Court Ruling Challenges Florida's Damages Cap

A South Florida’s court ruling about a medical malpractice case this year challenges Florida’s damage caps.

Susan Kalitan, a dental assistant, went in for an outpatient surgery for her carpal-tunnel syndrome. However, she sustained perforation damage to her esophagus during the procedure. The tubes inserted into her mouth and down her esophagus were meant to put the patient to sleep, but caused serious injuries instead.

According to Kalitan’s attorneys, the Florida woman complained of chest and neck pain after the surgery. However, she was sent home. The next day, she returned to the hospital because of an infection caused by a perforated esophagus. Kalitan underwent chest and neck surgery and was in a three week coma while healing.

Kalitan filed a medical malpractice lawsuit for the injuries she sustained. She named the following as the defendants:

  • North Boward Hospital District
  • An anesthesiologist
  • A certified nurse anesthetist
  • A company contracted to prove anesthesiologists and staff

The jury ruled in favor of Kalitan’s case and awarded her $4.7 million for her suffering. $4 million of that amount was due to non-economic damages. However, because of a rule passed in 2003 limiting the damages cap, a circuit judge reduced the sum to around $2.7 million. Under Florida law, non-economic damages in medical malpractices must be capped at various amounts.

The Fourth District Court of Appeals ruled that the state cap on medical malpractice cases was unconstitutional. This allowed a South Florida appeals court to reverse the previous reduction of Kalitan’s award, allowing her to collect the original sum.

At The Pittman Firm, P.A., we understand how traumatic a medical injury can be. You should be able to trust your surgeons and physicians. However, because of negligence or carelessness, you can sustain painful injuries. If you have suffered because of medical incompetence, contact our Florida medical malpractice attorneys today. We can help you seek the compensation you need.

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