Medical Malpractice lawyers in Florida have long alleged that Caps on Non-Economic damages (Pain and Suffering) were unconstitutional. Last year, the Florida Supreme Court in Estate of McCall v. United States, 134 So. 3d 894 (Fla. 2014), determined that the caps on noneconomic damages awards in wrongful death cases were unconstitutional.
Today, the 4th DCA held that damage caps in all medical malpractice cases, not just those involving death. were likewise unconstitutional. The 4th DCA in relying on the analysis in McCall, found that the legislatures rational in passing the caps was unjustified. Specifically, the court in McCall concluded that “the Legislature’s determination that the ‘the increase in medical malpractice liability insurance rates forcing physicians to practice medicine without professional liability insurance, to leave Florida, to not perform high-risk procedures, or to retire early from the practice of medicine’ was unsupported.”
The holding today is a victory for the citizens of Florida. The 4th DCA like the Florida Supreme Court, both found that a medical malpractice crisis never existed in the state of Florida, and even if one had existed the insurance companies never passed on any savings on the doctors or hospitals. Is essence, and as is always the case, insurance companies benefited from the caps on damages, and never passed those savings on to their insureds.