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Posts Tagged "insurance companies"

Florida Supreme Court Declares Medical Malpractice Wrongful Death Caps Unconstitutional

Posted by on Mar 27, 2014 in Medical Malpractice

Florida Supreme Court Declares Medical Malpractice Wrongful Death Caps Unconstitutional

In 2005, the Florida Legislature capitulated to the demands (and political donations) of the medical malpractice insurance industry and passed a law capping non-economic damages for surviving family members of anyone killed in Florida as a result of medical malpractice. In 2006, Michelle McCall was a young mother who tragically died as the result of the malpractice of several Air Force physicians during childbirth in the Florida panhandle.  Ms. McCall left behind a son, and her two parents.  The trial court that heard that case found the evidence in the case warranted an award of $500,000.00 to Ms. McCall’s surviving son for his pain and suffering, and $750,000.00 to each of her parents for theirs. However, because of Florida’s cap on damages passed the year before, the trial court was obligated to reduce the award to an aggregate of $1 million to be divided between the child and parents.  Had Ms. McCall had additional children, each of their claims would require a further division of the $1 million aggregate cap. Ms. McCall’s case (McCall v. United States) finally made it to the Florida Supreme Court last year.  Just last week, the Florida Supreme Court decided that the caps on damages in medical malpractice wrongful death cases were unconstitutional.  The Court reasoned that the caps were violative of the Equal Protection Clause of the Florida Constitution. The Court determined that the caps imposed an unfair and illogical burden on large families because each family member of a large family would automatically receive less compensation than members of small families — everything else being equal — because of the caps, regardless of the evidence of loss. Additionally, the Florida Supreme Court found that there really was no “crisis” or any other real or rational relationship between caps on non-economic damages and the health of the Florida medical industry.  Therefore, there was really no good policy reason to have caps on non-economic damages in wrongful death medical malpractice cases.  This is a good decision for anyone who has lost a family member in a medical negligence case. If you have any questions regarding caps on damages, or a Florida medical malpractice case, call Winter Park medical malpractice attorneys Kim Cullen and Robert Hemphill at...

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Tragic Florida Wrongful Death Crash Highlights Difficulty In Computing Future Wage Loss

Posted by on Feb 17, 2014 in Motorcycle Accidents, Types of Accidents, Uncategorized, Wrongful Death Claims

Tragic Florida Wrongful Death Crash Highlights Difficulty In Computing Future Wage Loss

I was so saddened to read in the Orlando Sentinel about a devastating head-on crash that occurred on Interstate 275 in Tampa last weekend. Apparently the driver of a white Ford SUV was traveling at an extremely high rate of speed in the wrong direction on I-275 near the Busch Boulevard exit, which is in the vicinity of the University of South Florida.  Traveling in the correct direction on the highway was a 2010 Hyundai which contained four students from USF, including the driver, Freedom High School graduate and Orlando native, Jobin Kuriakose. The students were all members of the Sigma Beta Rho fraternity at USF, where Mr. Kuriakose was apparently referred to as “Brother Ambition.” My first thought after reading about this crash is, obviously, how tragic this is.  I am the parent of a high school senior who is about to go away to college, and the thought of losing him at such a young age, before his life has really begun, is horrifying. Professionally, as an Orlando accident attorney, a case like this one reminds me how difficult the issue of future wage loss often is in serious personal injury and wrongful death cases. For example, under the Florida Wrongful Death Act, Mr. Kuriakose’s surviving family members would be entitled to recover the lost net accumulations and/or loss of support and services that Mr. Kuriakose would have likely generated in the future. The difficulty arises in trying to determine this loss when someone Mr. Kuriakose’s age perishes in an accident. After all, he is a college student, and likely has little earnings history. Therefore, expert testimony is often required to analyze and attempt to predict what the decedent would have earned if not prematurely killed. Insurance companies often hire expert to say that this is merely speculative.  Oftentimes, this issue is left for a jury to decide, which is inherently unpredictable. Plainly, this issue is very difficult for families. If you should have any questions regarding a Florida Wrongful Death case, or the issue of future lost wages as they pertain to a personal injury or wrongful death case, please call Winter Park personal injury attorneys Kim Cullen and Robert Hemphill at 407-254-4901. Consultations are always...

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