Medical Negligence Compensation in Florida
Tampa Bay Medical Malpractice Lawyers Explain Lawsuits & Compensation
Who would ever want to be hurt so badly that it would be worth a bunch of money? Who would say, I will literally give up my right arm in exchange for one million dollars? In trial for medical malpractice, jurors cannot put themselves in the shoes of the victim. The medical malpractice lawyer representing someone harmed cannot ask the jury how much do you think this injury is worth if it was you?
No one gets rich through medical malpractice cases. “Winning” a medical malpractice case is not a joyous celebration, but rather, it ensures victims receive enough money to survive. The law creates a fiction, and in that fiction, I give you X number of dollars to make you whole. Of course, money does not make you whole after an injury from medical malpractice. Victims of medical negligence and catastrophic injuries need support, and we have decades of experience recovering successful results for them.
Our Tampa Bay medical malpractice attorneys have a unique blend of experience that they bring to malpractice cases. Attorney Richard M. Shapiro grew up in a family of medical professionals. He has been involved with the medical community in some capacity throughout his life. Attorney J. Brent Jones served as a defense lawyer for the health insurance industry before he represented victims. Thus, he understands how to plan a comprehensive strategy that anticipates the defense’s every move.
Types of Medical Negligence Compensation
Compensation, whether awarded by a verdict or negotiated through a settlement, generally comes in three forms as allowed by Florida medical malpractice law:
- Economic damages are objective and verifiable monetary losses resulting from the claim. These can include past and future medical expenses, loss of past and future wages, loss of employment or business opportunities and any other expense that is quantifiable and reimbursable. Lawyers for victims can often present hospital or insurance bills, paychecks and other transaction statements that show exactly the amount a victim paid or would have earned. Economic damages can be tremendous in medical malpractice cases since victims of serious injuries often accumulate significant medical bills and must leave work for an extended time, assuming they are capable of returning to their previous jobs at all.In addition, sometimes economic damages may represent more than simply the cost of health care; there is an element of money damages for “attendant care”. This might be a skilled person whose job it is to assist in the day-to-day tasks for such simple things as showering, bathing, shopping, etc. Attendant cases of catastrophic injuries almost always include an expert witness, referred to as a life care planner. Life care planners are specially trained people with backgrounds in rehabilitation, both vocational and physical. Their job is to put together an overall plan of care for the years remaining in the victim’s life.
- Non-economic damages are more difficult to calculate. Non-economic damages are the “loss that nobody can put a price tag on” such as the loss of enjoyment of life, disfigurement, emotional pain and suffering, anguish, etc. These damages do not come with receipts. But, they are just as valid as economic damages. Florida has a monetary cap depending on the severity of the injury, the number of defendants involved and whether or not hospitals or clinics are being sued. All of these caps remain tenuous in light of the recent Florida Supreme Court ruling that wrongful death damage caps for medical malpractice are unconstitutional. As such, the Florida Supreme Court recently opted to remove caps for non-economic damages in wrongful death medical malpractice cases.
- Punitive damages punish and deter reckless actions committed through malice. This is a rare type of compensation awarded, but it is possible if the malpractice is particularly egregious. Punitive damages are separate from economic and non-economic damages because they do not compensate any loss. Instead, they solely punish the wrongdoer.
Richard M. Shapiro is one of few attorneys that had a punitive damage award upheld by the Florida Supreme Court. Punitive damages are usually for either reckless or wanton behavior, or an intentional act of wrongdoing. Under Florida medical malpractice law, it applies for a defendant that acts with a “man-endangering” state of mind.
Talk to a Lawyer Who Understands Medical Malpractice Law