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Does Florida cap medical malpractice damages?
Yes. Like many other states, Florida has a number of laws on
the books that limit or “cap” certain damages
that are available to a medical malpractice plaintiff who has been
successful in a lawsuit against a doctor or other health care professional.
As is the case in most states, Florida’s medical malpractice
damage caps apply only to a plaintiff’s non-economic damages. That means
compensation for things like pain and suffering, mental anguish, anxiety, loss
of companionship, scarring, disfigurement, and other subjective losses stemming
from the defendant’s malpractice.
Florida also utilizes different caps for “medical
practitioners” (cases involving errors
by doctors and other care providers) versus “non-practitioner” defendants.
There is a $500,000 cap on non-economic damages in medical malpractice lawsuits
against practitioners, while the cap jumps up to $750,000 in lawsuits against
non-practitioner defendants. A number of
exceptions apply, and the court might increase the cap (or do away with it
altogether) if a specific case merits doing so.
It is important to note that, while Florida’s medical
malpractice damage caps can get complicated, one thing remains clear: these
caps do not apply to an injured patient’s economic damages. In other words, there
is no limit on the amount of compensation a medical malpractice plaintiff can
recover for past and future medical care necessitated by the malpractice, lost
income, lost future earning capacity, and any other measurable economic losses
attributable to the defendant’s malpractice.
by: David Goguen, J.D.
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