Like a number of other states across the U.S., Florida has a cap on medical negligence damages that can be awarded to a plaintiff in a medical malpractice case. Simply put, this means there is a maximum amount of financial compensation that a Florida plaintiff can recover for non-economic damages in a medical malpractice claim under state law. This rule does have some exceptions. Each case is different and will be evaluated by a court on a case-by-case basis. If you or someone you know has been injured in a medical malpractice case, it is best to seek the help of a qualified Miami medical malpractice attorney who can help you get the compensation you deserve.
Medical malpractice refers to medical negligence. It occurs when a healthcare provider does not offer a reasonable standard of care. Under Florida law, an acceptable standard of care is defined as “the level of care, skill and treatment which is recognized as acceptable and appropriate by reasonably prudent, similar healthcare providers under similar circumstances.” In other words, the healthcare professional must act the same way another sensible healthcare professional would act in the same or similar situation. Healthcare providers include physicians, dentists, chiropractors, nurses, and more.
In order to recover damages in a medical malpractice case, the plaintiff must establish the elements of negligence. There are four basic elements that must be present. The healthcare professional must have owed the patient a duty of care, the healthcare professional must have breached the duty of care owed to the patient, the patient must have suffered harm as a direct consequence of the healthcare professional’s breach, and there must be actual damages that the plaintiff can identify.
Florida medical malpractice damages caps only apply to a plaintiff’s non-economic damages. Non-economic damages are typically awarded for things like pain and suffering, mental anguish, anxiety, loss of companionship, scarring, and other subjective losses incurred from the defendant’s malpractice. As mentioned earlier, Florida’s medical malpractice damages cap does not apply to economic damages. On the other hand, economic losses refer to financial losses that a plaintiff sustains due to the defendant’s conduct. Economic damages include things like medical expenses, lost income and benefits, and lost future earning capacity. Economic damages are losses that can be quantified easily.
In the state of Florida, there is a different cap for “medical practitioners” as opposed to “non-practitioners.” A medical practitioner is defined as a licensed physician. It encompasses mistakes made by doctors and healthcare providers. The cap in these cases is $500,000 on non-economic damages per plaintiff. The cap increases to $750,000 in lawsuits against non-practitioner defendants. In instances where an exception applies, the cap may be raised by the court.
If you or someone you know has been harmed because of a healthcare provider’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. Robert Dixon is a highly qualified Miami medical malpractice attorney who has helped countless clients injured by the negligence of doctors. Medical malpractice law is complex, and the help of an experienced lawyer can make all the difference in your case. We handle cases in Miami and throughout South Florida. Contact us online or call us today at 1-877-499-HURT (4878) for a free, confidential consultation.
More Blog Posts:
Understanding Florida’s “Move Over” Laws, South Florida Injury Lawyer Blawg, November 19, 2014
Your Legal Rights After an Airplane Accident, South Florida Injury Lawyer Blawg, November 19, 2014