Medical Malpractice Cases

Florida Medical Malpractice Statute: 766.201 - Legislative findings and intent

766.201 Legislative findings and intent.
(1) The Legislature makes the following findings:
(a) Medical malpractice liability insurance premiums have increased dramatically in recent years, resulting in increased medical care costs for most patients and functional unavailability of malpractice insurance for some physicians.
(b) The primary cause of increased medical malpractice liability insurance premiums has been the substantial increase in loss payments to claimants caused by tremendous increases in the amounts of paid claims.
(c) The average cost of a medical negligence claim has escalated in the past decade to the point where it has become imperative to control such cost in the interests of the public need for quality medical services.
(d) The high cost of medical negligence claims in the state can be substantially alleviated by requiring early determination of the merit of claims, by providing for early arbitration of claims, thereby reducing delay and attorney - ™s fees, and by imposing reasonable limitations on damages, while preserving the right of either party to have its case heard by a jury.
(e) The recovery of 100 percent of economic losses constitutes overcompensation because such recovery fails to recognize that such awards are not subject to taxes on economic damages.
(2) It is the intent of the Legislature to provide a plan for prompt resolution of medical negligence claims. Such plan shall consist of two separate components, presuit investigation and arbitration. Presuit investigation shall be mandatory and shall apply to all medical negligence claims and defenses. Arbitration shall be voluntary and shall be available except as specified.
(a) Presuit investigation shall include:
1. Verifiable requirements that reasonable investigation precede both malpractice claims and defenses in order to eliminate frivolous claims and defenses.
2. Medical corroboration procedures.
(b) Arbitration shall provide:
1. Substantial incentives for both claimants and defendants to submit their cases to binding arbitration, thus reducing attorney - ™s fees, litigation costs, and delay.
2. A conditional limitation on noneconomic damages where the defendant concedes willingness to pay economic damages and reasonable attorney - ™s fees.
3. Limitations on the noneconomic damages components of large awards to provide increased predictability of outcome of the claims resolution process for insurer anticipated losses planning, and to facilitate early resolution of medical negligence claims.
History.s. 48, ch. 88-1; s. 57, ch. 2003-416.
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