Was Florida’s Frivolous Lawsuit Crisis Real? (No)
According to the Florida Supreme Court, state legislators created a false medical malpractice crisis to increase the profits of insurance companies.
Recently, the court ruled that statutory caps on non-economic damages (pain and suffering, inconvenience, impairment, anguish, etc.) in claims where a person died due to medical malpractice violated the state constitution’s equal protection clause, noting that the cap served no purpose other than to single out and stymie damage recovery of the surviving family members of those killed.
The court also said that there was no evidence of an increase in frivolous lawsuits or excessive jury verdicts in Florida and that the damage caps did “virtually nothing” to stabilize medical malpractice insurance rates.
Why Is ‘Tort Reform’ a Response to a Fake Crisis?
The Florida Court said the state legislature manufactured a medical malpractice crisis in 2003 that was “not fully supported by available data.” The effort was part of the nationwide “tort reform” movement, which arbitrarily reduced damage awards regardless of the facts.
Supporters of tort reform claim that runaway juries award excessive damages and cause doctors to leave the state for fear of lawsuit. In reality, the number of physicians in Florida has increased.
The court noted that the medical malpractice “crisis” was nothing more than insurance providers responding to a severe drop in their investment income by sharply increasing premiums and keeping the profits for themselves.
How High Were Profits for Medical Malpractice Insurance Providers?
Between 2003 and 2010, four insurance companies that offered medical malpractice insurance in Florida reported a cumulative increase in their net income by more than 4300 percent.
Did you know? The Florida medical malpractice business generated an estimated return on surplus of 14 percent in 2012, its ninth consecutive year of profitability.
Shapiro Law Group – Medical Malpractice Attorneys Serving the Tampa Bay Area