Medical malpractice caps

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Medical Malpractice Lawyer Clearwater

On July 31, 2012, the Missouri Supreme Court held that the 2005 Missouri law capping noneconomic damages at $350,000 in medical malpractice action is violates a plaintiff’s right to a jury trial by his or here peers (noneconomic damages are those damages that are not easily ascertainable e.g. pain, suffering, loss of enjoyment (not being able to pick up your child, not being able to have sex or reproduce…etc).  This principal has been embedded in the Missouri Constitution since in 1820.  Almost 30 states have laws in place that limit damages in medical liability cases, in an attempt to reform tort law, or so-called “tort reform”. Caps vary from state to state as an attempt to contain medical costs, although there is no evidence that caps help do this. Courts have overturned caps as unconstitutional in at least 11 states.

The Supreme Court’s majority pointed to the Bill of Rights of the Missouri Constitution, which states “that the right of a trial by jury as heretofore enjoyed shall remain inviolate.” The court wrote that when the constitution was enacted in 1820, Missourians had a common law right to seek damages for medical malpractice claims. Therefore, “any limit on damages that restricts the jury’s fact-finding role violates the constitutional right to trial by jury,” the court said in a majority opinion written by Chief Justice Richard Teitelman.

The Florida Supreme Court is set to hand down a decision on the fate of Florida’s caps on damages in medical malpractice cases. The case made its way to the Florida Supreme court as the United States District Court for the Northern District of Florida had to decide whether the caps are constitutional in the case Evette McCall v. United States of America SC11-1145 that addresses the malpractice law.

Florida Medical Malpractice statute

http://www.flsenate.gov/laws/statutes/2011/766.118Picture of a brain injury in a medical malpractice case.

In 2003 the Florida Legislature enacted this law, the medical malpractice law imposes a $500,000 cap on non-economic damages (e.g. suffering due to death of a spouse or parent), an amount that increases to $1 million in the event of a catastrophic injury or death. The cap for emergency services is set even lower at $150,000 not to exceed $300,000. If the plaintiff can show negligence on the part of someone other than a licensed health care provider, the caps are set at $750,000 and $1.5 million, regardless of where the medical services were provided. There is no tell when the Florida Supreme court will render this medical malpractice opinion.

If you believe that you or a loved one was injured or killed as a result of medical negligence or Medical malpractice, please contact me today. 727-386-9677

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