In a ground breaking decision, the Florida Supreme Court has ruled that the Florida law capping damages in medical malpractice cases for “non economic” damages, (also known as pain and suffering), is unconstitutional as a violation of Florida’s guarantee of equal protection.
The Florida Supreme Court described the law as not passing the “rational basis test” and described it as unfair to those parties suffering injuries or lost loved ones resulting from medical negligence based on a remand from the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in the Estate of McCall v. United States, 663F. Supp.2nd 1276 (N.D.Fla. 2009).
The law limited the amounts awardable in ways and in amounts only in terms of medical malpractice cases. Victims who suffered injuries or survivors of victims of wrongful death were limited in their recovery for acts of medical negligence, but victims of any other type of negligence were not.
It was a bad law when it passed and had devastating effects on victims of medical negligence. Thankfully, the Supreme Court has recognized the obvious constitutional inconsistency and stark unfairness of the law.
Hopefully, the Florida legislature in its efforts to protect careless doctors, hospitals and big insurance companies, will give more consideration to the constitutional rights of the victims, and families of victims, of preventable medical negligence. We are grateful to our thoughtful and right minded Supreme Court.