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Florida Supreme Court rejects arbitrary limits in wrongful death cases


Posted on Mar 15, 2014

The Florida Supreme Court has just overturned a 2003 law that imposed arbitrary limits on damages for pain and suffering in wrongul death claims. In that case, the Plaintiffs argued that Florida's limits on damages for non-economic harm violated the rights of victims of negligence to equal protection under the law, access to courts, and sepration of powers under the constitution.

In the court's decision, the court wrote "The statutory cap on wrongful death noneconomic damages fails because it imposes unfair and illogical burdens on injured parties when an act of medical negligence gives rise to multiple claimants. In such circumstances, medical malpractice claimants do not receive the same rights to full compensation  because of arbitrarily diminished compensation for legally cognizable claims."

The court further pointed out that a "... statutory cap on wrongful death noneconomic damages does not bear a rational relationship to the stated purpose that the cap is purported to address, the alleged medical malpractice crisis..." Claims by doctors and insurance companies that a medical malpractice crisis was threatening access to medical care was found to be dubious at best. And, between 2003 and 2010, there were four insurance companies that insure doctor that enjoyed an increase in their net income of more than 4,300 percent. It is not injured victims who are hurting doctors, its their own insurance companies who are pocketing records profits, while at the same time publicly blaming the victims of medical malpractice.

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