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Nicoletti Walker Law Group Sept. 9, 2020

In Florida, victims of medical malpractice can now get the compensation they need and deserve. The state has recently played host to a debate over whether damages arising from medical malpractice should be limited. The debate caught fire after damages awarded to the family of a 20-year-old woman who bled to death following a caesarian section for the birth of her son at a Florida hospital in 2006 were reduced from $2 million to $1 million. The judge who reduced the award relied on the authority of a 2003 state medical malpractice overhaul law. In an unequivocally positive development for victims of medical malpractice, the Florida Supreme Court overruled the heart of the law, holding that the limit on wrongful death non-economic damages violates the state constitution’s equal protection clause. The effect of the court’s ruling will be to strike the limit on non-economic damages when an individual dies, wrongfully, as a result of medical malpractice.

Understanding Florida’s Wrongful Death Law

A “wrongful death” occurs when an individual dies as a result of the wrongful conduct of another person. This conduct can be intentional, negligent, careless, or reckless. Medical malpractice is almost never intentional. Still, regardless of intent, physicians can be held financially responsible for injuries that occur as a result of practices of medicine that fall below state standards.

Years ago, a person’s death also marked the death of any legal claims available to them. Fortunately for medical malpractice victims, the law has evolved and now allows certain family members of a wrongful death victim to seek compensation for lost financial and emotional support. Specifically, the Florida Wrongful Death Act allows a wrongful death victim’s spouse to seek monetary damages, as well as children, parents, and any other relative or adoptive sibling who was financially or emotionally dependent on the deceased.

Common examples of medical malpractice include anesthesia errors, mistakes during childbirth, and failures to diagnose heart disease or cancer. These examples, along with many other forms of medical malpractice, commonly involve negligence. Negligence in the medical malpractice context occurs when a physician breaches a duty to provide a certain standard of care, and that breach is the actual and proximate cause of damages suffered by the patient.

What to Do if You or A Loved One Has Been the Victim of Medical Malpractice in Florida

Have you or a loved one been the victim of medical malpractice in Florida? If so, you may have a claim for damages. Thanks to the Florida Supreme Court’s recent ruling, any damage award you receive will no longer limit non-economic damages such as pain and suffering or loss of emotional support. Time is of the essence in filing medical malpractice claim, so it is imperative that you contact an experienced Florida personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. The attorneys at Mike Walker Law will explain the legal options available to you, aggressively represent your interests, and work to recover the compensation you need and deserve.