What is NICA?
NICA is an acronym that stands for Florida’s birth-related “Neurological Injury Compensation Association.” Section 766.303 of the Florida Statutes establishes NICA as a statutory organization that manages a state fund created to pay the expenses of babies who were born with certain types of neurological injuries. The program is available to families throughout Florida, and parents or guardians do not have to file a lawsuit or go to court to obtain compensation for their child’s injuries. NICA claims to ensure that neurologically-injured babies receive the medical care they need and to reduce the financial burden on health care providers and families. However, it is questionable whether NICA has met its objectives.
What is Wrong with NICA?
While the information that NICA provides on its website makes the program appear to be a very good thing, you should consider some of the important limitations on this program that are presented below.
- NICA will not pay for what might otherwise be covered by insurance or any similar private or governmental programs. Many severely injured Florida children are either covered by insurance or programs such as Children’s Medical Services or Medicaid, so there may be many conditions or treatments that NICA does not cover.
- NICA will only pay for care that it determines to be “medically necessary.” This limitation means that families may have disputes with NICA about the care that the injured child needs.
- By receiving care from a doctor that participates in NICA, a family gives up its right to file a malpractice lawsuit against a medical professional whose negligence may have caused a child’s neurological injuries.
- By applying for compensation from NICA and giving up the right to file a medical malpractice lawsuit, a family may give up its claim to damages that can be in the millions of dollars for children who suffer catastrophic neurological injuries. The types of damages that a family may forgo by obtaining compensation from NICA include the following:
- Loss of enjoyment of life;
- Mental anguish; and
- Pain and suffering.
- Past and Future Medical care
Seeking Compensation from NICA for Birth Neurological Injuries?
The decision to file a claim with NICA or file a malpractice lawsuit to seek compensation for your child is a complex choice that involves many considerations. It is not possible for a single webpage about this topic to give you enough information to make that decision.
Contact a Miami Attorney Today
If your child suffered a birth-related neurological injury, please obtain appropriate medical treatment for your child immediately. Additionally, please contact us for a consultation. You can call us at 305-372-0123 (local) or 866-769-0123 (toll-free) or contact us online or to arrange your confidential consultation, free of charge. You can tell us about your experience and your child’s injuries, and you will also learn how a court deciding a lawsuit on behalf of your child may handle your case and the kinds of outcomes you can expect from filing a claim for compensation with NICA.
Mark Kaire has been practicing law in Miami for nearly 30 years. He is dedicated to helping the injured people of Miami receive compensation. Mr. Kaire has been blogging on Miami’s legal issues for many years.