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Fatal medical malpractice lawsuits no longer capped

The New Hampshire news is likely to have covered this story. According to recent reports, the cap Florida has placed on fatal medical malpractice lawsuits has been ruled completed unconstitutional by the high court. What does that mean for residents of New Hampshire? Many people in the health care community across the nation are pushing for caps on medical malpractice lawsuits.

A March 14 report states that caps placed on how much people can receive in compensation when a doctor's mistakes lead to their loved one's death is unconstitutional. The Florida Supreme Court disagreed that the caps should be in place, opening up the right for people to seek compensation in much higher amounts than in the recent months.

Lawsuit limits had been put into place in 2003 as part of a law pushed through by the governor at the time, Jeb Bush. This was allegedly done to help reduce malpractice insurance rates for doctors. When malpractice insurance rates are high, doctors are less likely to stay in the state, and people in the state have fewer options for seeking medical care.

Despite the law being in place for a number of years, the courts have now decided that capping damages is unconstitutional. That means that people who have suffered a loss in Florida may now seek compensation to the fullest extent of the law, allowing them to seek the money needed for medical bills, funeral costs and other monetary losses. They may also settle out of court, as usual.

Right now, 35 states have a cap on medical malpractice awards, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. However, these caps sometimes prevent people from getting the amount of money they need for ongoing medical care or even for the bills already accrued. Fortunately, this move by Florida may start up changes around the rest of the United States.

Source: Miami Herald, "Fla. Supreme Court rejects damage caps on medical malpractice" Mary Ellen Klas, Mar. 14, 2014

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