State advises lawsuit limit

Florida Today
Wednesday, February 5, 2003

Despite Tuesday's recommendation to the governor to limit pain-and-suffering damages of medical-malpractice lawsuits, physicians should not expect to see immediate relief in rising insurance premiums.

The Governor's Task Force on Medical Malpractice ended more than three months studying the issue Tuesday, when it called for a $250,000 cap to be put on the non-economic portions of lawsuits.

The issue, inching toward the national spotlight for the past several months, pits the lawyers and consumer groups against the insurance companies, physicians and hospitals in a battle that ultimately will affect how much money juries can award victims of botched treatments, misdiagnosed illnesses or other medical negligence.

The issue is expected to make its way through the Florida Legislature later this year. 

Physicians throughout Florida -- and the nation -- have staged protests and lobbied hard for the cap, citing rising insurance premiums as the main cause.

Insurance premiums have spiked twice before the current rise, once in the mid-1970s and once in the mid-1980s. Both times occurred during stock-market downturns and recessions.

Joanne Doroshow, executive director for the Center for Justice and Democracy, located in New York City, said blaming jury awards for rising malpractice- insurance premiums is "ludicrous."

She said insurance companies get in trouble by lowering their premiums too much during strong markets and then get burned when the market shifts -- something insurance executive White agreed with.
For a copy of the complete article, contact CJ&D

Join Our Fight!

The Center for Justice & Democracy is the only national consumer organization in the country exclusively dedicated to protecting our civil justice system. If you'd like more information, please contact us.

Connect with us