Is There A Cap On Damages In A Florida Medical Malpractice Case?
Recovering compensation is the point of a medical malpractice claim, but you might not realize that assessing the details for monetary damages is rather complicated. Even when you meet the requirements of Florida’s medical negligence statute and can prove that your physician breached the standard of care, you must still prove your losses. These are the ways that your med mal injuries impact your life physically, financially, and emotionally. In many US states, there are statutory caps on certain types of damages, so a patient cannot recover in excess of the threshold amount.
Fortunately, the statutory cap on damages that DID exist in Florida was found unconstitutional in 2017. There is no limitation on compensation currently in effect for med mal cases, so it is encouraging to know that you can still receive fair monetary damages for your losses. However, there are still complications with every aspect of the legal process, so retaining a Miami medical malpractice lawyer is a must. A few points about compensation and statutory caps on damages may also be helpful.
Two Types of Compensation in Med Mal Claims
Initially, you should be aware that there are different categories of damages in a medical negligence claim. Both aim to compensate you for your losses, but there are distinct differences:
- Economic damages include the ascertainable, tangible losses that you can evaluate in terms of dollar value. They include medical expenses, lost income, and out-of-pocket costs you incur for treatment, such as pain medications. Your receipts and invoices act as proof for economic damages.
- Noneconomic damages cannot be assessed by dollar value, though you definitely suffer quality of life issues from medical malpractice injuries. This category includes pain and suffering, emotional anguish, and scarring and disfigurement. Medical records and input from medical experts are usually required to prove noneconomic damages.
Florida allows for punitive damages in some cases involving outrageous, fraudulent, reckless, or malicious acts, but these factors are rarely present in medical malpractice cases.
How Statutory Caps Work
The point of a statutory cap is to limit noneconomic damages, which can be sky-high in med mal claims. In states that have enacted these laws, there is usually a maximum amount a patient can recover. Some jurisdictions have a flat amount, while others apply a cap that increases annually to account for inflation. The laws might impact your legal rights if you received care in a state that restricts these damages, though choice of law issues play a role.
Besides knowing that Florida does not have one, the other important point about statutory caps is that they only affect noneconomic damages. You can still recover the full amount of economic damages in a med mal claim.
Discuss Damages with a Florida Medical Malpractice Attorney
There may not be a statutory cap affecting your case, but retaining experienced legal counsel is still essential for other legal tasks with med mal claims. For more information, please contact Freidin Brown, P.A. to set up a free consultation at our offices in Miami or Fort Myers.