Doctors are not required to carry medical malpractice insurance in the state of Florida, leaving potential victims with no civil litigation recourse. If there is no money, there is no case! This is the simple answer to why there is no civil litigation recourse for injured parties with a medical malpractice claim in Florida. A person affected by a physician’s negligence may have a legitimate case. The problem is there is not enough financial reward to cover the cost of the litigation.
Most attorneys will not touch a medical malpractice case without the physician in question possessing the appropriate insurance. The cost of the litigation alone is way too high. Regardless of whether the physician posts a bond or guarantees payment, the law only requires them to be responsible for a maximum of $100,000. That is not sufficient to find an lawyer who will take the case. Attorneys cannot afford to work for free and litigation is very expensive.
This dilemma is further compounded. Crazy as it sounds, health insurance may work against the victims of medical malpractice. If you have health insurance, you may be at a disadvantage. If a doctor or hospital injures you, and you win a financial settlement or judgment, your health insurance provider is paid first. This makes sense. Why should your insurance provider pay for someone else’s negligence? Your medical costs are deducted from the top of your financial win. Then the costs of litigation and the attorney’s fees are paid. You receive whatever is left.
You are awarded $200,000.00 through your attorney’s tireless, valiant effort. Your hospital, doctor, medication and various other medical bills total $65,000.00. Next in line are the litigation expenses. On an award like this, which is not very large, the litigation expenses will typically be well over $30,000.00. Medical experts are very expensive. What is now left is $105,000.00 before the attorney is paid. Based on an average of 30%, the fee for your attorney is $31,500.00. Wow! Attorneys earn plenty of money too, right?
Heather L. Ryan, R.N., C.L.N.C- Heather Ryan is a Certified Legal Nurse Consultant with 15 years of experience in the health care industry. Her expertise in reviewing medical records and assisting lawyers with the determination as to whether legal action should be taken provides an invaluable asset to the newsroom. Medical-malpractice, products liability, personal injury and workers’ compensation are some of the recent areas of litigation Ms. Ryan has focused her efforts on. A member of the Florida Justice Association, Heather maintains a long list of certifications and credentials to support her areas of expertise and stays up-to-date with her clinical knowledge working as an emergency room/trauma nurse, at a Level 1, Adult/Pediatric trauma and teaching institution in South Florida.