The Florida Supreme Court recently ruled that a law putting a cap on damages in medical malpractice cases is unconstitutional. This cap was a controversial change that the Florida Legislature made in 2003. In 2008, a lawsuit stemmed from a complaint by a patient who was awarded $4 million in non-economic damages, which was then reduced to $2 million due to the cap. This triggered the latest ruling by the Florida Supreme Court.
Justices argued that the caps on non-economic (or pain and suffering) damages “arbitrarily reduce damage awards for plaintiffs who suffer the most drastic injuries.” The reasoning behind the change made in 2003 was due to what appeared to be a crisis of high malpractice insurance premiums. The justices argued that there is no evidence that such a crisis exists.
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