Florida Example Illustrates Problem With Medical Malpractice Caps

Medical malpractice caps are a common talking point these days as candidates for public office tout their position on the issue. We have often reiterated the belief of our Chicago medical malpractice attorneys at Levin & Perconti that the caps do nothing more than arbitrarily take away rights of victimized medical patients.

As one victim of medical malpractice explains, “Why can’t you let a jury decide what the true value is-that’s the problem with caps. Until it happens to you, you’re OK with it. It’s easy when it happens to someone else.”

As explained in the Fort Myers News-Press, more reporting out of Florida confirms that many of the often-used reasons for supporting the caps are eventually found to be incorrect when actually applied.

A common refrain is that the fear of medical malpractice lawsuits prompts many doctors to practice defensive medicine that increases costs without noticeable patient benefit. However, the new evidence suggests that medical caps have nothing to do with defensive medicine.

For the past six years Florida has had a cap in place limiting the amount of money a victim of medical error can recover. The new figures explain that physicians in the state continue to order billions of dollars worth of extra tests, regardless of the caps.

Measuring defensive medicine is challenging, because there is no clear line between a test that is necessary and one that is not. But in terms calculated by the American Medical Association, Florida has actually seen an increase in its cost since imposition of the caps on awards in 2004.

Clearly, the issue is not as simple as is often made out by those clamoring to limit the rights of injured patients. Please Click Here to read more about this story and the challenges to lowering health care costs across the country.

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