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Fort Lauderdale Attorney Discusses Business Negligence and Signing Release Forms

As a consumer, the old adage “caveat emptor” (buyer beware) should always be considered when purchasing goods or services from stores. This is especially the case when it comes to signing release forms or contracts, considering the immensely complex legal wording that they contain. Although it is the individuals responsibility to perform due diligence, there are many situations in which business’ overstretch in their attempts to protect themselves from lawsuits using somewhat deceptive practices.

A relatable situation occurred recently in Florida when a family attempted to sue Claire’s, a young teen accessory store for a botched ear piercing that led to the permanent disfigurement of the child’s ear. This apparent negligence led the family to sue, only to realize that the mother unknowingly signed an indemnity agreement with the release, which basically means that they are liable for court costs and other fees if they decide to sue Claire’s. Unfortunately, the release that was signed gave Claire’s extraordinary legal protections and basically reduced the rights of the signers to nothing.

In spite of the indemnity clause, the first judge involved in the case awarded $69,740 for pain and suffering. Claire’s, as expected, filed a motion to require the mother to reimburse them for the trial. The judge, following the contract, ruled against the family and required the mother to pay more than 200,000 to Claire’s (which includes the original judgment amount.

After appealing this decision, the case went to the Fourth District Court where an appellate judge took other factors into account, such as the fact that the employees were not trained on how to sterilize equipment, and reversed the previous judge’s decision. Although justice was served, the family was somewhat fortunate to have a judge that sided with them, considering that they did in fact sign the contract, as unfair and deceptive as it was.

This case is just a recent example of businesses doing everything they can to protect themselves from their own negligence. This has lead to a corporate culture that is completely indifferent to those they provide their services. If a company has the ability to formulate convoluted contracts that not only disallow individuals from suing, but also punish them for doing so, they are effectively fighting against everything our justice system was put in place for.

It is the right of the individual to hold another party accountable for their negligent actions. If a person does not have the right to do so, then our society will become a restrictive, unjust and paranoid environment that will slow progress and lead to even lengthier trials where corporations and businesses will commonly prevail over the individual due to superior resources and legal counsel. Basically, the snowball effect that has developed will continue to grow more obtrusive, trapping our society in a perpetual legal battle.

There needs to be an increased emphasis on transparency and simplification of legal documents such as general release forms so that consumers understand their rights. Although it is the responsibility of the signer to comprehend the contract, deceptive legal practices have no place in America and we will be much better off when individuals are partially protected from such an adversarial process. Although contract rights are extremely vital to an efficient society, consumers must be informed and given the opportunity to understand what they are signing.

The most relatable advice that a general negligence attorney can give on the subject of signing contracts is to know what you are signing and never to place your signature on a document that affects your children’s rights to receive compensation for injuries and expenses, without first consulting a legal authority. Inadvertently giving up a child’s rights has happened much too often in our country and you can be sure that the negligent party will do everything in their power to uphold the legal contract, no matter how insensate, indifferent and amoral it may be.

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Florida Medical Malpractice Attorney Discusses Doctors Offices Requiring Patients to Waive Jury Trials

A new conflict has arisen in the unending back and forth between doctors and patients in medical malpractice cases. As one of the most litigious states in the country, Florida definitely has its fair share of problems when it comes to frivolous or unnecessary lawsuits., A new stipulation that many doctor’s offices are adding to their initial patient contracts has become a hot-button issue that may make the medical malpractice environment even more adversarial.

In 2003, Florida passed a law capping non-economic damages at $500,000 ($1 million for catastrophic injury). This amendment was brought forth by a former medical doctor in order to lower health care and insurance premiums for both patients and doctors. Although $1 million may seem like a lot of money, for a catastrophic injury that either causes death or permanent disability, this amount is unlikely to satisfy the monetary requirements of the affected family or individual.

Even with this exceptionally helpful cap on damages, doctors are still unhappy with the fact that they could be held liable in cases of malpractice. Because of their continued concern, they are now adding contract stipulations on the initial forms they give to patients that require them to waive their right to a trial by jury if a medical problem occurs. Instead of a jury trial, the patient will take part in an arbitration process that involves three experts deciding the outcome of the malpractice claim.

On the surface, this sounds like a good idea. Everyone gets to save money on courts costs and supposedly unbiased medical experts are brought in to decide on the case rather than a jury of peers, who are unlikely to have a strong medical background. The issues arise when you see who started this trend and what interests are trying to protect it. The binding arbitration idea was introduced by a defense attorney who represents doctors, and has been praised by medical practitioners, insurance companies and the Florida Medical Association’s general counsel.

When there is a unanimous agreement between doctors, insurance providers and lobbyists, then it is likely that a red flag needs to be raised. Although there is little that a medical malpractice attorney can do for a client who willingly signed a document waiving his or her right to a trial by jury, the broader problem is the fact that damages in these contracts are capped at $250,000, half that of the state cap. This has become a large enough issue that multiple cases have already been introduced that try and negate these contracts. The initial cases have had no success, but the Florida Supreme Court has decided to weigh in on the subject in October of this year. Many attorneys say the high court is unlikely to strike down the agreements, though it could invalidate the $250,000 cap on non-economic damages because it conflicts with state law.

Negating the obvious bias of a binding arbitration in any way would be a good thing, particularly if it has to do with the monetary aspect. When it comes to nullifying a contract, it is a different story. A signed document is very difficult to deny, so the best thing that an individual can do to protect themselves is engage in due diligence. Doing so will allow you to know for a fact that you are going to a doctor’s office which does not impose additional patients rights restrictions on top of a state system that is more beneficial to the interests of doctors and insurance companies in the first place.

A misinformed or ill-informed individual will always be in a losing position when it comes to issue like medical malpractice claims. Every person who visits a doctor should make certain that they understand their rights and what their options are if things go awry. The best way of doing so is becoming well versed with the implications of not having a jury trial, along with a basic understanding of Florida laws regarding medical malpractice claims. If this is not possible or you are caught off guard, and a situation of malpractice arises, it is vital that you contact a qualified medical malpractice attorney to represent you.

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Fort Lauderdale Personal Injury Attorney Discusses Recent Reports of Zithromax Drug Defects

It has been recently reported that a popular antibiotic, used commonly throughout the United States, is dangerous to public health. Zithromax, otherwise known as Z-Pak, is now a target for litigation from those who have had to deal with its hazardous side effects, particularly for its danger to the cardio vascular system.

Coronary artery disease (CAD) is the leading cause of death in the United States and in the rest of the world. Johns Hopkins University estimates that a full one third of all middle-aged women in the United States will develop some form of CAD. The primary symptom of angina, commonly known as chest pain, occurs when the artery is almost completely blocked.

On May 17, 2012, The New England Journal of Medicine published a study that found people using Zithromax faced an increased risk of sudden cardiac death, compared to patients not treated with an antibiotic, or even those taking different types of antibiotics.

Zithromax is an antibiotic used to treat a host of bacterial infections, including respiratory infections, skin infections, ear infections and sexually transmitted diseases. While other antibiotics must be taken for at least 10 days, Z-Pak has been known as a convenient option with only a 5-day course of treatment. The shorter treatment time has consequently made Zithromax one of the more popular antibiotics on the market.

The New England Journal of Medicine study analyzed the health profiles and data on millions of prescriptions for several antibiotics given to more than 500,000 Medicaid patients between the years 1992 to 2006. The risk of death reported in individuals taking Zithromax came out to be more than double that of patients on amoxicillin. As expected, the highest risks were seen in Z-Pak users with pre-existing heart issues.

The majority of the Zithromax lawsuits that will likely be filed will be in the form of wrongful death lawsuits. Wrongful death lawsuits tend to receive large judgment and settlement amounts when compared to many other types of lawsuits. Factors that will come into consideration in the judgment or settlement amount of a Zithromax lawsuit may include the age of the person that died, how many dependents the person was taking care of, the earning potential of the affected individual, and other similar factors.

Although there is no quantity of money received from a Zithromax lawsuit that can replace a lost loved one, by filing a Zithromax lawsuit the family can recover financial damages caused by this terrible circumstance, along with any other damages that involve pain and suffering.

Pharmaceutical companies must be held responsible for their actions. They are mass-producing supposedly effective medicinal treatments, when they are in fact a danger to our public health. Short-term profits and investor relations should not be more important than the long-term health of individuals who use their products. Now is the time to fight for  compensation to make up for your losses and push back against an industry that has been allowed to cut corners for too long. If you or a family member has been affected by Zithromax, working with a qualified Florida pharmaceutical litigation attorney will allow you to approach this legal situation in the most effective manner possible, giving you the opportunity to effectively fight for what you deserve.

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Weston Medical Malpractice Attorney Discusses Birth Injury Negligence

The day you deliver your child into the world should be a time of celebration and happiness. Unfortunately, this is not always the case, with many examples of children or their mothers being hurt or made unhealthy by the negligence of medical staff. Although a hospital stay is basically a way to insure your child’s health, sometimes it is the actions of the hospital or physician that lead to major health problems and even death.

Just recently, in Pennsylvania, a mother was awarded a $78 million dollar settlement after the jury found that her child contracted cerebral palsy because of faulty diagnostic procedures by the staff responsible for the birth. After arriving at the hospital with complications that caused her unborn to be deprived of oxygen, an issue that experts confirmed could be remedied by a prompt delivery, she was told by the physician that the baby had already died after performing an ultrasound. After a period of time, the ultrasound was repeated by other hospital staff and a heartbeat was detected, leading to an emergency cesarean section.

There was in total, an 81-minute delay in performing the c-section, causing the condition of the fetus to deteriorate, which resulted in cerebral palsy. The medical malpractice attorney representing the plaintiff successfully cited a lack of a trained professional and antiquated equipment as the primary reasons for the lawsuit.

Although the eventual ruling was a victory for those who have dealt with medical malpractice in the past and understand the unsustainable costs involved, it is a rare example of doctors and hospitals being held fully responsible for their negligent actions. This failure to provide adequate care is just one of the cases in which a hospital has been known to make mistakes in child birth malpractice. Some of the other more common childbirth injuries resulting from malpractice include:

  • Caput Succedaneum – this is one of the types of birth injuries that adversely affect the newborn’s head.  Traumatic vacuum extraction medical procedures are most likely to cause this type of head injury at birth.
  • Facial Paralysis – this affects a newborn’s face and occurs when excessive pressure is forced on the baby’s face during delivery and may require surgery to correct.
  • Brachial Plexus Palsy – this is an injury that may require surgery to correct.  This injury occurs during shoulder dystocia and can in paralysis of the child’s upper arms. It can result in a permanent injury and lifetime disability.
  • Birth Fractures – these are a common result of clumsy physician assistance during the birth and labor process.  The most common fractures that can occur are of the child’s clavicle or collarbone and usually happen when there should have been an emergency C-section because the mother is too small to deliver a large fetal head and body.   Immediate treatment is required for these types of birth fracture injuries.
  • Forceps Lacerations and Bruising – these tend to be the result of unskilled and unnecessarily forceful use of medical instruments, and can result in severe head injury to the newborn during the delivery and labor process.

In the Cerebral Palsy case, the single mother was awarded damages that include payments for future medical care of the child, lost earnings, pain and suffering for the baby, and emotional distress for the family.

Although the amount will be met with arguments by tort reform proponents, this was not a frivolous lawsuit brought on by litigious individuals looking to make some money. This case destroyed the family dynamic and future of a child who could have been saved from this major medical condition. Being able to hold negligent individuals and institutions liable for their actions, allows the victims to be compensated for catastrophic errors.

While the outcome was a success in this case, the most worrisome thought at the moment is that there is federal legislation currently being voted on that would move to cap these damages at just $250,000. An inadequate and unfair cap has the potential to devastate those who are in most need of compensation to make up for the gross negligence of another.

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Fort Lauderdale Attorney Discusses Medical Malpractice Bill That Caps Damages

In what can be considered one of the most divisive pieces of legislation proposed in the past few years, H.R. 5, the medical malpractice liability bill has reemerged yet again after a short hiatus. This time it has gained some ground by passing narrowly in the U.S. House of Representatives and is now on its way to a Senate vote. Although it still has get through the upper house, which is much less likely, this is still a dangerous bill that will have major negative implications for many different parties, not the least of which is women.

This proposal aims to limit the liability of the health industry while restricting the legal rights of individuals and families who were injured or killed due to negligence or medical malpractice by doctors, insurers, medical manufacturers and others. Its aim is to fix the costly and ineffective liability system, while attempting to reduce “defensive medicine” and lower the cost of health care liability insurance.

In its current form, the bill would impose caps on noneconomic damages, as well as punitive damages, while also permitting defendants to be held liable for no more than their share of responsibility for a plaintiffs injuries. It also requires that damage awards be reduced by amounts plaintiffs receive from collateral sources such as health insurance, limit lawyers’ contingent fees, create a federal statute of limitations, and require that awards of future damages in some cases be paid periodically, rather than in a lump sum.

The most controversial part of this bill, the cap on noneconomic damages, was included with the intention of keeping insurance premiums down. Noneconomic damages compensate for intangible but real “quality of life” injuries, like permanent disability, disfigurement, loss of sight and loss of a woman’s reproductive system, among others. Keeping premiums down can be considered a noble goal, but the path to lower premiums will include severely inhibiting the ability those who are the worst afflicted by their injuries from receiving adequate compensation.

The exact amount they are considering is a $250,000 cap on these noneconomic damages. The basic issue this bill is missing is the fact that the more pain and suffering an individual endures, the less likely the damages received will make up for the costs. This is especially concerning for women and children and the poor, due to the higher probability that they are less likely to have economic damages in the first place, effectively limiting their ability to be fully compensated. If the cap seems like quite a low number, that is because it is. The $250k maximum was generally accepted in 1975, when this cap level was introduced in California, but now the median malpractice cases reported have costs at or above $300,000, making the $250k ineffectual in almost all cases. Cost of medical care and inflation has made this cap level inadequate for almost all serious injury cases.

The second major issue with this bill is its additional cap on punitive damages. This section of the bill attempts to severely limit punitive damages on manufacturers and distributors of medical products. Although punitive damages have developed a bad reputation, with the famous hot coffee lawsuit being a popular example of its abuse, punitive damages as an “idea” has a very strong effect on companies. This is due in part because it serves as an effective additional penalty for those accused of malicious intent or gross negligence. Having a collateral penalty for cases of serious misconduct is common in many other areas of law and medical malpractice is one area in particular that needs this due to the high number of cases that involve large companies.

If an individual, hospital or business does not have to worry about answering for their disregard of the safety and health of the people that are under their care or use their products, then it is much more likely that they will continue to make those mistakes in the future. Punitive damages are available to hold the offending party accountable, while also to deter companies from engaging in negligent behavior. It has been proven to be an effective tool for the control of socially undesirable conduct and should be kept as a major component of medical malpractice lawsuits, because it helps fill the gaps that criminal law may have left open.

This bill is overly broad and takes the exceptional cases that all of us have heard in the news and considers them as a common occurrence. This cannot be farther from the truth, with the bill severely limiting the ability for a medical malpractice attorney and their client to sue for their fair share. There are very few cases where the plaintiff is awarded disproportionate amounts of damages, along with a extremely limited number of cases that also include punitive damages. In one over-reaching stroke, this bill will negatively affect millions of individuals who are simply trying to hold the responsible parties accountable for their actions. We need to look at this issue from a fair and balanced perspective that includes a very close look at how much this will affect those who can least afford it.

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Florida DUI Accident Countersuit Made by Convicted Drunk Driving Offender

In 2007, a Tampa driver crashed into another vehicle, killing 3 of the 4 other passengers. The driver was later convicted of DUI. As with many DUI cases involving serious bodily injury or manslaughter, the victims of the accident or their surviving family members can pursue civil action, in addition to criminal charges.

The victims’ relatives are pursuing a lawsuit against the convicted drunk driver in order to recover damages for wrongful death. However, in a strange twist, the drunk driver (currently serving time in a Florida prison) has filed suit against the estate of the other driver, now deceased, for “pain and suffering” and “loss of capacity to enjoy life.” The effect of such a strategy on the part of the drunk driver aside, it is generally permissible to be filed in Florida civil courts.

The plaintiffs (families of the drunk driving accident victims) must demonstrate several things in order to prove his or her claim successfully. The first is that there was a duty to act as an ordinary person would, and not drive under the influence of alcohol. It must also be proven that the other driver breached this duty by driving while under the influence of alcohol. Though the criminal trial did result in a conviction for DUI, the fact that the driver was under the influence of alcohol must be proven in the civil trial.

However, the burden of proof in a civil trial is by a preponderance of the evidence, which means the plaintiff must show the driver was more likely driving under the influence of alcohol than not. This is a much lower burden of proof than in a criminal trial, which requires proof beyond a reasonable doubt. Additionally, the plaintiff must prove there was some form of damages, such as injury or death sustained as a result of the breach of duty, and the breach of duty was the actual cause of the damages.

A Florida DUI accident attorney may choose to enlist the aid of expert witnesses to assist in proving the injuries sustained or deaths were a result of the accident. Expert testimony can be provided from medical doctors and specialists, safety experts, and accident deconstructionists, among others. This is in addition to testimony provided by witnesses at the scene of the accident, which include bystanders and even emergency responders.

In the case of the drunk driver countersuing the estate of the deceased driver, the same rules of law apply in proving a claim successfully. The drunk driver (called the counter-plaintiff or cross-plaintiff) in the counter suit must prove:

  • that the now defendant, or original plaintiff, breached their duty of acting as an ordinary or reasonably prudent person;
  • such behavior caused the pain and suffering sustained by the counter-plaintiff; and
  • the actions taken by the now defendant at least partially contributed to their death.

If the convicted drunk driver manages to convince at least 10 members of the 12 person jury that these claims are more than likely true, than the counter-plaintiff may bear less liability for the original plaintiff’s damages. The original plaintiff may also then be held at least partially liable for damages claimed by the drunk driver.

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Carbon Monoxide Poisoning in Fort Lauderdale, FL: Protecting Your Loved Ones

Earlier this month, 20 adults and children fell ill at a Florida ice-skating rink due to carbon monoxide poisoning. Five of the attendees were taken to hospitals. Local officials suspected the source of the carbon monoxide to be a faulty gas dehumidifier. Unfortunately, this is not the only instance of carbon monoxide poisoning in Florida which put children at risk of illness and other serious outcomes.

Given the widespread use of carbon monoxide in combustion devices, such as those found in vehicles, stoves, gas engines, gas ranges, and heating systems, it’s critical to understand more about this potentially lethal gas and what to do after exposure.

Carbon monoxide is not easy to detect with our natural senses as it is a colorless, tasteless, and odorless gas. In high concentrations, it can be deadly to humans and animals. Unfortunately, the easiest way to tell if carbon monoxide is in the air without specially-designed devices is through identifying the symptoms. This may include:

  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Disorientation
  • Confusion
  • Nausea and Vomiting
  • Slowed Reflexes
  • Convulsions
  • Complications Breathing
  • Fainting Spells
  • Coma
  • Death

The consequences of prolonged or severe exposure to carbon monoxide can be disastrous, especially to infants, children, pregnant women, elderly, and people with lung disease or cardiac insufficiency.

Within enclosed and semi-enclosed spaces, the buildup of carbon monoxide can quickly create a dangerous environment. This is why many homes and commercial properties are equipped with several smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Theoretically, these detectors work to alert people of carbon monoxide in the air, but this can only occur if the detectors are properly maintained and placed effectively.

While there are many safeguards you can take within your home, such as placing and maintaining detectors, periodically inspecting fuel burning appliances, and keeping chimneys clear, the incident mentioned above shows carbon monoxide poisoning can occur elsewhere. This can take place on public and private property such as schools, apartment complexes, and retail stores. Liability for the poisoning may be owed to the landlord, property owner, gas company, or manufacturer of the defective product.

If you or a loved one has experienced carbon monoxide poisoning on a public or private property, the first step is to seek immediate medical attention. Make sure that you document as much as possible, including the medical report, any incident reports filed by the property owners, contact information for witnesses, and photographs of the scene of the incident or suspected faulty devices.

The next step is to contact a Fort Lauderdale personal injury attorney who is experienced in carbon monoxide poisoning cases. Your attorney’s experience, access to distinguished experts and ability to examine all aspects of the event for details that can be used to your benefit is invaluable. If you have experienced health complications, medical bills, loss of work, or psychological harm, you should not have to suffer for the negligence of others. Carbon monoxide poisoning is never something to be taken lightly.

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Fort Lauderdale Cruise Ship Death Raises Questions of Medical Negligence

A recent Fort Lauderdale cruise ship passenger claims that a series of fatal misdiagnosis and errors on the part of the cruise ship led to her husband’s death. This is a serious allegation, but not entirely unfounded. Cruise ship negligence, including medical misdiagnosis, treatment errors, premises liability, poor security and other unfortunate circumstances, are not uncommon, especially in cruise ships departing from the popular Fort Lauderdale, FL hub.

In fact, an International Cruise Victims Association exists for the sole purpose of lobbying for the rights of cruise ship negligence victims and their loved ones. They have had some success in helping reform (or create from nonexistence) regulation regarding the safety of cruise ship passengers in the United States. Cruise ships lines have adopted a policy for medical care. Previously, one in four cruise ship doctors did not even have specific training with heart attacks, according to one survey.

If the current cruise line medical policies are inadequate, what recourse do victims of cruise ship negligence and their loved ones have? Many seek the services of a Fort Lauderdale cruise ship negligence attorney who, as they are likely located near the departure hub, have ease of access to investigate the cruise ship in question. An attorney experienced in Florida medical malpractice law will further understand the nuance behind understanding liability between medical care providers and determine the merits of pursing legal action.

However, before a victim of cruise ship negligence even considers legal representation, there are many actions that they should first take. First, the cruise’s medical personnel and crew must be immediately alerted. If there are any witnesses of the injury or passenger’s treatment, their contact information should be taken as they can be potential witnesses. If possible, photographs of the scene of injury and injury itself should be taken. Additionally, copies of the ship’s medical records of the passenger and cruise ship incident report should be made. These actions can help strengthen a cruise ship passenger’s case and clarify the lines of liability.

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Fort Lauderdale Car Accident Attorney Explains Affect of Proposed Florida Personal Injury Protection Legislation

Governor Rick Scott has recently called on Florida lawmakers to develop legislation that can help prevent personal injury protection (PIP) fraud claims and reduce related lawsuits. Proponents of the PIP changes say that accident fraud is rampant in the sunshine state, with an overall $900 million increase on the insurance rates of Florida residents. According to the Florida governor, this amounts to a 29% increase in the portion of insurance per year, which is passed on to customers.

The benefits of this suggested reform of are hotly contested, and some argue that the changes would primarily benefit the profit margins of insurance companies who would not have to pay out so much in PIP claims. They argue further that a Florida Office of Insurance Regulation Data Report shows that the 29% increase is greatly exaggerated and is truly a 4% to 5% increase per year for the past 5 years.

How does this affect the millions of female Florida drivers who take to the roads each day? Several studies have shown that while men are involved in car accidents with more fatalities or serious injuries, women are involved in a greater incidence of car accidents. Please note that these studies are still contested in terms of what they show about the differences between the sexes on driving abilities. However, in the case of personal injury protection claims in Florida, women may find themselves facing difficulty filing claims if any such legislation is passed.

Does this mean that PIP legislation in Florida is a good thing? The assumption is that many people staging these supposedly wide-spread acts of insurance fraud or exaggerated medical claims are quickly dialing up a car accident attorney in Fort Lauderdale or wherever their injury occurred. While there may be some incidence of fraud, legislation may also limit the financial compensation of legitimate car accident victims. As other attorneys suggest, maybe the increasing rise in Florida PIP claims is simply due to the growing knowledge that injury victims have of their right to medical treatment.

This is clearly an issue that is still undergoing fierce debate. Arguments on both sides will largely impact the success or failure of any proposed legislation passing. Even if there is legislation passed, you should never be hesitant to seek the services of a personal injury attorney in Weston, FL or near your accident location. Your lawyer can best determine what recourse you have after being the victim of a car accident and help you fight for the medical treatment and compensation that you sorely need.

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Florida Supreme Court Upholds $10.3 Million Award in Medical Malpractice Case, Fort Lauderdale Medical Malpractice Attorney Explains

In 2003, the Florida State Legislature passed a law that placed caps on non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases. The law was intended to curb instances of perceived medical malpractice abuse and keep the state physician-friendly for those in high-risk specialties. High medical malpractice insurance rates for healthcare providers were also part of the justification provided.

Under this law, non-economic damages in situations of medical negligence were capped at $500,000 for physicians and $750,000 for hospitals (no more than $1.5 million for all claimants). This cap is $150,000 in emergency room cases for hospitals and physicians (no more than $300,000 for all claimants). For non-practitioners, the limit is $750,000 per claimant. The cap increased to $1 million (physicians) or $1.5 million (non-practitioners) in situations of severe catastrophic injury. In extreme situations, the court may impose a higher cap if “manifest injustice” would arise otherwise.

The effectiveness of the law is still hotly-contested and, in many ways, it simply serves to protect the responsible negligent party. The law has succeeded in making it difficult for victims of medical malpractice to fully recover their non-economic damages from the responsible party. This even includes situation where the court rules in the victim’s favor.

A recent Florida Supreme Court decision, however, may be one step forward in the fight to medical malpractice caps. Earlier this week, the Florida Supreme Court let a $10.3 million verdict stand in a case where a physician’s failure to administer an anti-clotting drug was a contributing factor to Harvey Raphael’s heart attack three days later.

The defendants argued that the verdict should be reduced to the $1 million cap prescribed by Florida law. They cite the case’s filing in 2003, after the law was passed, as a fact in their favor. The plaintiff’s medical malpractice attorney argued that Harvey Raphael’s injury occurred prior to the non-economic damages cap law.

The Fourth District Court of Appeal stated that “retrospective laws are generally unjust.” This sentiment was supported by the Florida Supreme Court. While this isn’t a ground-breaking weakening of the law, it is an important moment where the State Supreme Court accepted the ruling of the lower court on the matter of medical malpractice.

The Florida Supreme Court is also scheduled to hear a challenge of these caps in February 2012. However, you should still contact a Fort Lauderdale medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible after an injury due to a healthcare provider’s negligence. There are many important steps that your attorney must take to help build a strong case. This applies to all cases of medical malpractice and even wrongful death in Broward County. We will keep you updated on next year’s challenge of these unfair damage caps.

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  • About Lisa

    Lisa Levine is a personal injury and medical malpractice attorney in the Fort Lauderdale / Miami / West Palm Beach Metropolitan area in Southeast Florida who is committed to women's advocacy. She has a long record of representing women in difficult cases that relate to personal injury, medical malpractice, defective drugs, and similar cases.

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Lisa S. Levine, P.A.
1655 N Commerce Pkwy Ste 202
Weston, Florida 33326
Office: (954) 332-6100
Fax: (954) 349-2975

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