The Florida Supreme Court has heard arguments from both sides regarding the constitutionality of medical malpractice caps, which were enacted in 2003. According to the law, non-economic damages are capped at $500,000, except in the event of catastrophic injury or death, in which case the cap rises to $1 million. The law limits emergency service caps at $150,000 and $300,000. If someone other than a licensed health care provider commits medical malpractice, the caps are $750,000 and $1.5 million, the Insurance Journal reports.
The court is hearing the case of Michelle McCall, whose family members filed a lawsuit after Michelle bled to death shortly after giving birth to a child. In that case, the jury awarded the McCall estate $2 million in non-economic damages for pain and suffering; however the award was cut in half due to the state’s medical malpractice caps. An attorney for the McCall estate argued that cutting the damage award in half violated Michelle’s constitutional rights. “To the extent that there is $1 million in compensatory injury that is not being compensated, there is a limit on the access to courts.” An attorney for the state rebutted any access to court denial.
The court will now render an opinion on the whether the medical malpractice caps continue to be justifiable and constitutional.