West Palm Beach Personal Injury Attorney Comments on Medical Malpractice Court Ruling
A personal injury attorney says a Florida court ruling against damage caps in medical malpractice lawsuits will help many Floridians harmed by negligence get the justice they deserve.
West Palm Beach personal injury lawyer David J. Glatthorn today commented on the 4th District Court of Appeal's decision that certain damages in medical malpractice lawsuits do not apply in personal injury cases.
"As someone who has represented victims of medical malpractice, I know that a doctor's mistake can have devastating consequences. A health care provider's negligence can have a significant financial impact on someone's life," said Glatthorn, an attorney with more than 30 years' experience. "A victim might face a lifetime of struggle and need financial compensation for emotional distress, pain and suffering and other damages. The money they receive serves a vital purpose."
Glatthorn said insurance companies favor caps to control their costs and keep money out of the pockets of malpractice victims.
"There are many myths about medical malpractice lawsuits," Glatthorn said. "One of them is that caps on damages will lower insurance rates. Insurance companies will not pass on the savings to doctors. Another myth that insurance companies want the public to believe is the notion that most medical malpractice lawsuits are frivolous. A Harvard School of Public Health study has shown this not to be true."
In 2003, Florida lawmakers established $500,000 caps on non-economic damages (such as emotional distress) for medical malpractice cases. In 2014, the state Supreme Court ruled these limits do not apply in medical negligence cases involving wrongful death.
Now, the 4th District Court of Appeal has ruled the same applies for personal injury cases involving medical malpractice.
A woman sued North Broward Hospital District and other entities after suffering complications from carpal tunnel syndrome surgery. The decision from the 4th District Court of Appeal reinstates her $4.7 million award for damages.
The ruling could be appealed to the state Supreme Court.