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How much can I win in a medical malpractice lawsuit?

by | Jun 15, 2021

It depends.

Florida currently has no caps for economic damages. If you can prove that you have suffered monetary losses (e.g. medical bills or lost wages), you can recover the full value of those losses, however large the price tag. Generally, though, economic damages tend to be smaller.

Noneconomic damages (i.e. “pain and suffering” damages) are a different story. First, they account for the bulk of large recoveries. Second, Florida law caps noneconomic damages in medical malpractice lawsuits. The Florida laws governing noneconomic damages caps have a long and tortuous history dating back to 2003. The worst part about their storied past is that the current status of the noneconomic damages caps is still in flux.

  • 2003: Florida passed legislation setting caps on noneconomic damages at $500,000 (or $1m for wrongful death). These statutes were in effect and untouched until 2014.
  • 2014: The Florida Supreme Court ruled that these caps were unconstitutional, but only in wrongful death medical malpractice cases.
  • 2017: The Florida Supreme Court extended this 2014 ruling to all noneconomic damages in medical malpractice cases (N. Broward Hosp. Dist. v. Kalitan, 219 So. 3d 49 (Fla. 2017)).
  • 2020: Despite the court ruling these caps unconstitutional, the relevant Florida laws remain unchanged. If you seek out the official Florida statutes, you will find that the pre-2014 damage caps on noneconomic damages are still listed (Fla. Stat. §766.118(2)-(6)).

In short, despite the various rulings and hubbub, it is likely that noneconomic damages in your medical malpractice lawsuit will be capped at $500,000 for medical practitioners.

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