The legal process can take a long time to fully play out. This does not diminish its importance, however. Instead, those cases that make it to the Florida Supreme Court's level are bound to reshape the law as we know it. This can have a significant impact on Floridians, including those affected by medical malpractice. To see just how much of a difference it can make, one need only look to one case before the Supreme Court this month.
In June, the Court will review a case and hear arguments on non-economic damages for personal injury medical malpractice cases. This is a hot-button issue, as in 2014 the Court held that there cannot be a limit on the amount of non-economic damages when medical malpractice resulted in wrongful death.
If the court finds that there is no cap on non-economic damages in the personal injury context, then Floridians affected by medical malpractice may be able to recover larger compensatory awards as a way to punish negligent medical professionals.
On the other hand, if the Court holds that non-economic damages should be capped in medical malpractice personal injury cases, then Floridians may have a tougher time finding the full extent of justice they believe is deserved. Such a ruling would not affect economic damages, though, such as lost wages and medical expenses.
The case before the Court involves a woman who suffered a perforated esophagus while being intubated for anesthesia prior to a carpal-tunnel syndrome operation. Floridians who find themselves in similar situations should not let the outcome of this case affect their decision to pursue legal action. This case focuses on a very specific issue in hospital negligence lawsuits and does not change the standard of care applicable in these cases. Therefore, those who have been hurt by a doctor mistake or error should carefully consider if filing a lawsuit is right for them.
Source: Health News Florida, "Supreme Court Ready To Hear Medical Malpractice, Other Major Cases," Jim Saunders, May 26, 2016