What is the cap on a medical malpractice award in Florida?


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Question:

I am thinking about suing my doctor for a medical error that he made in my surgery. I have incurred a lot of pain and suffering as a result of what he did. What is the cap on a medical malpractice award in Florida?

Answer:

Like a lot of states, Florida has passed a law that places a limit or “cap” on certain kinds of damages in medical malpractice cases. That means, even when a plaintiff is successful in a lawsuit, these laws effectively limit the amount of money that a jury can award.

Like the majority of states that have passed this kind of law, Florida caps only non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases. So, the cap applies to compensation for things like pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment, and other more subjective losses resulting from the defendant’s malpractice. The cap does not apply to an injured patient’s economic damages (compensation  for past and future medical care, lost income, and any other measurable economic losses attributable to the defendant’s malpractice.)

So, what does the law say? Florida utilizes different caps for “medical practitioner” defendants (i.e. an individual doctor) versus “non-practitioner” defendants (i.e. a corporate health care entity). There is a $500,000 cap on non-economic damages in medical malpractice lawsuits against practitioners, while the cap jumps up to $750,000 in lawsuits against non-practitioner defendants.  A number of exceptions apply, and the court might increase the cap (or do away with it altogether) if a specific case merits doing so.

by: David Goguen, J.D.

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