Florida Supreme Court to hear another Case that could Test Limits in Medical Malpractice Cases
Orlando personal injury lawyers will be closely monitoring developments in an upcoming case before the Florida Supreme Court to see how it might impact caps on damages in malpractice cases. The controversial 2003 law was strongly supported by former Governor Jeb Bush and passed by state legislators, much to the dismay of malpractice victims and medical malpractice lawyers across the state.
The upcoming case scheduled before the Court involves a woman named Kimberly Ann Miles, who suffered complications in early 2003 after what she said was an unnecessary surgery on her leg. A jury awarded her and her husband $1.5 million in damages for pain and suffering, but lower courts reduced that amount to $500,000 due to limits in the medical malpractice law, which was passed after the case was decided in 2003.
The Court must now decide whether or not damage limits should apply to injuries suffered before the law took effect – a legal concept known as "retroactivity." Miles and her husband filed the malpractice lawsuit against physician Daniel Weingrad in January 2006, nearly three years after the injury.
Miles’ attorneys state in court documents that applying the limits retroactively violated her constitutional due-process rights. However, the defendant’s lawyers argued that state lawmakers included the possibility of retroactivity in the 2003 law because it was dealing with a medical malpractice "crisis" that was driving up insurance premiums for Florida doctors. Weingrad’s legal team issued a brief, which said:
"It is clear that the legislature weighed the depth of the medical malpractice crisis against any potential unfairness or due process concerns that would be implicated by the application of the caps. In doing so, it only applied the caps to plaintiffs who had not yet served notices of intent or complaints and thus could not have conceivably had any tangible expectations of a particular award for non-economic damages."
Miles’ lawyers disputed the claim, saying that lawmakers never placed an emphasis on making the cap limits retroactive. The Supreme Court justices are scheduled to hear arguments in the case on June 4.
Cap limits may sound reasonable to people who have never been injured or suffered diminished quality of life from medical malpractice. However, many malpractice victims endure injuries that require ongoing treatment, which would quickly exhaust the cap limit currently in place. If you believe that you or a loved one is a victim of medical malpractice and you would like to speak with an Orlando medical malpractice lawyer with decades of experience and success in malpractice cases, call Mr. Cunningham today at 877-FL-INJURY (877-354-6587) and schedule a free consultation.
James O. Cunningham
Since 1977, personal injury lawyer James Cunningham has provided effective legal advocacy to people who are injured through the negligent actions of another person or entity throughout the Central Florida area. He fights to obtain recoveries for his clients’ physical and emotional pain and suffering and pursues his clients’ personal injury cases with a commitment to excellence and impeccable preparation.
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