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Is There a Cap On Medical Malpractice Claims in Florida?

February 15, 2024 Legal Team
doctor wearing stethoscope with arms crossed with the caption: "DAMAGES ON MEDICAL MALPRACTICE CASES IN FLORIDA"

Medical malpractice is a grave personal injury claim involving injuries to vulnerable victims by the very professionals they trusted to make them well. Doctors and other medical providers have a special duty of care to treat their patients at the level of care accepted by the medical community or the way a reasonable provider would in the same circumstances. When they breach this duty of care it’s an act of negligence—sometimes with catastrophic results. Victims of medical malpractice in Florida may file malpractice lawsuits to recover their economic losses and compensation for non-economic consequences. These losses are the victim’s  “damages” in a medical malpractice claim.

For decades, lawmakers in the Sunshine State have gone back and forth on whether or not there should be caps in place for compensation for damages in medical malpractice claims in Florida.

Changes to Florida’s Medical Malpractice Laws

The most recent changes to the malpractice compensation laws in Florida took effect in March of 2023, with new damages caps in place for non-economic damages in medical malpractice lawsuits. These caps limit the compensation victims of medical malpractice in Florida may recover for non-economic damages like pain and suffering or emotional trauma. This comes after decades of contentious back-and-forth measures for placing caps on medical malpractice claims in Florida. In 2003, Florida’s legislature placed similar caps on damages in medical malpractice claims. The court struck those caps down over a decade later as unconstitutional. Now, Florida’s new laws place caps on an injury victim’s compensation for non-economic damages after the Senate Judiciary Committee voted 8-2 on SB 248 to add the provisions.

How Does the New Cap on Medical Malpractice Claims in Florida Affect My Case?

There are no caps in place for economic damages in a Florida malpractice case. This means the new provisions do not limit the compensation available in a malpractice claim for tangible damages like medical costs, lost income, or diminished future earning capacity. However, the amount of compensation available for intangible, non-economic damages like pain and suffering, emotional trauma, and loss of companionship is now subject to caps. The new law puts the following limits in place:

  • Medical practitioners may be liable for non-economic damages of up to $500,000 for most injuries caused by the provider’s negligence
  • If the medical malpractice injury caused a persistent vegetative state or wrongful death, family members may claim up to $1 million in compensation for non-economic damages
  • Non-practitioners such as hospitals or medical facilities may be held liable for up to $750,000 for personal injury resulting from negligence or 1.5 million for a permanent vegetative state or wrongful death

These caps are in place regardless of how many practitioners are liable in an individual case. For emergency doctors and Medicaid practitioners, the cap may be even lower.

Why Are Caps Now in Place For Florida Medical Malpractice Claims?

Those arguing against the new provisions capping non-economic damages cite the fact that families who’ve lost a loved one due to medical malpractice will now have to divide the $1 million allowable compensation for their non-economic damages like grief and anguish amongst several family members while previously larger families with multiple dependents could claim a larger monetary amount for the non-economic damages associated with the loss. Those arguing for the caps assert that the changes will attract more doctors to Florida.

If you have been injured in a medical malpractice case in Florida, reach out to the Sarasota and Bradenton medical malpractice attorneys at Shapiro | Delgado | Hofmann to get the compensation and justice you deserve. Contact us today to learn how we can help.