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.