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A Florida bill may reduce medical malpractice award amounts

A panel of Florida House lawmakers reintroduced a bill on March 13 aimed at capping damages in medical malpractice cases. A similar bill was initially proposed by lawmakers back in 2003 and later declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in 2017.

The latest proposed bill, which is known as the Proposed Committee Bill (PCB) Civil Justice Subcommittee (CJS) 19-02, would cap how much compensation for pain and suffering that a medical malpractice victor can win in their case.

The original 2003 law limited how much medical malpractice plaintiffs could receive depending on who the defendants were and the number of claimants that they were.

PCB CJS 19-02 is written whereby pain and suffering damages would be limited to $1 million in any wrongful-death or personal injury cases that didn't result from medical malpractice.

Some Democrats argued for an amendment to PCB CJS 19-02 allowing the fathers and mothers of adult children to recover damages in medical malpractice on behalf of their kids. They were backed by the Florida Justice Association. They argued that the existing law minimized the value of individuals' lives and protected physicians and hospitals too much.

Proponents of the proposed bill championed how the bill's passing would result in lower liability insurance premiums for physicians. They argued that this would actually motivate them to not make mistakes. They argued that by allowing parents to file suit on behalf of their adult children, that it would cause costs to go up.

Other lawmakers proposed an amendment to PCB CJS 19-02, specifically as it relates to the elimination of letters of protection and coverage for phantom costs. They argued that, if these were eliminated, then it would limit the amount that they could recover by filing suit.

Time will only tell what version of this bill ultimately gets passed and how Governor Ron DeSantis' three newly-appointed conservative Supreme Court Justices rule on its constitutionality in the future.

Medical malpractice can take on many forms. Doctors may provide their patients with a delayed diagnosis, misdiagnose them, prescribe the wrong medication or make an error during a surgical procedure or childbirth. If your medical provider's negligence has caused a decline in your health or a significant injury, then a medical malpractice attorney can provide you with the representation you need to get the compensation that you deserve.

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