medical malpractice crisis to the state legislature.
A 2007 case that involved a Broward County woman served as the root cause for the court decision. Susan Kalitan filed a legal complaint against the Broward North Hospital District, which is now the Broward Health Medical Center.
Kalitan complained about physical and mental damages arising from a tube that pierced her esophagus, as part of her treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome. A court ruling reduced the amount of total awarded damages from $4.7 million to $3.3 million, which led her to the 4th District Court of Appeal for a reinstatement of the award.
The court ruling represents a win for those with personal injury claims in Florida, since it provides them with more protection coverage based on fair and equal terms.