Florida Medical Malpractice Cap Upheld by US Appeals Court

A law that caps noneconomic damages for Florida medical malpractice at about $500,000 per doctor has been upheld by the federal appeals court in Atlanta. The court rejected a family’s claim that the cap was in violation of federal and state laws.
Instead, the court found that the state law “passes muster” and dismissed the plaintiffs claims that the law deprives them of their right to obtain just compensation.

The plaintiffs are the family of Michelle McCall, who died in 2006 after giving birth to her son. Her loved ones claimed that not only did a nurse fail to notify a doctor that McCall’s blood pressure was incredibly low during a surgical procedure, but also the doctor never personally checked her vitals.

Following a bench trial, a judge in Florida said that McCall’s estate was entitled to $2 million in noneconomic damages. However, because of Florida’s medical malpractice cap, that amount had to be reduced to $1 million. (Although state lawmakers adopted new rules in 2003 that let victims get any award for economic damages, the cap limited the amount of noneconomic damages.)

Examples of Florida Medical Malpractice:

• Anesthesia errors
• Wrong diagnosis
• Delayed diagnosis
• Wrong site surgery
• Failure to obtain informed consent
• Failure to provide proper post-surgery care
• Failure to monitor a patient’s vitals
• Surgical errors
• Birthing malpractice
• Performing the incorrect procedure on a patient
• Accidentally leaving surgical tools in a patient
• Medication mix-ups

The federal appeals court is asking the Florida Supreme Court to tackle a number of yet unresolved issues, such as whether the state’s medical malpractice cap is in violation of the family’s right to a jury trial.

US appeals court upholds Fla. med. malpractice cap, Miami Herald/AP, May 27, 2011
Read the Opinion


Related Web Resources:

Medical Malpractice, New York Times
Empowered Patient, CNN


More Blog Posts:

Man to File Lauderhill Medical Malpractice Lawsuit in Wife’s Broward County Wrongful Death Following Butt Enhancement Surgery, South Florida Injury Lawyer, April 29, 2011
Man Files Florida Medical Malpractice Lawsuit Filed Against Hospital Over Wife’s 2008 Wrongful Death, South Florida Injury Lawyer, February 12, 2011
In South Florida, contact our Miami medical malpractice lawyers today.