Noneconomic damages – that is, damages for “harms” and “losses” that are not tied to a bill, invoice, or other statement of account – can be significant in Florida medical malpractice cases. These damages are designed to compensate a medical malpractice victim for his or her pain and suffering, the loss of enjoyment of life he or she experiences, the reduction in the likelihood of survival (or a decreased lifespan), and/or the inability to fulfill his or her traditional household roles (for instance, if the injured patient traditionally cooked for his or her family but is unable to continue doing so because of his or her injuries).
Noneconomic Damage Caps Are Now Unconstitutional in Florida
Thanks to a pair of decisions by the Florida Supreme Court in 2014 and 2015, the Florida statute that had placed a cap on non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases (both in cases where the patient was injured and in cases where the patient was killed) was determined to violate the equal protection clause of the state’s constitution. Prior to these decisions, state statute had limited the amount of noneconomic damages an injured patient could recover, regardless of the severity or permanency of his or her injuries.
Noneconomic Damages Must Still Be Proven
Just because the cap on noneconomic damages has been lifted does not mean that these damages are any easier to prove in a Florida medical malpractice case. After one convinces the judge or jury hearing the case that the patient did in fact suffer noneconomic harm (a finding that most judges or juries are, in theory, willing to accept in medical malpractice cases), the injured patient must then convince the judge or jury of the reasonableness of the monetary amount of noneconomic damages that should be awarded. Because this is a much more subjective inquiry than showing a bill or invoice (after all, how much is not being able to compete in a marathon or in bicycle races due to a medical malpractice-related injury really worth?) an injured patient may face a much more difficult time obtaining compensation for the noneconomic damages suffered.
Does The Nurse Attorney Provide Any Advantage in My Medical Malpractice Case?
Because of The Nurse Attorney’s knowledge and experience in both the legal and medical fields, retaining Marjorie Chalfant, RN, JD as your attorney means you will be represented by a dedicated and competent advocate who not only understands your medical-related injury but can also convey this information to a judge or jury in a way that is both easy to comprehend and powerfully persuasive. We can help you and the judge or jury hearing your case understand what a reasonable and appropriate amount of compensation for your noneconomic injuries should be.
If you or a loved one has been injured by a Florida medical malpractice incident, call us at either of The Nurse Attorney, P.A.’s offices at (941) 210-4220 or (941) 254-2401, or contact us using the online contact form.