If you have suffered a severe injury from a surgical error or similar medical mistake in Florida, you may be entitled to compensation. But the amount of compensation may be limited by tort reform on medical malpractice cases.
What is tort reform on medical malpractice?
Tort reform on medical malpractice claims are bills that aim to limit litigation claims, decrease plaintiff awards, shorten statutes of limitations, and ultimately protect medical providers from being sued for dangerous and harmful errors.
What is a tort?
To further break down the question of what is tort reform on medical malpractice, you must define medical malpractice and torts.
Florida defines medical malpractice as an injury or death resulting from a medical provider’s negligence.
Torts are generally defined as civil wrongs that caused an injury for which plaintiffs can seek damages from the accused party or parties.
In Florida, victims of medical malpractice can sue negligent medical providers and can be awarded up to three different kinds of compensation: compensatory, punitive, and non-economic.
But tort reform may limit how much you actually can get.
Proposed Tort Reform in Florida
In 2019, proposed legislation attempted to limit non-economic damages to $1 million and protect medical provider insurance agreements from disclosure. Another bill proposed that year would have required some plaintiffs to prove that they paid non-discounted prices for the medical services in question.
Both bills effectively died after being indefinitely postponed. However, Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis appears to support such tort reform, which could mean that additional tort reform on medical malpractice is in the works.
Fortunately for plaintiffs, Florida tort reforms that capped non-economic damages such as emotional pain and suffering have historically been overturned relatively fast. A 1986 cap was overturned in 1987, and a 2003 cap was overturned in 2014 and 2017.
Who is fighting for tort reform?
Proponents of tort reform such as insurance companies and large corporations claim that “excessive litigation” increases insurance premiums and doesn’t actually prevent or lessen the frequency of medical malpractice.
A National Conference of State Legislatures brief says that issues with unequal awards are another issue with medical malpractice law. It’s unclear whether plaintiffs are bothered by this discrepancy or how proposed tort reform aims to correct this by complicating case law and protecting insurance and medical providers.
How can tort reform on medical malpractice affect my case?
What is tort reform on medical malpractice cases may not be as important a question as to how such reform can affect you.
Much of Florida’s proposed tort reform on medical malpractice has sought to limit non-economic damages; These damages include compensation for hard-to-price pain including mental anguish, disfigurement, and loss of enjoyment of life.
In addition to limiting your possible compensation, personal injury lawyers argue that tort reform can delay lawsuits, forcing some claims to expire under relevant statutes of limitations. Such potential delays are extremely dangerous to claims as some proposed tort reform has attempted to shorten how long you have to file a lawsuit.
Some of the most common types of medical malpractice cases include wrongful death, birth injury, and surgical errors. These cases often must be filed within two years of malpractice discovery. That’s why you must work with an experienced Florida medical malpractice lawyer who knows the nuances of current and proposed medical malpractice law.
Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath have experience with a variety of medical malpractice cases involving misdiagnosis, surgical errors, unnecessary surgery, anesthesia mistakes, birth injuries, and general medical negligence.
What should I do if I’ve been affected by medical malpractice?
If you or someone you love has been hurt by medical malpractice, you understand the pain of feeling like a trusted system failed you. And it did. You deserve to be compensated for your pain and suffering, loss of income, and growing medical bills.
You must work with a seasoned Florida medical malpractice lawyer who will fight for the compensation you need. In a recent medical malpractice case involving a birth injury, Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath got their client a $35 million settlement.
Another case involving a delayed diagnosis resulted in a $1.25 million settlement.
If you’ve just been injured, seek medical treatment immediately and then consult with an experienced Florida medical malpractice lawyer. Delaying medical treatment could worsen your condition and decrease your potential compensation.
Contact Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath today for a free case evaluation.
No matter where you are, one of our offices can help.