Medical malpractice laws in Florida have been the subject of public debate for the better part of the last 15 years. Now, it looks as though the state Supreme Court is ready to once again consider changes that could overhaul how these claims move forward.
The court heard a case from Broward County that arose out of 2007 injuries suffered by a woman named Susan Kalitan, who went to receive surgery for carpal tunnel syndrome and came away with a perforated esophagus after tubes were improperly inserted into her esophagus and mouth during anesthesia. The issue in question is once again what was the most controversial issue in 2003 changes to medical malpractice system: whether or not non-economic damages (such as pain and suffering) should be capped.
When Kalitan’s case went to trial, a jury awarded her $4 million in non-economic damages. However, that amount had to be reduced by approximately $2 million because of the caps, which the Florida legislature established in 2003.
State Supreme Court justices are debating whether there is a rational basis for the cap. The caps were put in place in 2003 because of a so-called crisis in the medical malpractice field that existed more than two decades ago. However, an attorney representing defendants in the Kalitan case says that her case is not appropriate for determining whether there is actually a malpractice insurance crisis.
The Florida Supreme Court heard arguments in the case nonetheless, and is expected to release its decision soon. For more information about medical malpractice laws in the Sunshine State, contact a trusted Bradenton personal injury attorney with Goldman, Babboni, Fernandez, Murphy & Walsh.