Are med mal caps helpful? That depends on whom you ask: doctors and insurance carriers or everybody else.
Prior to Florida's cap law in 2003, an injured medical malpractice victim (plaintiff) could sue for an unlimited amount in damages, provided that she could justify the amount. Consequently, plaintiffs often received damages awards for millions of dollars, primarily supported by non-economic damages like future pain and suffering.
Then, the ripple effect started. Insurance carriers grew tired of losing money by routinely paying multi-million dollar awards in medical malpractice claims. They compensated for the loss by raising malpractice premiums for all doctors. (Sound familiar? Insurance carriers also raise everyone's auto premiums when they have recently had to pay excessive damages for auto-related claims.)
Soon thereafter, doctors began complaining that their premiums were too costly-so high that it was not economically possible to practice medicine in Florida. In fact, many doctors threatened to leave Florida and practice in a state where malpractice insurance was more affordable.
With the medical profession complaining and threatening and the insurance carriers claiming that their hands were tied, the Florida legislature passed a cap law in 2003. This law limits the amount of non-economic damages that a medical malpractice plaintiff may receive to $500,000 per medical defendant. In other words, a plaintiff suing a single doctor or hospital for pain and suffering damages may by law receive no more than a $500,000 award, even if she can prove that her damages are worth significantly more.
Not surprisingly, doctors and insurance carriers support capping laws. Insurance carriers like capping because it not only substantially decreases the potential damages award (from unlimited to $500,000 max), but it also makes damages awards more predictable. Doctors like capping because it keeps their malpractice premiums steady. In fact, many proponents claim that the Florida cap law has brought stability to the medical care industry in Florida.
As an experienced Ocala med mal lawyer, my opinion is that perhaps med mal caps may be helpful, but at whose expense!
For more information please see:
Post a comment
Post a Comment to ""Caps on Damages Awards Helpful? Ocala Medical Malpractice Lawyer Gives Opinion"To reply to this message, enter your reply in the box labeled "Message", hit "Post Message."