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Unconstitutional Caps in Florida Medical Malpractice Cases


Medical malpractice attorneys at Edwards & Ragatz fight for your constitutional rights. The Florida Supreme Court ruled that caps placed on the amount of money that patients could receive after being injured by mistakes made by medical personnel are unconstitutional. This decision — which the seven justices passed by a 4-3 decision — strikes down the law put into place in 2003. It was widely deemed as a major policy victory for former Florida governor, Jeb Bush.

One concern the state’s Supreme Court had with the law was that the caps appeared to be arbitrary. In addition, while lawmakers were trying to contain malpractice insurance rates, there was no proof that the caps were doing so. There was also no current crisis that would justify having the caps in place. In fact, the justices noted that having the caps in place was unfair to those people who were injured most severely by the mistakes of medical personnel.

Jacksonville injury lawyer will not settle for the minimum offered The law attempted to limit the amount of non-economic damages that could be levied against doctors who were found guilty of medical malpractice to $500,000. In catastrophic cases, the cap was raised to $1 million. Then-Governor Bush called lawmakers back to Tallahassee three times in order to get the bill passed.

The case at the heart of the state Supreme Court’s ruling involved a woman, Susan Kalitan, who entered a Broward County hospital for wrist surgery in an attempt to address her carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms. During the surgery, Susan’s esophagus was punctured by an anesthesia tube. Upon waking, the woman complained of severe chest and back pain. Unaware of the injury to her esophagus, her doctors gave Susan pain medication and sent her home.

The next day, a neighbor found Susan unconscious and she was rushed back to the hospital. There, doctors performed surgery designed to save her life. Susan was placed in a drug-induced coma for a number of weeks and also needed additional surgeries. She also required intensive therapy in order to be able to get again. Susan continues to suffer pain as well as mental anguish.

During her medical malpractice lawsuit, Susan was awarded $2 million by a jury for her past pain and suffering. She was also awarded $2 million for her future suffering and pain. Although the judge ruled that her injuries were catastrophic, the woman’s award was still reduced by around $3.3 million in order to abide by the law regarding caps. A separate law limits the amount of liability for a government-run hospital to $100,000. Jacksonville injury lawyer at Edwards & Ragatz don’t accept that as an answer.

The Supreme Court’s ruling not only helps this patient, it will also affect more plaintiffs if they must file a medical malpractice lawsuit in the future. Instead of having to settle for less of an award than they deserve, the striking down of the law on caps allows these injured patients to obtain the awards they deserve — both for their past pain and suffering as well as any pain and suffering they might experience in the future.

Medical malpractice lawsuits require someone who will stand up for your rights. If you or a loved one suffered from any form of medical malpractice, allow a Jacksonville injury lawyer to provide a free consultation. An attorney can provide you with legal assistance to determine if you have a case and help you receive compensation for your injuries. Contact an esteemed personal Jacksonville medical malpractice attorney at Edwards & Ragatz for a free consultation: (904) 295-1050 or through our website

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