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Florida supreme court: Medical malpractice cap unconstitutional

Last week, the Florida Supreme Court struck down a $1 million cap on noneconomic damages in medical malpractice cases. The decision may or may not have caught the attention of people in Ohio, but it should have.

Even though the ruling only affects patients in Florida, it may symbolize a high-water mark for medical malpractice reform in America.

"The statutory cap on wrongful death non-economic damages does not bear a rational relationship to the stated purpose that the cap is purported to address, the alleged medical malpractice insurance crisis in Florida," the court opined.

The court made a high-profile statement about medical malpractice that experts and attorneys have been screaming for years: Medical malpractice has virtually nothing to do with the out-of-control cost of health care and malpractice insurance.

The political lashing that medical malpractice lawsuits have received has not only been unwarranted, it has been incredibly injurious to many patients and families.

Damage caps have slashed the amount of money that medical malpractice victims can recover, leading to many instances where a jury would award a fair amount to a plaintifff, only to have the amount decimated by state laws.

Like most states, Ohio has severely weakened patients' ability to receive just compensation through medical malpractice damage caps. Let's hope that Ohio, like Florida, has reached the high-water mark in medical malpractice reform.

Source: Reuters News, "Florida Supreme Court Voids Caps On Medical Malpractice Lawsuits," Bill Cotterell, March 13, 2014

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