Under Florida law, family members can receive compensation for certain losses when a loved one dies. If someone’s mother died in a car crash, for example, they can receive compensation for loss of services and support.
However, the medical lobby is very powerful in Florida, and they have managed to eliminate the ability of adult children to receive compensation for non-economic losses in medical malpractice cases (but not other cases). This saves doctors and insurers money and has been justified on the grounds that Florida is suffering from a medical malpractice “crisis.”
But is Florida really in a crisis? Have frivolous lawsuits led to mammoth medical malpractice insurance premiums? According to CBS Miami, an appeals court in Florida has recently asked those questions, and the Florida Supreme Court might soon weigh in again on this issue.
Adult Children Challenge Florida Law
The appeals court heard a case involving the adult children whose mother had died due to lung cancer. The children brought a wrongful death lawsuit and sued for non-economic damages, particularly pain and suffering. The trial court dismissed the action and the 2nd District Court of Appeal heard the case.
The intermediate appellate court upheld the dismissal—but with a twist. They encouraged the Florida Supreme Court to take a closer look at whether a medical malpractice crisis really exists to such an extent that stripping adult children of the ability to sue for pain and suffering continued to make sense. In cases from 2014 and 2017, for example, the Supreme Court struck down certain medical malpractice provisions as unconstitutional and suggested that the medical malpractice “crisis” was overblown.
How Will the Supreme Court Rule?
There is very little reason for those injured by medical malpractice to have fewer rights than those who lose someone in a car or truck accident. Perhaps the Florida Supreme Court will use this opportunity to make the law fairer to those injured by negligent medical providers.
However, as CBS noted, Governor DeSantis has recently replaced three state Supreme Court justices. The three who retired were critics of Florida’s medical malpractice laws and helped chip away at the limitations in 2014 and 2017. The new justices might be more friendly to the insurance industry, so the limitation on non-economic damages might be upheld.
Speak with a Miami Medical Malpractice Attorney
If you have lost a parent due to medical malpractice, please contact Dolan Dobrinsky Rosenblum today. We have obtained over $100 million for our clients, and we can help you, too. Call 305-371-2692 to schedule a free consultation.