The Florida Supreme Court recently decided placing a cap on someone's medical malpractice reward for "pain-and-suffering" goes against the Constitution.
The Justices were divided between the decision, the Tallahassee Democrat reports. Four members needed to agree that damages not related to tangible losses should be protected. Opposing Justices argued that "crisis" insurance was set in place for this type of compensation.
The majority opinion made this statement:
"We conclude that the caps on noneconomic damages... arbitrarily reduce damage awards for plaintiffs who suffer the most drastic injuries. We further conclude that because there is no evidence of a continuing medical malpractice insurance crisis justifying the arbitrary and invidious discrimination between medical malpractice victims, there is no rational relationship between the personal injury noneconomic damage caps... and alleviating this purported crisis. Therefore, we hold that the caps on personal injury noneconomic damages... violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Florida Consitution."
The decision "stemmed" from the Broward County case. In 2007, Susan Kalitan went in for carpal-tunnel surgery. Due to tubes being inserted into her mouth while she was receiving amnesia, she obtained a perforated esophagus.
She sued in 2008 and was given $4 million in "noneconomic" damages. However, according to a 2003 law which placed a cap on noneconomic damages, her reward was reduced $2 million.
After a wrongful-death case in 2014, the Florida Supreme Court decided the cap was unconstitutional. The decision to overrule this law was "an extension of a 2014 Supreme Court ruling that found caps unconstitutional in wrongful-death malpractice cases."
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